Beyond the Loaf: The Many Uses of Sourdough


The nutritious, tangy, and delightfully flavored loaves of bread are reason enough to keep a sourdough culture in your kitchen. But there’s much more sourdough starter can be used for besides bread.

Many of the quick breads, normally leavened with baking soda and baking powder, can use sourdough starter as part of the leavening, perhaps in combination with a bit of baking soda. The acidity of the sourdough culture will react with the baking soda to create the rise normally found in these baked goods. As a bonus, the sourdough will help to break down the anti-nutrients in the process!


It has been said that the pioneers survived on sourdough wheat, most likely in the form of pancakes. As they stopped along the trail on their way out west they would cook over an open fire, most likely with their sourdough starter and sack of flour at their side.

Try these sourdough pancakes for an overnight recipe where you can add your sourdough starter to flour and water. Or, if you’d like to skip the overnight step, try these delicious fluffy sourdough pancakes which you can make in a large cast-iron skillet.


Almost everyone loves the convenience and flavor of tortillas. You can stuff them with just about anything, but the store-bought varieties often include unwanted additives, or have been sitting on the shelf for days or even weeks. Try these homemade sourdough tortillas as a fresh, healthy, homemade alternative.


Buttery, crunchy, and salty: everything you are looking for in a cracker. The homemade version is even better when made with your sourdough culture.


Many people aren’t aware that sourdough can lend itself to the sweet as well as the savory. The tang of sourdough can actually play up the sweet flavors often found in cakes and other sweets. Try this sourdough chocolate cake, this pumpkin-maple sourdough cake, or this slightly more indulgent sourdough coffee cake.


Muffins make an excellent addition to breakfasts or can stand alone as a quick snack. Making them with sourdough can give you a tender muffin without the need for store-bought buttermilk.

Try these cinnamon-sourdough muffins, which utilize both the acidic sourdough culture and baking soda as leavening agents. Alternatively, use sourdough as the stand-alone leavening with these design-your-own sourdough muffins.

Pie Crust

Your favorite pie crust can be made with the addition of sourdough starter to make it easier to digest in this sourdough pie crust recipe. Or try this gluten-free sourdough pie crust recipe .

Sour Doughnuts

Use your sourdough culture to create a homemade, delicious, traditional doughnut. Make it with the addition of buckwheat flour to for just a little difference.

Other (Random) Uses For Your Starter

When you have too much starter to use in the above recipes or simply aren’t up to baking then you might consider using your “throw-away” portion of the starter for these things:

  • Feeding the chickens. Chickens love grain, and the sourdough starter, with its yeasts and other organisms, is great food for your feathered friends.
  • Souring other whole grains. Many people have used sourdough to help in the fermentation of other whole grains, from oatmeal to brown rice. Add a few tablespoons of sourdough to the grains, cover in water, mix, and allow to sit out at room temperature until the grains have reached the desired sourness, from 12 to 48 hours. Cook up and enjoy!
  • Growing your compost. If all else fails, don’t throw it in the trash! Add your extra starter to the compost heap instead.



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