Bread starter question

It looks like in order to make a bread starter, the directions are to keep adding flour/water and to keep discarding the majority of the starter a day or a couple of days later. I’m wondering if those discards can be used for anything? Rolls? Pancakes? I don’t like throwing things away that can be repurposed.

You do need to keep feeding a starter to keep the yeast alive and working. So they have you discard (usually 1/2) or you’d end up with a massive amount of starter after a few weeks - it can also get awefully sour and boozy tasting.

But yes you can use the portion you are discarding for anything that you’d use your starter for (bread, rolls, pancakes like you mentioned).

As your starter is getting established though, the flavor and leavening power may not be as strong, so just keep that in mind.

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I use Maggie Glezer’s firm starter, which also calls for a lot of discards. I put everything I discard in a big jar in the refrigerator. When it gets fairly full, I make a bread from it that I call “Detritus bread”.
500 g flour
330 g water
12 g salt
200 g discarded starter (or a little more).
I treat it like a no-knead bread: slow, overnight rise, fold, rest in a couche or towel, bake in a preheated casserole.

Yes, you can use it in just about any recipe that calls for flour and water - pancakes, waffles, bread, pizza dough, etc. Also, most instructions on getting a starter going call for WAY more raw ingredients than you actually need. I remember when I first started mine, the instructions I was using had me start with 100g water and flour, then discard half of it twice a day. You don’t need anywhere near that amount - 25g each water and flour is more than enough.

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I appreciate the replies. I’ve been on the fence about starting a starter, but now I think I’ll do it!

King Arthur had a blog post about it. And there are many recipes on the Internet that use discarded starter. Also, before your starter has matured, you can still use the starter for flavor and use commercial yeast for rising. In fact, some recipes always do this:

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