I have recently begun a sourdough starter. General advice is to throw away half the starter every few days then feed what remains with additional flour and water.

Is there a reason why most instructions say to simply discard half of it? I just fryed up some "wholemeal starter pancakes" instead of chucking it in the bin. Is this advisable? I've got a fear there's a food hygiene issue here that is more pronounced because I'm not baking it at 200c for 20mins.

Bad idea or good use of what is otherwise waste?


I've been going for about a week now and the starter is really acidic and doesn't taste very nice in pancakes... I think i might have found the real answer to why it isn't suggested to do 'something' with the waste before the first bake - it doesn't taste very nice!

1 Answer 1


The instructions should read to throw away half the starter if you haven't used it to make bread (i.e. the starter needs to be refreshed in order to continue living). If it doesn't get new flour and water, it has nothing to keep it alive. So it tells you to get rid of half (by baking or, at worst, chucking it out). You could keep it, but you would end up with a hell of a lot of starter (exponentially!).

As for food safety, I don't think you have much to worry about... However I'm sure some of the other food scientists on this site will regurgitate a bunch of stats for you soon...

  • Well the by-product tasted nice. This is the answer I was expecting so I've excepted unless anyone can convince me otherwise that I'm going to get ill should I continue doing it.
    – Suipaste
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 21:50

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