Sourdough Discard Roux


If you have a recipe that calls for a roux, sub out the flour for sourdough discard. The sourdough discard roux will have enhanced flavor and added nutrition.

A hand holding a jar of active sourdough starter over a cast iron pan of melted butter.

First, let’s talk about what a roux even is. It is equal parts fat and flour and it is used as a thickener. If you are a making soup or a sauce and you want to thicken it, adding a well combined blend of fat and flour will do just that.

I commonly use a combination of butter and organic, unbleached flour. However, what I am proposing today, is that you try substituting the flour for sourdough discard. You may be wondering if the water in the sourdough discard will throw off the roux ratio and impact it negatively. No, not enough for it to be a concern. The thickening effect is still more than adequate and it isn’t something I ever take into consideration.

Why should you start using sourdough discard when making a roux? Well, a few reasons. First, if you are someone who uses sourdough in the kitchen you are likely always brainstorming ways to use up the discard. This is another trick in your pocket for using up that pesky discard. Second, the flavor is amazing. Instead of just flour and fat, using the fermented sourdough discard adds another layer of flavor to whatever dish you need the roux for and it is delicious. Lastly, the nutrition. Sourdough has a plethora of health benefits and usually we get those through baking. This is a chance to include those benefits in our cooking as well.

*A note here that you DO NOT have to use active sourdough starter but you certainly can! It does not matter if the sourdough starter is active or not. It does not serve any leavening purpose.*

How to Make a Sourdough Discard Roux

Making a roux is a common and easy kitchen skill. To start, you need only two ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sourdough starter

Bring your pan or skillet to medium-low heat and melt your butter.

Once the butter is melted, add your sourdough starter and use a whisk to combine them very well! It will become very clumpy and may start to stick to the bottom of your pan.

A cast iron pan with a roux that has not been well blended yet. A whisk sits in the middle of the pan.

Cook your roux for 1-2 minutes while stirring it consistently and then remove it from the heat

That’s it. You have a sourdough discard roux. What you do with it depends on what you’re making.

I’ll give you some examples. Most commonly, I use it to make a béchamel sauce. When you add milk to a roux, you have a béchamel sauce. I just made a béchamel sauce a couple weeks ago when I made my macaroni and cheese recipe. That can also be added to lasagna. Add some milk AND cheese and you’ve got a cheese sauce for au gratin potatoes. Alternatively, you could use it to thicken your soups. If you are making a soup recipe and decide you want to create a “creamy” soup, simply take out a bit of the liquid base and add it into the skillet or pan that you made your roux in. Whisk it very well to help it have a smooth consistency. Add this thick liquid into your soup for a creamy, thicker soup. There are so many ways to use a roux and it’s a useful kitchen skill to have under your belt.

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