Finding uses for sourdough starter discard, like these light and fluffy sourdough dinner rolls, adds to the fun of making sourdough bread
Looking out for sourdough starter discard ideas
In my never-ending quest to find ways to use my weekly sourdough starter discard, I’m slowly building up quite a repertoire of recipes…pretzels, bagels, spice cake, and more. So when I ran across a recipe that used sourdough starter, I immediately stopped to take a look….King Arthur Flour’s weekly Sunday roundup email had a recipe for Sourdough Dinner Rolls . Then, two days later, Sally’s Baking Addiction’s April Baking Challenge was announced as…wait for it…Soft Dinner Rolls. I’ve participated in those monthly baking challenges with my versions of chocolate cake pops, cheesecake, and dark chocolate truffles, so I thought it a sign from the baking gods that I should make sourdough dinner rolls (exactly how do you sacrifice a dinner roll, by the way?). And if I could merge the two recipes into a tasty third, then I’d have another sourdough starter discard recipe to add to my bag of tools…er…recipes.
Looking over the two recipes, they differed in a few small ways…King Arthur Flour’s version called for using (fed) sourdough starter (not discard), added in potato flour with the all purpose flour, and more butter than Sally’s version (about an ounce). Sally’s recipe called for an egg but no potato flour (and no sourdough starter, of course). How’d my “franken-recipe” turn out? We’ll get to that…
Sourdough Dinner Rolls
- stand mixer fitted with dough hook
- 2 9-inch round baking pans
- 1 cup milk (8 oz, 240ml), warmed to about 110°F (or 1 cup water + 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk)
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (5g)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (3 oz, 85g), at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter discard (unfed) (4 oz, 113g)
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (11 1/2 oz, 325g)
- 1/4 cup potato flour (1 5/8oz, 46g)
- Combine all ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. (If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula).
- Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for two minutes.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (An oven with the light on works wonderfully)
- When the dough is ready, knead it gently to deflate it. Divide the dough into 14-16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange in prepared baking pan.
- Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the rolls towards the bottom of the oven so the tops don’t burn.)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil
- Remove from the oven and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Cover leftover rolls tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Making my changes
I had to see if using unfed sourdough starter discard was going to make a difference as that’s what I usually have an abundance of (Spoiler Alert…it didn’t). Also, I added more all-purpose flour to my dough to compensate for the increased liquid from the egg, but not much (again, about an ounce). The result was a soft, silky dough, easy to shape into balls. After shaping, I baked half the rolls in a 9-inch round pan and putting the other round pan in the freezer so I could have fresh-baked rolls another night. (They’re always better freshly baked!)
The results are in!
These sourdough dinner rolls were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! A soft, butter-flavored roll with just a tang of sourdough notes at the end. As I said in my Spoiler Alert, using the unfed sourdough starter discard didn’t measurably impact the flavor (although to be fair, I haven’t made these rolls using King Arthur’s exact recipe with fed starter…would they have more sourdough flavor or just more rise? Inquiring minds want to know…). All I know is that these would better be called “Sourdough maybe-they’ll-make-it-to Dinner Rolls”…they were that good. Oh, others can experiment by adding cheese or herbs or other whatnot. For me, just leave them plain and leave them with me…they might even make it to dinnertime.
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
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