Short on time but still want delicious crusty bread? This quick and easy Sourdough Discard Bread Recipe is perfect for you. Get the flavor of sourdough with the convenience of commercial yeast so you can have bread on the table in just over 2 hours!
This was my first run through with this recipe and it turned out amazing!
I was a little nervous working with a higher hydration dough but with the tips outlined (wetting fingertips before stretch and folds) and only handling the edges of the dough, it turned out just fine. I love that this loaf yields a similar structure to a true sourdough loaf with a fraction of the time and effort. Will definitely make again.
Why I love this recipe
- Quick and easy bake - great for beginners!
- Recipe uses one bowl
- Great way to use up sourdough discard
- Sourdough flavor without the time commitment
- Mixed by hand, no stand mixer required!
- Why I love this recipe
- Why I developed this recipe
- What’s the difference between sourdough bread and sourdough discard bread?
- Baking with sourdough discard
- Why use commercial yeast with sourdough discard?
- What you need
- What makes this a “no-knead” recipe?
- Step-by-step instructions
- Baker's Tips
- Recipe FAQs
- You may also like
- Easy Sourdough Discard Bread Recipe
Why I developed this recipe
The taste, texture, and nutritional value of a long-fermented loaf is as good as it gets. However, sometimes I just can’t commit two days to make a loaf of sourdough bread.
Life has been pretty busy lately, so I’ve been experimenting with creating sourdough discard bread recipes. If you’ve seen my recipes for sourdough discard focaccia, sourdough discard pretzels, and sourdough discard sandwich bread, you’ll know how much I love combining sourdough discard with commercial yeast.
I’m finally sharing my recipe for artisan sourdough bread made with a bit of sourdough discard, perfect for those times when you have a sudden craving for a classic crusty loaf or your family requests bread at the last minute.
What’s the difference between sourdough bread and sourdough discard bread?
Sourdough discard bread combines sourdough discard with either active-dry or instant yeast, resulting in a quicker proofing times. In contrast, sourdough bread relies solely on an active sourdough starter for leavening. As this starter contains only wild yeast, the fermentation or rising process is significantly longer, typically spanning about two days.
Baking with sourdough discard
This homemade bread is quick to make because it uses active dry yeast as the main leavener instead of an active starter. Sourdough discard lends a rich and complex flavor profile to the bread. Since it's employed solely for its flavor-enhancing qualities, there's no need to activate it; you can use it directly from the refrigerator.
If you’re using sourdough starter discard that has been in the fridge for weeks it will impart even more pronounced flavor, which differs from the results using a freshly fed starter. Both will work for this recipe but will offer different flavor profiles
Why use commercial yeast with sourdough discard?
Adding instant yeast and sourdough discard in a recipe combines convenience and flavor. Commercial yeast is more efficient at converting starches into sugars and generating carbon dioxide compared to the wild yeast in sourdough, significantly reducing dough rise times.
For instance, my crusty sourdough bread recipe requires up to 4 hours for bulk fermentation, whereas this sourdough discard bread only needs approximately 30 minutes for its initial rise.
While it may not achieve the depth of flavor, open crumb and spongy texture developed during a two-day fermentation, the addition of sourdough discard starter to your bread dough imparts a more nuanced and intensified flavor compared to using instant yeast alone.
What you need
Whole wheat flour: Adds a nutty flavor to bread, feel free to substitute bread flour, all-purpose, rye, or spelt. Don’t attempt to make this bread with 100% whole wheat flour or your bread may turn out dense and gummy.
Sourdough discard: If you don't sourdough discard saved up, feel free to use active sourdough starter.
Active-dry yeast: You can use instant yeast for this recipe, you can skip blooming the yeast if you substitute.
Cane sugar: I like to use organic cane sugar because it is produced using more sustainable methods. Substitute white sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
Salt: Use kosher salt or sea salt. Different types of salts have varying grain sizes so the amount of salt added to the recipe may differ if you use volume measurements.
See recipe card for the full ingredient amounts.
What makes this a “no-knead” recipe?
This recipe creates a higher-hydration bread dough. This makes a dough that’s stickier, and almost impossible to knead. To create strength in the dough, you’ll need to conduct a series of folds instead. These folds are completed in the bowl and are a much gentler way to develop gluten.
Want to know more about gluten development? Check out my post on How to Stretch and Fold Sourdough Bread.
STEP 1: Combine water, sugar and active-dry yeast, let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes
STEP 2: Mix in bread flour, whole wheat flour, sourdough discard and salt
Commercial yeast has a shelf life. Make sure your active-dry yeast or instant yeast is still fresh before attempting this recipe or your dough will not rise.
STEP 3: Perform 3 sets of stretch and folds in 15-minute increments during bulk rise. To perform 1 set, use your fingertips pick up one side of the dough and stretch it as far as you can without tearing. Then fold the dough over itself, turn the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat 3 more times (this is one set).
Stretch and Fold Sample Schedule*
9:00 a.m. - Fold 1
9:15 a.m. - Fold 2
9:30 a.m. - Fold 3
This dough can initially feel quite wet and sticky. If it feels too difficult to handle, work with wet hands and use your fingertips and only pick up the edges of the dough.
STEP 4: Allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume.
STEP 5: Shape the dough and let bread rise until puffy and well risen, about 30 minutes
Let your dough rise until it has noticeably increased in volume and looks very bubbly before baking it. Under proofed dough will turn out dense and gummy.
STEP 6: Score the dough.
STEP 7: Bake at 475 F covered for 25 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.
Don’t use hot water: Hot water will kill yeast, make sure the water you use is under 115 F.
Use cold water: Fermentation contributes to the development of bread's flavor profile, giving it a richer taste. Personally, I opt for cold water since it effectively slows down fermentation, your dough will take longer to rise, but your bread will be more flavorful.
Use a sharp blade to score your dough: A dull blade will drag and result in uneven and ragged cuts on the dough's surface. Check out my post on How to Score Sourdough Bread for more information.
Bake with steam: Steam keeps the surface of the dough soft during the initial stages of baking for full crust expansion. The easiest method to introduce steam is baking bread in a Dutch oven. If you don't have one, consider using a loaf pan; find details in my post on How to Bake Bread in a Loaf Pan.
Add aromatic herbs to your sourdough discard bread for a savory twist! Try my recipe for Sourdough Discard Rosemary Olive Oil Bread.
Sourdough discard is any portion of your starter that is removed during the feeding process or any part that is not used to leaven sourdough bread. You can use it in other bakes and dishes or store it in the refrigerator for future use.
This dough contains a lot of water about 73 percent. It’s completely normal for your dough to feel very sticky and difficult to handle right after it’s mixed. Allowing your dough to rest for 15 minutes after mixing will let the flour hydrate completely and the gluten to develop. The short rest periods between folds will make the dough less tacky and much easier to handle.
When folding, use wet hands and only use your fingertips to pick up your dough. This will prevent it from sticking to your hands.
There are a few reasons why your dough may not be rising:
Your yeast is expired and can no longer make dough rise. If your yeast has been in your pantry for quite some time, activate it by mixing it with water and sugar first before mixing it in your dough. The mixture will look bubbly and smell yeasty if it’s still viable.
Your kitchen is too cold, cool temperatures will drastically slow down fermentation or the rate at which your dough rises. If your kitchen is too cold your dough will eventually rise, it may just take longer than the times cued in this recipe.
You used hot water and you may have killed your yeast. Water hotter than 115 F will kill yeast, if you accidentally add hot water to your yeast, start over.
Absolutely! You can skip the step that calls for activating your yeast if you use instant yeast.
Instant yeast may make your dough rise faster, you may need to shorten your proofing time to make sure your dough does not become over proofed.
An 8-inch or 9-inch circle or oval banneton will work for this recipe.
If you don’t have a banneton, use an 8-inch mixing bowl lined with a tea towel dusted with rice flour or all-purpose flour.
You can also bake this bread in a loaf pan, but you'll need to add steam to your oven.
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Easy Sourdough Discard Bread Recipe
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- 7 grams active-dry yeast
- 226 grams water
- 14 grams cane sugar
- 113 grams sourdough discard
- 180 grams bread flour
- 90 grams all-purpose flour
- 60 grams whole wheat flour
- 7 grams salt
Click US Customary to view volume measurements
- Make the dough: Mix the water, active-dry yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Allow the mixture to bloom until it smells yeasty and looks bubbly.7 grams active-dry yeast, 226 grams water, 14 grams cane sugar
- Fold in the sourdough discard, bread flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt until no traces of dry flour remain. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.113 grams sourdough discard, 180 grams bread flour, 90 grams all-purpose flour, 60 grams whole wheat flour, 7 grams salt
- Stretch and fold: After the rest period, complete 3 sets of stretch and folds in 15-minute intervals.
- To complete a stretch and fold, with the dough inside your bowl, pick up the side of the dough closest to you using your fingertips. Stretch the dough out as much as you can without it tearing and fold it over itself. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 3 more times.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it in a warm place and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
- First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in volume. The dough should double in volume and appear bubbly, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 475 F with a Dutch oven inside.
- Shape: Coat a banneton with rice flour (see note*). Shape the dough into a boule or a batard.
- To shape your dough, turn the proofed dough on a clean work surface. Flatten the dough out into a rectangle. Fold the side closest to you towards the center and the top of the dough over the bottom flap. Fold the sides over each other
- Flip the dough and round it into a boule or roll it into a batard. Place the dough into a prepared banneton with the seam side up.
- Second rise: Cover the banneton with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until puffy and well risen, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Score: Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper with the seam-side down. Score the dough.
- Bake: Place the dough with the parchment paper inside the hot Dutch oven. Bake the dough covered for 25 minutes and uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Enjoy: Transfer the baked loaf to a cooling rack. Let the bread cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.
- Store: This bread will store well for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.
These recipes were developed and tested using grams for precise measurements. To increase your chances of success, I recommend investing in a kitchen scale. I've included rough volume estimates (in tablespoons and cups), but they might not be totally accurate.
Remember all ovens are unique, these recipes were tested in my oven which runs cooler than others. You might need to lower the temperature if your bake appears to be browning too quickly. Monitor your bake closely and make adjustments if needed.