Crepes com descartes de levain - (c) Baila Bakes
blog, Levain's Descartes

How to Use Sourdough Discards in Any Recipe


Levain discards. I always tell you not to throw it away. But I realized that many people have doubts about it. So I decided to make a guide for you to use your leftovers. Also, I want to teach you how to use discards in any recipe and not just follow them. Keep reading and clear all your doubts.

Why do I have so much leftover levain or natural yeast?

Those who already have their natural yeast have already realized that it needs to be fed constantly to stay active and healthy. This is the cycle of your culture. You refresh your yeast, the nutrients in the flour are processed and when there is no more “food” for the yeast and bacteria, it loses volume and becomes very acidic. Then you need to add more flour and water to renew this cycle. What we do? We discard a part of the yeast and add more water and flour.

And if we don't rule it out?

If you add more flour and water continuously without disposing, you will end up with an unworkable amount. And it will need more and more flour. Thus, your pocket would also complain. 

That's why we discard. By discarding a part and adding more flour and water, your yeast gains new “food” and we continue with a sufficient amount to work with.

Descarte de levain - Baila Bakes
You don't need to have large amounts of levain to make bread at home (c) Baila Bakes

Do not discard the discard

Shall we think with me? What is natural yeast made of? Flour and water. Ingredients that are part of our day-to-day life: cakes, cookies, breads, pastas and many other foods. Therefore, your discards can turn into many delights. Furthermore, by using discards we are avoiding waste and cooking sustainably.

Descartes de Levain - Baila Bakes
Never throw away your levain discards. Store them in the fridge or freezer. (c) Baila Bakes

How to save the levain discards?

You can store your leftover natural yeast in a jar in the fridge or freezer. If you prefer to store in the fridge, I recommend using them within a week. The longer in the fridge, the more acidic the yeast will be.

Not sure when to use it? You can put the discards in a container in the freezer. When you want to use it, take it out of the freezer the night before, put it in the fridge and use it the next day.

How to override levain discard in a recipe? 

Since I want you to be able to adapt any recipe and not just repeat it, Here's how easy it is. It just takes a little math. But don't be scared, these are basic operations.

4 Steps to Use Your Natural Yeast Discard

  1. Weigh your discard 
  2. Divide that number by two
  3. Subtract this amount from the amount of flour and amount of liquid in the recipe.
  4. Make the recipe with these new amounts of flour and liquid, plus the discard.

Shall we put this into a formula?

D= Number of levain discards

F = Amount of flour in the recipe

L = Amount of liquids in the recipe

D/2 = X

F – X = new amount of flour in the recipe

L – X = new amount of liquids in the recipe

Attention points

Proportion of levain or natural yeast

 When dividing by two, we are considering a levain with equal proportions of flour, levain and water. If your levain has a different ratio, you may need to adjust with a little more flour or water. 

What kind of liquids

You can substitute liquids such as water, milk, vegetable milks, yogurts, curds and other similar ingredients. 

But attention:

Avoid replacing natural yeast or levain with liquid fats (such as melted butter or olive oil) or liquid sweeteners (such as honey, molasses and others). These ingredients change the texture of the dough. 

Now, just put your hand in the dough. Ah, then tell me if it worked!

 If you want to learn more about using levain discards, watch the video below.


  1. Galiana Soares Fraga

    estou gostando de suas receitas, mas gostaria de recei,tas com farinhas alternativas sem gluten,Obrigada!

  2. Maria da Conceição Oliveira Campos

    Sabias explanações

  3. Olá 👋

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