Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (2024)

/ Updated Sep 17, 2021 / by Carolyn Gratzer Cope / 4 Comments / This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more.

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Our chocolate chip banana bread has been flying off the shelves worldwide for over a decade. I adapted that recipe into sourdough banana bread — a classic, tender, delicately flavored quick bread that doubles as an easy way to use up sourdough discard (unfed starter).

Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (1)

Why we love this recipe

The sourdough process has so much to recommend it. But one challenge — especially when you're in the process of creating a new sourdough starter — is using the unfed portion (also called discard) instead of wasting it.

This wonderful, classic-tasting banana bread recipe is a great way to use it. This bread is:

  • Tender
  • Delicately flavored
  • Mixed with a single fork in a single bowl
  • Ready in about an hour

What you'll need

Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make sourdough discard banana bread.

Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (2)
  • Use extremely ripe bananas. Fresh or frozen and defrosted are both fine.
  • You can use whatever 100% hydration sourdough starter you have. Mine is made with hearty rye flour, and the banana bread still turns out delicate and mild. The purpose of this recipe is to hep use up unfed starter (sourdough discard), but you can also use ripe, bubbly starter. The bread will rise a little more if you do that.
  • If you like, you an add half a cup of chopped walnuts and/or half a cup of chocolate chips.

How to make it

Here's what you'll do to make a great loaf of sourdough banana bread. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the all the details in the recipe card below.

Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (3)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the sourdough starter and mix it in. (You can use a fork to mix the whole recipe.)
  2. Stir in the melted butter, then crack the eggs into the bowl and mix until well-incorporated. Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.
  3. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt evenly over the mix and then tip in the flour. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour batter into a greased, medium-sized loaf pan (see recipe card below for dimensions). Bake in the center of a 350°F oven for about 55 minutes. A tester inserted into the bread won't come out totally clean because of the banana, but it shouldn't be covered with batter.
Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (4)

Expert tips and FAQs

Can you taste the sourdough in this banana bread?

Honestly? It just tastes like banana bread, with perhaps the slightest bit of additional tang — even though my starter is made from hearty whole grain rye flour. The acidity of the starter contributes to a tender crumb, but since we bake the bread right after mixing, the dough doesn't have a chance to ferment.

What if my starter isn't 100% hydration?

This recipe uses half a cup (112 grams) of 100% hydration starter, which is 56 grams of flour and 56 grams of water. If your starter has a different hydration level, you can do the math. Add enough starter to contribute 56 grams of flour, along with additional water to make up the difference.

How long does sourdough starter banana bread keep?

Once completely cool, this loaf will keep well for three or four days wrapped in foil at room temperature. You can toast slices of it on subsequent days. For longer-term storage, wrap in foil, place into a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze for up to about six months.

More sourdough resources

  • Rye sourdough starter
  • My favorite crackers for using unfed starter
  • Scallion pancakes (discard recipe)
  • The perfect loaf of sourdough rye bread
  • Life-changing sourdough bagels
Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (5)

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Yield: 12

Sourdough Banana Bread

Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (6)

Our super-popular banana bread with chocolate chips has been a favorite of many families for over a decade. For times when you have an abundance of unfed sourdough starter, I developed this adaptation to merge the best of all possible worlds.

Prep Time10 minutes

Cook Time55 minutes

Total Time1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 pound (454 grams) very ripe bananas (3 to 4 large, weighed with skins still on)
  • ½ cup (112 grams) unfed 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (100 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Grease a medium (8-cup/9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
  3. Mix in the sourdough starter.
  4. Mix in the melted butter.
  5. Crack the eggs into the bowl and mix well.
  6. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and mix with the fork to combine well.
  7. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter.
  8. Add the flour and mix with the fork until just combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out with only banana on it, not raw batter.
  10. Cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.


  1. You can use refreshed (fed) sourdough starter if you like. The bread will rise a little more.
  2. When possible, it's best to weigh your ingredients for baking. If you don't have a kitchen scale, use the spoon and level method to measure the flour.
  3. If you like, you can add ½ cup chopped walnuts and/or ½ cup chocolate chips to the batter after mixing in the flour.
  4. Once completely cool, store any leftovers at room temperature, wrapped in foil, for up to four days. You can toast slices in subsequent days if you like. For longer-term storage, wrap well in foil, place inside a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze for up to about six months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 127Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g

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More Sourdough

  • Sourdough Scallion Pancakes
  • Sourdough Rye Bread
Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (11)

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food. More about me.

Reader Interactions


  1. Heather W. says

    Hello. I'm new to SD. We use SD recipes for its properties with gluten degradation for a gluten sensitivity. It is my understanding that the degradation occurs during the fermentation process. I would like to try this banana bread. Is it possible to somehow long ferment this batter? I wouldn't think I could leave the batter out on the counter long because of the eggs. If I mixed the active starter with everything except the baking soda and eggs and left it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours or so would this be okay for this recipe? Would I also wait with the salt? Seems like a lot of recipes leave the salt off until the end, though I don't understand why. What about the bananas? Would it be safe to add the bananas at the beginning or could I add them in with the eggs? Thank you for any help you can offer me.


  2. Chari says

    Sounds yummy. If I make 3 smaller loaves can you tell me how long they should bake? 46 min.?


  3. Julie says

    Can I fix this and let the dough rest in the fridge overnight? To help the starter incorporate?


    • Carolyn Gratzer Cope says

      Hi, Julie! There's no need to let the starter incorporate more than it would with a normal mixing process, but you can make the batter in advance if you'd like, as long as you follow a few tips. First, baking soda needs to be added shortly before baking, so don't mix it in until the last minute. Second, the longer the batter rests in the fridge, the more pronounced any sourdough flavor will be. This is especially true if you're using active starter but still applies to a lesser degree with discard. If you follow these guidelines it's fine to let the batter chill overnight, but you'll notice a bit more tang in the final result.


Leave a Reply

Sourdough Banana Bread (Starter Discard Recipe) - Umami Girl (2024)


Can you do anything with sourdough starter discard? ›

You can always use this discard by directly mixing it into a dough for baking. Your discard, as long as it's in good shape, will leaven any bread dough just as well. The discard is just like a levain you would make for a recipe. The only difference is it's the same makeup as your starter.

Is sourdough starter discard healthy? ›

Technically, sourdough discard has the same benefits as sourdough starter, since they are both wild yeast ferments. In terms of beneficial lactic acid bacteria, natural yeasts acetic acid and colonies of microbes, they are both full of them.

What is the difference between sourdough starter and discard? ›

Active sourdough starter is starter that has been fed water + flour and allowed to sit until it is bubbly and about doubled in size. Sourdough discard is after the starter has peaked, and it has started to come down. It is the portion that you would typically throw away before feeding again.

When should you start discarding sourdough starter? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow. Eventually, you need to discard the used “food” (flour and water) that's been used to sustain your starter during the last fermentation period.

Can you use day 1 sourdough discard? ›

I recommend keeping sourdough discard for about one week, but I do know others who keep it for much longer. After one week, there is a higher risk of mold or bad bacteria growing on the discard.

How long can sourdough starter discard sit out? ›

I left my sourdough discard out at room temperature for a few days. Is it okay? As long as your kitchen isn't too warm (I'd say 78°F or higher) your starter/discard will be fine stored at room temperature for at least a few days without feeding. The flavor will get more acidic the longer it sits.

Can you use 2 day old sourdough discard? ›

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.

Can I use sourdough discard straight from fridge? ›

I prefer to use my discard within 7 days of keeping it in the fridge, otherwise, you risk too much sour flavor! To use sourdough discard that's been stored in the fridge, place it on the counter to warm up for 2-3 hours before using.

Can I refrigerate sourdough starter discard? ›

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.

Why bake with sourdough discard? ›

Instead of throwing away (or composting) your excess sourdough starter during the feeding process, bake with it! Unlock the power of sourdough discard to both enhance your bakes with a subtle tang and make the most of those leftovers.

Why do you discard half of sourdough starter? ›

One only needs to discard when making a starter from scratch because it needs daily feeds for a week or two before it's strong enough to make bread. If one doesn't discard then before long you'll have a swimming pool of starter.

Can you make sourdough starter without discarding? ›

Sourdough Starter Management: A Zero-Discard Method
  1. Ripe starter that is ready to use. ...
  2. Most of the starter goes into a dough and the remainder is fed. ...
  3. The starter is at least partially ripened and then refrigerated. ...
  4. Deciding whether and how to feed the starter again before the next bake. ...
  5. Ripe starter that is ready to use.
Mar 4, 2023

Can I use active starter instead of discard? ›

Absolutely you can! Active starter can be used in the same way as sourdough discard in sweet or savory baking. You can add active sourdough starter to any recipe you would add discard to following the same calculation.

Do you have to discard every 12 hours for sourdough starter? ›

Starter that's kept at room temperature is more active than refrigerated starter, and thus needs to be fed more often. Room-temperature starter should be fed every 12 hours (twice a day) using the standard maintenance feeding procedure: discard all but 113g, and feed that 113g starter with 113g each water and flour.

Can you eat sourdough starter discard? ›

Yes, there are actually several health benefits to using sourdough discard in your cooking and baking. Sourdough discard is rich in probiotics, which can help promote a healthy gut microbiome and improve digestion.

Can chickens eat sourdough discard? ›

You can feed unused sourdough starter (sourdough discard) to your chickens. It's a great way to introduce fermented foods into their diet and a better alternative than yoghurt (chickens aren't good with dairy).

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