How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (2024)

Have you ever wondered how long can I keep sourdough discard in the fridge?

It's a question every sourdough baker has pondered at some stage in their sourdough journey.

The simple answer is, you can keep sourdough discard in the fridge indefinitely, however the quality and flavor of the discard will change and even deteriorate over time.

This blog will take you through the ins and outs of storing and using sourdough discard safely, as well as the factors you need to consider when saving sourdough discard.

What Is Sourdough Discard?

Sourdough discard is unfed starter. It's the portion of the starter you remove before you feed your sourdough starter.

You should toss the sourdough discard from your starter for at least the first 7 days. In this early period, the discard will contain bad bacteria which can potentially be unsafe for you to consume.

After about 7 days, your starter should have started to rise and bubble. After this, you can start using and keeping the discard if you wish. In fact you can add sourdough discard to any recipe you like.

Just like your sourdough starter, the discard will become better as your starter matures.

You can read the most frequently asked questions about sourdough discard here.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (1)

How To Store Sourdough Discard?

The best way to store sourdough discard is in the fridge. Place it into a labelled glass jar with the lid screwed on tight. You can also freeze your sourdough discard to be used at a later date.

As long as your fridge is 3C or colder, the discard will basically be put to sleep, so it will still ferment - but very, very slowly.

You really don't want to store sourdough discard on the counter, unless you are planning to bake with it that day.

Your sourdough starter can also be stored in the fridge using these instructions.

How Long Can I Keep Sourdough Discard In The Fridge?

The time that your discard will survive in the fridge depends very much on the maturity of your sourdough starter.

If your sourdough starter is mature, then your discard will survive in the fridge pretty much indefinitely. You would treat it like an old starter - you could revive it if you wanted to.

If your starter is still young (less than 6 months old) then it won't last as long in the fridge as the yeast and bacteria colonies aren't well established just yet.

However, despite the age of your starter, it's much better to store discard in the fridge, rather than the counter where it is still actively fermenting.

It will become very sour and acidic after just a few days on the counter. As it is basically unfed sourdough starter, left unfed it will deteriorate and eventually be taken over by harmful bacteria a mold.

Stored in the fridge, sourdough discard will go to sleep and last a lot longer.

My advice is to use discard within one week. This is because after a week, it will start to taste very sour and become very acidic.

You probably don't want to use old sourdough discard in a sweet discard recipe as it will produce a sour tasting product.

Can I Add Discard From Different Days To The Same Jar?

Yes, you can add different batches of sourdough discard to the same jar.

Ideally, you should use the discard within a week or 2, however, if you are adding fresh discard each day, it will lengthen the amount of time you can store it for.

Can I Use Sourdough Discard Straight From The Fridge?

Yes you can use sourdough discard straight from the fridge, you don't need to let it come to room temperature if you don't want to.

If you are using it straight from the fridge it may be a little stiff or thick, so you'll need to ensure you mix it really well.

How Do You Know if Sourdough Discard Is Bad?

Sourdough discard will potentially smell acidic and even like acetone if it's a few days old. While it will smell different to a fed, active starter, it won't smell unpleasant.

The discard should be fine in the fridge, however if it is displaying signs of mold or any pink or orange tinges then it has gone bad and needs to be tossed.

Can I Use Old Sourdough Discard?

You can use old sourdough discard if it's been stored in the fridge, however, you really want to use it up within a week - 2 weeks max.

It's better to use "fresh" discard in a sweet sourdough discard recipe. Use older discards in more savory recipes.

Great recipes to use fresh sourdough discard:

  • Lemon Sourdough Muffins
  • Sourdough Discard Iced Buns
  • Sourdough Discard Crackers with Parmesan and Rosemary

The best recipes for older sourdough discard:

  • Easiest Sourdough Discard Bread Ever
  • Easy Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread
  • Sourdough Discard Hamburger Buns
  • Sourdough English Muffins

Fresher discard won't be as acidic and will taste much better.

Did you know that you can use active sourdough starter in discard recipes.

In fact, I often feed my starter extra flour and water, just so I can make crackers or fritters with fresh starter.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (2)

Why Do Some People Say They Don't Discard?

It's true. You'll see many people declare that they don't discard in their sourdough process.

However - they aren't giving you the whole picture. They actually do discard!

You cannot build a thriving starter without discarding. It just will not work. You can read full write up on why you must discard sourdough starter here.

Once the starter is mature, you use a portion of it in a bake - taking this portion out of the jar is discarding. It's making room in the jar for you to then feed the starter and get it ready for next time.

So when someone says, oh I don't discard - they actually do - they are just baking with it because it's active starter!

Can You Use Discard To Make A New Sourdough Starter?

Absolutely you can! Remembering that sourdough discard is essentially unfed sourdough starter.

If something happens to your sourdough starter (like it goes moldy or you break the jar it's in) you can absolutely use some discard from the fridge to start a new one.

You would just need to take 50g of discard and feed this with 50g of flour and 50g of water and keep doing this until it is bubbling and doubling.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (4)

Further Reading

If you found this article on storing sourdough discard helpful, you might enjoy these articles:

  • Are sourdough discard recipes even healthy?
  • How to store sourdough starter in the fridge.
  • Learn how to dehydrate sourdough starter for extra sourdough insurance.
  • Reviving an old sourdough starter
How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (2024)


How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? ›

You can store mature sourdough

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discard in the refrigerator indefinitely. As long as there is no mold, it is good to use. It may develop a grayish liquid on top called “hooch” which can be poured off before use or stirred in. If you stir it in, the flavor will become more sour.

Can sourdough discard go bad in the fridge? ›

Even when refrigerated, sourdough discard will eventually go bad. It is important to always check your sourdough discard for signs of spoilage in order to prevent adding an unpleasant flavor to foods — or worse, consuming harmful pathogens. Be sure to examine your discard with your senses of sight and smell.

How long can you keep sourdough starter discarded? ›

Stored in the freezer, sourdough discard will theoretically keep indefinitely. I've left it in the freezer for as long as six months, untouched (i.e., I don't add or remove discard). Before using it, let it thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, never in the microwave.

Can refrigerated sourdough starter go bad? ›

A mature sourdough starter will survive unfed in the fridge for months. It might develop a thick layer of hooch. It will look and smell terrible. But it can be revived.

How long does a discard last on the counter? ›

What happens if you let sourdough discard sit too long on the counter? As discard sits at room temperature, it will continue to ferment which increases its acidity levels. If it sits past 36hrs, it will most likely run out of flour to feed on. You will then run the risk of exposing your discard to harmful bacteria.

How do you revive refrigerated sourdough discard? ›

First, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Then, feed it with equal parts flour and water (by weight) and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. After that, it should be ready to use in your baking!

How do you know when sourdough has gone bad? ›

It's pretty easy to tell when sourdough bread has gone bad because it will be covered in visible signs of mold growth and will feel hard both inside and out. It may also smell bad too, but not always. Once it's past the fresh stage (first 24 hours) you will notice some deterioration in crust and crumb.

Can I use Day 4 sourdough discard? ›

Remember, you can't use the discard from your homemade sourdough starter for the first 7 days. You can use sourdough discard in all kinds of sourdough discard recipes, including these no wait sourdough recipes, overnight sourdough discard recipes and sourdough discard recipes that use up a lot of discard.

Does sourdough discard have to be active? ›

One note: Don't start using your discard until your starter is really up and running. In other words, if you've just started your starter and it's not yet established, then you shouldn't save that discard. Wait until you have a healthy, active sourdough starter, then keep any discard from routine feedings.

How do you store sourdough discard to use later? ›

If you want to avoid wasting that flavorful discard, it can be stored on the counter for 1-2 days, in the fridge for about a week, or even in the freezer for months! Room temperature discard needs to be used more quickly or the sour flavor may become overwhelming.

How to tell if your sourdough starter has gone bad? ›

Typical signs of food spoilage and mold include pink, orange, or green colors, white fuzzy spots, or sometimes areas that are darker with white areas on top. If you see any of these signs, I would recommend throwing your starter away and creating a new one.

Can you leave sourdough in fridge too long? ›

The longer you leave your dough in the refrigerator, the more sour and complex flavors it will develop. You can easily leave a loaf in the refrigerator for 3 days before baking. I've gone as long as 5 days, but you will see some deterioration of the loaf after Day 3.

Can sourdough starter get moldy in fridge? ›

Sourdough starter that is stored in the fridge for a long time can develop a very dark colored hooch that is often mistaken for mold. Similarly, if left on the counter, some starters can develop darker patches that may look like mold forming. It is actually the very beginnings of hooch.

How to know if discard is still good? ›

You can store mature sourdough discard in the refrigerator indefinitely. As long as there is no mold, it is good to use. It may develop a grayish liquid on top called “hooch” which can be poured off before use or stirred in. If you stir it in, the flavor will become more sour.

How long can you keep sourdough starter without feeding it? ›

Storing your sourdough starter in the fridge will require feeding around once a week. It can, however, be stored up to two months in the fridge without being fed.

Do you have to discard sourdough starter every time you feed it? ›

With each sourdough starter feeding, you'll be discarding some to avoid it from becoming overly acidic. Most will compost or trash this discard, but you can save it and use it in other recipes!

How long can raw sourdough stay in fridge? ›

The longer you leave your dough in the refrigerator, the more sour and complex flavors it will develop. You can easily leave a loaf in the refrigerator for 3 days before baking. I've gone as long as 5 days, but you will see some deterioration of the loaf after Day 3.

Does sourdough get more sour in the fridge? ›

This may or may not happen; none of the flavor-influencing factors in sourdough baking work in a vacuum, so while refrigeration will often increase sour flavor, there are times when it may not.

Can sourdough starter spoil? ›

Rancid or Putrid Smell – If your starter has a rancid, putrid, or even rotten odour, then it is likely to have spoiled or have been contaminated. This could be due to the growth of harmful bacteria or mould. In this case, it is best to discard the starter and start fresh.


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