This coffee cake is a delicious way to quickly and efficiently use up sourdough starter discard! My kids describe this as a cross between a pancake and powdered sugar donut!
WHAT IS SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD?
The obsession of baking crusty and fluffy home made sourdough bread has one clear drawback: discarding a portion of the unfed starter. When I say "sourdough starter discard," I am talking about a step in the feeding process where I remove a portion of the hungry sourdough starter and replace it with flour and water to "feed" the bacteria cultures and create fermentation.
For my basic sourdough recipes, I have a feeding routine that is very simple and easy to follow. My starter, like any hungry little house pet, needs food, water and attention to survive.
To feed my starter, I discard about half and add back in 1 scant cup flour and ½ cup of filtered water. I have a rubber band around the container to mark the starting height of the mixture. As it begins to bubble and grow from the fermentation process, the starter will grow past the rubber band and creep up the jar. If my starter is VERY active, for example on a day when I am baking multiple loaves and feeding it often, it will sometimes ferment itself right out of the jar!
If you are into a deeper dive of the chemical reaction, check out the caption on this time lapse video of my ultra-active starter overflowing!
HOW TO USE A SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD
A sourdough starter requires daily feeding if kept at room temperature, but on days when I am not baking, it can rest in the refrigerator for up to a week between feedings.
Not to worry! This can be a very simple process and the feelings of wastefulness can be cured with a few simple recipes!
When I am not in the mood or don't have time to bake with my discard, there are several ways I can make it disappear. I can either feed it to our chickens or pig, put it in a jar and refrigerate it for later, compost it or simply throw it away. This is truly 'discarding.'
To be honest, my favorite way to make a discard disappear in the most delicious way possible is by baking with it! SOURDOUGH CRACKERS, SOURDOUGH CREPES, SOURDOUGH BANANA BREAD... there are so many tasty possibilities! I have even used a few tablespoons to thicken chicken and noodle soup or beef stew.
I also share my very favorite basic sourdough loaf recipe along with easy to follow tips in my post, HOW TO BAKE A PERFECT LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD.
INGREDIENTS FOR EASY SOURDOUGH COFFEE CAKE
200 GRAMS SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD || The fed/hungry status of the discard really won't make a difference in this recipe! I store the discard in a refrigerated mason jar. I'll use it in recipes for up to three weeks.
4 TABLESPOONS BUTTER, DIVIDED || I use a fork to mix half of the butter in the coffee cake batter and use the other half to grease the cast iron skillet. Result? A crispy and donut-like crust!
1 HEAPING TABLESPOON BAKING POWDER || Baking powder is the magic ingredient that turns a flat and sad sourdough starter into a fluffy and light cake-like batter. Air bubbles form as the baking powder mixes with the flour in the starter and the batter puffs up within seconds.
2 TABLESPOONS SUGAR || I like this coffee cake to be sweet. This amount of sugar does the trick! Feel free too scale up or down depending on preference.
1 TABLESPOON OATMEAL || I love dusting coffee cakes with a sprinkle of oatmeal and brown sugar. It adds a layer of streusel-like texture to the coffee cake.
1 HEAPING TABLESPOON BROWN SUGAR || I prefer using light brown. It has less of a strong molasses flavor.
1 TABLESPOON POWDERED SUGAR || Just for fun, a dusting of powdered sugar makes this coffee cake feel extra special.
1 HEAPING TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON, DIVIDED || Half of the cinnamon will be mixed into the batter. I add the remaining half to the faux-streusel topping. A little bit of warm cinnamon in each delicious bite!
¼ TEASPOON SEA SALT || Sweet always needs a little salt to balance it out. In my kitchen, I use sea salt or Himalayan salt. These varieties contain beneficial trace minerals and nutrients that plain table salt is lacking.
HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD COFFEE CAKE
- If the sourdough starter has been stored in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet. Setting the oven to medium heat and letting the skillet slowly creep up to temperature allows it to cook evenly and be nonstick.
- Add the starter, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of butter, sugar, half of the cinnamon and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk it together.
- Add two tablespoons of butter to the skillet and swirl it around the bottom and sides of the pan. It will begin to turn bubbly and brown, just like the browned butter I use in my SNICKERDOODLES. Browned butter has definitely become a lasting obsession in my kitchen!
- Pour the batter into the skillet and gently spread it out. Sprinkle the top with the oatmeal, brown sugar and remaining cinnamon. Watch as the coffee cake begins to lightly fry along the edges of the pan. After about two minutes, the edges will be slightly crisped and cooked. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about ten minutes.
- After the coffee cake has cooled a bit, my boys like to dust their slice with powdered sugar.
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. For more delicious recipes from scratch and homesteading tips, follow me on instagram @NinnescahHomestead
Sourdough Starter Discard Coffee Cake
- cast iron skillet
- Mixing bowl
- 200 grams sourdough starter discard hungry or fed
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder heaping
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- If the sourdough starter has been stored in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes to loosen up a bit. Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet. I do this by placing it on the stovetop over medium heat for about two minutes until it is very hot but NOT smoking. If it begins to smoke, I remove it from the heat until it cools slightly.
- While the skillet is preheating, add the sourdough starter, baking powder, two tablespoons of butter sugar, half of the cinnamon and the sea salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add two tablespoons of butter to th skillet and swirl it around the bottom and sides of thespian. It will melt and turn bubbly brown.
- Pour the batter into then skillet with the melted butter. Gently spread it out, but DO NOT MIX IT WITH THE BUTTER. Sprinkle the top with oatmeal, brown sugar and remaining cinnamon. Watch as the edges of the coffee cake begin to lightly fry and crisp up. After about two minutes, the edges will be almost fully cooked. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about ten minutes.
- To serve, dust with powdered sugar. This coffee cake is best if eaten immediately, but can be stored at room temperature for about a day.
Ready for more recipes from scratch? Check out a few of my recent favorites!