Don’t Toss That Sourdough Discard! Make Biscuits.

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer turned bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker) Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, any excuse for slatheri…


The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer turned bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker) Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, any excuse for slathering on a lot of butter. Today, he’s discussing how to turn sourdough discard into tender drop biscuits.


Mixing flour, butter, and a leavener is the starting point for many great baked goods, savory or sweet. Flour provides the structure, and butter gives savoriness (and, of course, that sought-after flaky texture), while the leavener acts to lighten everything up. Adding buttermilk and some ripe sourdough starter brings a touch more tang and tenderness to the equation, giving my sourdough drop biscuits a little something extra.

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Homemade Sourdough Pasta (Small Batch)

You’ve made your share of bread and biscuits, pancakes and crackers… but here’s a brand new way to use up that discard: sourdough pasta dough. In fact, it’s so good you might find yourself feeding your starter a little bit extra, just so you have enough left over for a batch. Usually, the bulk of […]

The post Homemade Sourdough Pasta (Small Batch) first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

You’ve made your share of bread and biscuits, pancakes and crackers… but here’s a brand new way to use up that discard: sourdough pasta dough. In fact, it’s so good you might find yourself feeding your starter a little bit extra, just so you have enough left over for a batch.

Usually, the bulk of the flavor in any pasta dish comes from the sauce. But throw a little bit of your sourdough starter into your pasta dough, and what you’ll get is a uniquely flavorful homemade pasta with a hint of tang that will elevate any recipe.

Closeup, pile of gnochetti sardi homemade sourdough pasta

Seeing as sourdough starter is simply flour and water, it makes sense that any recipe calling for both flour and water could make use of sourdough starter instead.

This holds true for this sourdough pasta dough recipe, which replaces about a third of the flour/water content with sourdough starter. Mixed with a bit of pasta flour and a single egg, the result is a delightfully chewy pasta with a bit of underlying tang that brings worlds of flavor to your favorite pasta sauce.

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Sourdough Baps Are the Ultimate Burger Buns (Yeah, We Said It.)

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, an explainer on baps, a bun you’ll want to use to house sausage, eggs, and burgers alike.


Baps are soft, leavened rolls, typically eaten for breakfast in the United Kingdom—but I find they also serve as a pretty stellar hamburger or egg sandwich bun. The distinction between a bap and bun you’d typically use for a burger seems to primarily revolve around the fat used in the recipe, with some claiming a true bap must be made with lard.

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Pesto & Sourdough Meet in These Twisty Knots

A leavened, enriched dough is the perfect starting point to get creative in the kitchen. Of course, baking the dough straight away without any embellishment would be delicious enough—think brioche!—but it’s also a foundation that can be taken in myriad…

A leavened, enriched dough is the perfect starting point to get creative in the kitchen. Of course, baking the dough straight away without any embellishment would be delicious enough—think brioche!—but it’s also a foundation that can be taken in myriad directions. I’ve folded, braided, cut, twisted, balled, laminated, and now knotted the basic dough, each yielding a completely different result. And the final shape isn’t simply an aesthetic affectation. It also serves to modify the final eating experience. In some cases, like with these savory pesto knots, it is a way to trap a delicious filling between layers of the tender, buttery dough.

Why twist and knot the dough?

When baking, the structure and shape of the treat is almost as important as the ingredients and process. Take, for example, a baguette, with its long and slender shape, compared to something like a boule, which is round and hefty. The smaller diameter of the former results in bread that bakes faster, as the oven’s heat penetrates through the dough in less time, resulting in a thin, crispy crust—the hallmark of a good baguette. Conversely, a round boule takes longer to bake due to its increased diameter and thickness, meaning the crust ends up thicker and heartier.

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How to Use Sourdough Discard in Any Recipe

Sourdough starter needs to be fed constantly to keep the cultures active. But if you add more flour and water today, then more flour and water tomorrow—and on and on—you’ll end up with a starter big enough to occupy your kitchen. That’s where discard c…

Sourdough starter needs to be fed constantly to keep the cultures active. But if you add more flour and water today, then more flour and water tomorrow—and on and on—you’ll end up with a starter big enough to occupy your kitchen. That’s where discard comes in: the portion of starter you, well, discard before feeding.

But don’t interpret discard as throwaway. For starters (pun intended), it’s a matter of food waste. Small amounts of discard swiftly add up in the trash, compost bin, or drain, especially if you feed your starter daily. Why toss something that you can put to good use?

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All Olive Bread Is Good—But This One Is Great

Castelvetrano olives are named after an eponymous town in Sicily, where they’re grown both for pressing into olive oil and simply for snacking (you might find one in your next martini, too!). Unlike the typical green olive you’d find in a salad or entr…

Castelvetrano olives are named after an eponymous town in Sicily, where they’re grown both for pressing into olive oil and simply for snacking (you might find one in your next martini, too!). Unlike the typical green olive you’d find in a salad or entrée, Castelvetranos’ mild flavor comes from being harvested at a younger stage, and because they’re typically packed in a brine that has less salt than other jarred olives. The flavor of these bright green gems leans subtly sweet and buttery, with a mellow tang. When compared to the ubiquitous little green olive in a can, the Castelvetrano is larger and substantially meatier, meaning it truly is an olive you can sink your teeth into.

All of these attributes make for an olive that is simply perfect for baking bread. The reduced salt content means less interference with your intended flavor profile (much like a baker who prefers to use unsalted butter so the salt content is completely under their control) and the thick, meaty olive flesh makes for a dramatic presentation in the loaf’s cross sections—and a substantial bite with every slice of bread.

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This Year’s Hot Cross Buns Should Be Sourdough

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer turned bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker) Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather …

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer turned bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker) Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, he tells us how to turn classic hot cross buns into tender, slightly tangy, chocolatey hot cross buns.


At the right time of year and in the right location, you can smell hot cross buns—leavened sweet buns spiked with spices and dried fruit—before even making it inside a bakery. Usually topped with a sweet glaze and a white cross of flour and water, hot cross buns pop up around Easter and are most commonly associated with their place of origin, the United Kingdom. Admittedly, I have never seen them grace a pastry case out here in the southwestern U.S., but I recall seeing their bright white crosses in bakeries during my travels through Europe in years past.

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What Is Durum Wheat (& How the Heck Do You Bake With It)

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, how to turn high-protein durum flour into a golden loaf of bread.


If you’re a fresh pasta-maker, chances are high you’re familiar with durum wheat. Though the species is most commonly used to make pasta, it’s also an excellent choice to incorporate into bread. It’s a hard wheat—hence the name durum, which is Latin for “hard,”—and is so-called because of the strength of the durum berry itself, requiring significant force to mill. The grain has a high protein percentage, but the gluten quality in durum flour doesn’t have the same gas-trapping characteristics as traditional wheat. This means when using even finely-milled durum flour. The resulting bread will have a tighter, more cake-like crumb, or internal structure, somewhat akin to a loaf of whole wheat bread (as opposed to a super-light loaf with large inner holes, like a country loaf). Though there are visual and textural differences to a loaf of bread made durum wheat, there’s no compromise made: The color, aroma, and flavors from durum are all quite striking when used in bread, yielding a more rustic loaf but nonetheless delicious.

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A Journey in Enriched Sourdough: Buttery, Savory Cheese Rolls

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, a guide to making fluffy, perfectly enriched rolls.


Harmony—a word that sums up the primary concern when developing a recipe that involves multiple ingredients and components; cooks and bakers know this all too well. When creating a new baking formula, I often step back to assess what I’m making to ensure all the components work in greater unity. The texture and flavors must play their part in contributing to the overall eating experience, and a successful recipe hinges on the presence of all these components in just the right proportion.

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You Think 2020 Was the Year of Sourdough? Look Back to the Gold Rush

When the discovery of gold near Coloma, Calif., in 1848 ignited a massive influx of prospectors to the area from other regions of the United States, as well as Europe, Asia, and Australia, many arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs. …

When the discovery of gold near Coloma, Calif., in 1848 ignited a massive influx of prospectors to the area from other regions of the United States, as well as Europe, Asia, and Australia, many arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs. Among the few prized possessions brought along for the journey were jars of sourdough starter—the mixture of fermented flour and water used to make bread without commercial yeast—that held the promise of a full belly. To thousands of hopeful (and hungry) miners who risked it all in pursuit of striking it rich, those jars of cultivated wild yeast represented a semblance of stability and a taste of home, even amid backbreaking work and an uncertain future. Legend has it that the miners even hugged their starters at night to keep the cultures warm and help them survive.

Sourdough starter served as a lifeline to which the miners literally clung. Due to the sudden population explosion, farms couldn’t keep up with the surge in demand, rendering affordable food an elusive commodity in many parts of the state. Moreover, the discovery of gold excited locals, too: As California’s farm workers left their agricultural jobs to pan for gold, farms that had once supported the state's economy sat abandoned. Local food merchants, smelling opportunity as droves of miners rushed the goldfields, inflated prices on everything from fruit to flour: A single egg could command as much as $3 (more than $80 per egg in today’s dollars). Suffice it to say, many merchants struck more riches than gold miners; after traveling thousands of arduous miles to stake their claim to wealth, most hopefuls in the mining camps ultimately made little money. Faced with limited funds and resources, the miners could extend a small amount of purchased flour by mixing it with sourdough starter—a more affordable solution than buying a fresh loaf of bread.

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