Sourdough Discard Cornbread

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As a passionate baker with a love for experimenting in the kitchen, one of my recent culinary adventures led me to the delightful realm of sourdough discard cornbread. This unique twist on the classic cornbread recipe not only adds a depth of flavor but also contributes to a more nuanced texture, thanks to the magic of active sourdough starter.

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The Magic of Sourdough Discard

sourdough discard cinnamon coffee cake

One of the key ingredients in this recipe is the active peaked sourdough starter. For those unfamiliar, an active starter is a living mixture of flour and water, teeming with wild yeast and bacteria. The term “100% hydration” refers to a starter that is fed with equal parts water and flour by weight. This balance creates a thriving environment for the microorganisms, resulting in a bubbly and lively starter that imparts a distinct character to your cornbread.

This recipe turns out best if you use your sourdough starter when it’s at its peak. This typically means it has been fed at least once in the last few hours. When the starter is bubbly and has doubled in size, but has not yet started to deflate, is the best time to take the discard. Especially for this recipe. You CAN use a starter that has been forgotten in the fridge. However, you’re going to get an inferior product and may to make some adjustments in the recipe. It is also going to taste a lot stronger of that traditional sourdough taste.

If you haven’t gotten started in your sourdough journey yet, check out our guide on how to make a starter from scratch!

Ingredients Breakdown

Let’s delve into the lineup of ingredients and understand why each plays a crucial role in the success of this sourdough discard cornbread:

  1. Sourdough Starter (100% Hydration): Acting as both a leavening agent and flavor enhancer, the sourdough starter introduces a tangy note and contributes to the bread’s rise.
  2. Fine Ground Cornmeal: The heart and soul of any cornbread recipe, the fine ground cornmeal provides the characteristic texture and robust flavor essential to this Southern favorite.
  3. All-Purpose Flour: Adding structure to the bread, all-purpose flour complements the cornmeal, creating a balanced and tender crumb.
  4. Baking Soda and Baking Powder: This dynamic duo ensures the cornbread rises to perfection, achieving the ideal combination of fluffiness and density.
  5. Sea Salt: A pinch of sea salt enhances the overall flavor profile, marrying the sweetness of honey and maple syrup with the savory elements of the cornmeal.
  6. Milk of Choice: Whether it’s oat milk, almond milk, or a traditional buttermilk, the chosen liquid contributes moisture and richness to the cornbread.
  7. Melted Butter: Adding a luxurious richness, melted butter imparts a buttery flavor that elevates the entire experience. Vegans can opt for a suitable butter alternative.
  8. Eggs (or Vegan Egg Replacement): Acting as a binding agent, eggs contribute to the structure of the cornbread. For a vegan version, flaxseed or silken tofu can be used as an effective egg replacement.
  9. Maple Syrup and Honey: Balancing sweetness with a hint of earthiness, these natural sweeteners add complexity to the flavor profile. Vegans can exclusively use maple syrup for a delightful twist.
sourdough discard cornbread

Fermenting the Batter

Now, let’s talk about the secret weapon – fermenting the batter. Allowing the batter to ferment for a designated period not only enhances the flavors but also promotes better digestion. The fermentation process breaks down complex compounds, making the nutrients more accessible and potentially increasing the bioavailability of certain elements. This results in a cornbread that not only tastes phenomenal but may also offer improved nutritional benefits.

Sourdough Discard Cornbread

Print Recipe

Sourdough Discard Cornbread

This unique twist on the classic cornbread recipe not only adds a depth of flavor but also contributes to a more nuanced texture, thanks to the magic of active sourdough starter.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Fermentation Time4 hours
Servings: 12 Slices



  • 1.5 cups fine ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1.5 cups Sourdough starter (active or discard)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey


Dry Ingredient Mixing:

  • In a generously sized mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, creating a harmonious blend that will form the foundation of your sourdough cornbread. 1.5 cups fine ground cornmeal, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp fine salt

Wet Ingredient Integration:

  • Following the dry ingredients, introduce all the wet components. Utilize a whisk to delicately stir and combine the ingredients into a batter, ensuring not to over-mix. Aim for a semi-runny consistency, reminiscent of thick pancake batter.1.5 cups Sourdough starter, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey

Batter Fermentation:

  • Cover the bowl of batter with a damp tea towel, allowing it to rest at room temperature for a span of three to four hours—emphasizing not to exceed the four-hour mark.

Preheating for Different Pans:

  • If opting for a cast iron skillet, preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the skillet inside the oven during preheating to warm it up. For a standard rectangular baking pan, preheat the oven to 400°F without preheating the pan itself.

Baking Preparation:

  • Thoroughly coat your chosen baking pan with olive oil or use an olive oil spray. Transfer the fermented sourdough cornbread batter into the preheated cast iron skillet or another chosen baking pan.

Baking Process:

  • Bake the batter for approximately 25 minutes, or until the top of the sourdough cornbread achieves a delectable golden brown hue. Confirm its readiness by inserting a toothpick into the middle— it should come out clean.

Serving and Storage:

  • Once baked to perfection, serve and relish your homemade sourdough cornbread. Store any leftover, completely cooled cornbread in an airtight container, such as Tupperware, on the counter for a couple of days. After this initial period, transfer it to the refrigerator for extended freshness.

Optimal Storage for Sourdough Discard Cornbread

Room Temperature: For short-term storage, the sourdough discard cornbread can be kept at room temperature. Ensure it is completely cooled before placing it in an airtight container, such as Tupperware, and leaving it on the counter. However, this method is recommended for no more than a couple of days to maintain freshness and quality.

Refrigeration: If you anticipate longer storage, transitioning the cornbread to the refrigerator is the ideal choice. Once completely cooled, wrap the cornbread in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. Refrigerating it extends its shelf life, ensuring it stays moist and delicious for an extended period. Remember to consume it within a week for the best taste and texture.

Freezer Storage: To preserve the sourdough discard cornbread for an even more extended period, freezing is your go-to option. Ensure the cornbread has cooled entirely before wrapping it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place it in a resealable freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Properly stored, sourdough cornbread can maintain its quality for up to three months in the freezer.

Craving even more sourdough discard recipes? Check out our delicious coffee cake, easy pizza crust, and moist zucchini bread!

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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2 thoughts on “Sourdough Discard Cornbread”

  1. 4 stars
    Hi! Your recipe looks amazing, but I’m not seeing the starter listed anywhere in your recipe or the amount your used. Thanks!

    1. Wild N Free Farms

      Oops! I just updated my recipes to include the amounts within the instructions and looks like I accidentally deleted it! Kinda important to include, lol
      It’s been updated. Thank you!

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