How to Use Sourdough Starter in Any Recipe

Inside: how to use sourdough starter in place of yeast in any recipe by adjusting the hydration levels and allowing for longer rise times. By tweaking the leavening agents and liquid ingredients, sourdough can also be incorporated into quick breads and muffins.

With a few simple tweaks, your sourdough starter can be the secret ingredient that elevates any baked treat. If you need more ways to use your sourdough starter, just adapt your favorite recipe.

Swap Sourdough for Yeast

The golden rule is to use 1 cup (8 ounces) of sourdough starter to replace 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast. You’ll need to adjust the liquid and flour content to maintain the right consistency. Reduce the flour by 1/2 cup and reduce the liquid by 1/2 cup.

finished loaf on cutting board before slicing.
  • Adjust Hydration Levels. If your starter is on the thicker side, add a bit more liquid to keep the dough’s consistency just right. And if it’s thinner, hold back on the liquid a smidge. It’s all about finding that perfect balance!
  • Plan for Longer Rise Times. Now, here’s where patience comes into play. Sourdough starters are like the tortoise in the baking race – slow and steady wins the game! They need more time to work their magic compared to commercial yeast. So, when you’re using sourdough, be prepared to extend your rise times. Give your dough the extra TLC it deserves, and it’ll reward you with the most incredibly flavorful results!

Sourdough in Quick Breads

These recipes are a great way to get rid of sourdough discard, but the starter doesn’t typically have much of a purpose in the recipe

overhead view of the loaf on a parchment paper, drizzled with lemon glaze, surrounded by blueberries and a striped towel

You have a few options here:

  • Reduce liquid by 1/2 cup and reduce flour by 1/2 cup, add 1 cup sourdough starter.
  • Replace thick liquid such sour cream or buttermilk with sourdough starter, eyeball the dough and adjust liquid or flour accordingly.
  • Start small and reduce liquid and flour by 1/4 cup each and add 1/2 cup sourdough starter

Tip: Start with Forgiving Recipes

If you’re new to the sourdough substitution game, begin your adventure with recipes that are a bit more forgiving. Pancakes, waffles, and pizza dough are great starting points. They’re like the training wheels of sourdough baking – they’ll help you get a feel for how your starter behaves in different recipes without the risk of a major flop. Once you’ve got those down, you can graduate to more challenging recipes like cakes and pastries!

Take Notes and Learn

As you embark on your sourdough experiments, keep a baking journal to track your successes, flops, and everything in between. Jot down the adjustments you made, the rise times, and the end results. This way, you’ll create your own personal sourdough recipe cookbook.

Will sourdough starter make my baked goods sour?

Not necessarily! The sourness of your baked goods depends on factors like the age and acidity of your starter, the fermentation time, and the recipe itself. If you want a milder flavor, use a younger starter or reduce the fermentation time. For a tangier taste, let your dough or batter ferment longer. It’s all about finding the perfect balance that suits your taste buds!

Experiment and Have Fun

It’s time to unleash your inner mad scientist and have a blast experimenting with your sourdough starter! Don’t be afraid to think outside the bread box and try using sourdough in all sorts of recipes.

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