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Sourdough Brownies – A Great Way to Use Sourdough Discard

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These easy to make sourdough brownies are a great way to use sourdough discard. With one bowl, one pan, and about 30 minutes, you have rich, fudgy brownies.

slice of sourdough brownies

Your final product will vary based on how active your starter is, choice of sweetener, and choice of flour.

Ingredient notes:

  • Use granulated sugar, sucanat, rapadura, honey or maple syrup. Increase up to 1 cup for a sweeter brownie.
  • Use semiweet baking chocolate, chocolate chips (1/2 cup), or a combination of 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 2 1/2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil +1/4 cup sugar. I like the results with melted semisweet baking chocolate best.
  • This is a great way to use up sourdough discard, because less active starter works best for this recipe. These sourdough brownies work great with a wheat flour or rye flour starter.

Make sure to blend the batter well. Some readers have had their brownies separate into layers. I've never had that happen, but the only thing that comes to mind is uneven mixing.

I like to use 9 inch or 10 inch glass pie plate, but you can use a 9 inch square baking dish. With an active starter, a little more room is good, because the brownies dome during baking.

Sourdough Brownie Recipe

My husband said that the texture of these brownies reminded him of the cookie portion of an old fashioned ice cream sandwich. They are rich and cakey, with yummy dark chocolate flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ounces melted chocolate
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil (room temperature or melted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • crispy nuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your baking dish.

In a blender, food processor, or medium sized bowl, add sourdough starter and the rest of the ingredients (except nuts).

Blend (or whisk) chocolate mixture until smooth.

sourdough discard brownie batter

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

sourdough brownie batter in pan
Batter ready to go in oven. Note how it only fills the pie plate halfway.

Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes,until toothpick inserted in the center tests done. The edges should be set but the center should still look a little soft. Don't bake too long or the brownie will get tough and dry.

Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk, or ice cream or whipped cream if you want to get fancy.

pan of sourdough brownies
Note how the baked brownies now reach all the way to the top of the pie plate.

These brownies freeze well and keep in a covered container in the fridge for one week – if they last that long…

Sourdough A-Z eBook and eCourse

These amazing sourdough brownies are based on the “Impossible Brownie Pie” recipe from Sourdough A-Z by Wardee Harmon.

Brownies are only one of the sourdough baked goods in Sourdough A to Z.

You will also find:

  • Chocolate and Spice Cakes
  • Pancakes and Waffles
  • Crepes
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • English Muffins
  • Crackers
  • Pizza
  • Pocket Bread
  • Donuts
  • Scones
  • Biscuits
  • Pasta
  • Cookies
  • and much more

They also provide instructions for adapting recipes, capturing your own sourdough starter, tending your starter, and storing your starter.

Visit Traditional Cooking School to order your copy of the Sourdough A to Z e-book or online sourdough course.

They are good people with good information, and I'm proud to be an affiliate. Your purchase helps support this site. Wardee is also the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods.

Easy Sourdough ... from A to Z!

Printable Recipe for Sourdough Brownies

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Easy Sourdough Brownies

These easy to make sourdough brownies are a great way to use sourdough discard. With one bowl, one pan, and about 30 minutes, you have rich, fudgy brownies.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 ounces melted chocolate
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil (room temperature or melted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • crispy nuts (optional)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your baking dish.

In a blender, food processor, or medium sized bowl, add sourdough starter and the rest of the ingredients (except nuts).

Blend (or whisk) chocolate mixture until smooth.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes,until toothpick inserted in the center tests done. The edges should be set but the center should still look a little soft. Don’t bake too long or the brownie will get tough and dry.

Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk, or ice cream or whipped cream if you want to get fancy.

These brownies freeze well and keep in a covered container in the fridge for one week.

Notes

Use granulated sugar, sucanat, rapadura, honey or maple syrup. Increase up to 1 cup for a sweeter brownie.

Use chocolate chips (1/2 cup), semiweet baking chocolate or a combination of 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 2 1/2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil +1/4 cup sugar

This is a great way to use up sourdough discard, because your starter doesn’t need to be active for this recipe. These sourdough brownies work great with a wheat flour or rye flour starter.

Keywords: brownie, sourdough, chocolate

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taking a bite of sourdough brownies

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Originally posted in 2013, last updated in 2020.

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85 Comments

  1. I just found out I can make a gluten free starter with rice flour. I didn’t see any additional flour in this recipe. Could I use the gluten free starter for these. They look amazing and I would love to try this. I don’t know anything about sour dough because I didn’t know it could be GF until just recently.

    1. Yes, it should work with gluten free sourdough starter, although I haven’t tried it yet. There is no added flour beyond the starter. The leavening comes from the sourness of the starter combined with the baking soda.

    2. I have a gf sourdough starter that I usually feed with brown rice flour and sorghum flour. I usually make little pancakes with extra starter, I am really looking forward to trying this. I will let you know how it turns out.

        1. This brownie recipe worked well. I added chopped walnuts and cacao nibs for texture. Might try a smaller tin in future to make them deeper but they have stayed moist in the centre. Would be great with ice cream!

  2. Hi! I made this today. Must have done something wrong. My sourdough starter is made with instant potato. It didn’t look anything like yours. Mine was very dark and didn’t rise. It tasted like chocolate eggs. Are you sure the recipe doesn’t need flour?

    1. Hmmm…nope, I know it doesn’t need additional flour. One of the reasons I like the recipe is because it used plain starter – no extra souring time required. The baking soda should react with the acidity of the sourdough to provide a leavening effect. I’ve made this in the food processor with more active starter and mixed by hand with a less active starter, and it worked both ways. Let me check with Wardeh and see if she has any ideas.

      1. Here’s what Wardeh had to say:

        “I don’t know much about potato flake starters, except that you can’t use it interchangeably with our kind of sourdough starter.

        I do think it is likely it is less acidic — that would have been my guess. She could try adding some vinegar to her batter to make it more acidic and therefore will react with the baking soda. And/or more leavening. It is hard to know for sure as this recipe wasn’t written with a potato based starter.”

        You might also try adding some baking powder, which does not require additional acid to provide leavening.

  3. I just made these brownies, but it turned out more like a sponge cake. Is that the texture you had with your brownies?

    1. I’ve now made the recipe several times, and found that there is a significant variation in texture depending on the starter used. My most “brownielike” texture resulted from using started fed with freshly ground soft white spring white that was not very active.

  4. I just finished making these… I was super excited, but kinda wondered about the ingredients. It seemed like it needed something when I had the batter all together. BUT, I thought I would follow the recipe, and bake anyway… It came out of the oven separated -the egg on bottom and the chocolate on top- and definitely NOT brownies. It tasted like a “chocolate egg”I would not recommend this recipe… I was disappointed in it. Do you think that something has been left out of the recipe by chance. Something that you do that seams of minor importance, but really is….? I have sometimes done something to a recipe that seamed minor and not done it the next time, only to find out that what I did, tremendously helped.

    1. I just double checked the recipe and all the ingredients are there, the instructions are complete. I have made it several times and it has turned out just fine. I did keep it spinning in the food processor until it was well emulsified. This is the only reason I can think of for your eggs separating out. As you can clearly see from the photo of the cut piece of brownie, the texture is uniform throughout the pan, and the batter is very smooth when poured into the pan. I’m sorry it didn’t work out well for you.

    2. That is EXACTLY how mine turned out! A rubbery, eggy layer on the bottom, and a thin layer of “almost brownie” on top. My starter is einkorn, and I thought perhaps was the cause, but I see others have had issues, too…wish I had read the comments first! I usually make that a rule of thumb for internet recipes, but was excited and in a rush. Lesson learned!

  5. Awesome! I just made these (I needed to feed my starter so this was a great use for the extra!). They were a bit eggy but I loved them. I also loved eating flan for breakfast in Paris. But thank you, these were really quite good and will be a great addition to my son’s lunch this year! And I can feel good about what is in it!

    1. I’m glad they worked out for you. As I mentioned in some of the comments, I’ve had a variation in texture, but they’ve always worked well for me, but others have had some trouble. Flan is lovely. 🙂

      1. The variation comes from everyone having a different sourdough starter. That is the beauty and the curse of sourdough!

  6. I made these tonight and they turned out great! A little more cakey than I like, but the taste and texture were still fabulous! I’m going to make these again and try 3 eggs instead of 4. My sourdough is 80% hydration level so that may be the reason it was more cake-like (?), I’m thinking that decreasing the eggs and increasing the butter to 1/3 cup will make them more fudgy. Either way, these were great and my husband liked them too. Definitely saving the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  7. This recipe has great ingredients but turns out more like a cake than a brownie. The flavor was great but if you are looking for a chewy brownie this is not the recipe for you.

    1. I’ve found that the texture varies quite a bit depending on how active my starter is and what it was fed with, but yes, overall, more often than not they lean towards cakey. A less active starter with whole wheat flour tends to lean more towards brownie texture.

      1. I made that the other day. Eating them fresh was ok…. they weren’t very chocolatey and very cakey, but after a few hours and the next day they had this amazing almost pudding- like layer in the middle and were delicious! I used freshly feed and bubbly starter. I’m making them again to take to a bbq tonight and am hoping for a second successful try!

    1. The texture varies a fair amount depending on the flour used and the age of the starter. Home ground soft whole wheat flour and not too active starter has given me the most spongy texture so far.

  8. A hit! We had it last night for dessert, and my youngest immediately asked if she could pack a piece in her lunch today. Of course!

    I whisked it up in a bowl, using melted chocolate and butter options. (Oh, and, of course, chicken eggs. Love that! Maybe someday I’ll have the option!) My starter is always fresh and bubbly these days as I keep trying new recipes. (I originally started it with rye flour and pineapple juice, but it is mainly fed on white whole wheat flour.) I used the exact same Pyrex pie plate.

    I wonder if some people have problems because they let the batter sit too long after adding the baking soda. Remember what happens when you combine baking soda and vinegar? Well that’s what is going on with this cake batter. Both your starter and the chocolate are acidic. (That’s why you can’t use Dutch cocoa powder for recipes with baking soda. It’s been neutralized.) The soda needs acid to work its magic! Add the soda last, pour batter into a ready pan or dish, and then straight to the preheated oven. If the batter sits before getting baked, the soda and acid reaction is over = no leavening.

    1. Oh, forgot to say that I used 1/2 cup good quality dark brown sugar (not the stuff that is just refined sugar with the molasses put back). A full cup of honey or maple syrup would add a significant amount of liquid. Maybe it’s the sugar variation that gives some people trouble?

  9. I made this once as the recipe is. It was great but I wanted a little more substance/ density to it. Last night I used half a cup of starter and mixed it in a bowl with 1/2c flour and 1/2 water (it was like a goopy mess while it developed) Then let it sit until this morning and finished the recipe. It tasted sour in a delicious way and with a handfull of chocolate chips became extra amazing!

  10. I was looking for a recipe to use extra sourdough starter. This is one of the worst recipes I have made with my starter. I should have read the reviews before I made it. Like others, the eggs gathered at the bottom. I think it’s odd that there is no flour called for in this recipe. I made a chocolate cake with sourdough starter that came out much better.

  11. This is one of my all time favorite sourdough recipes. Most of the sweet recipes need about 8 hours to ferment which is fine but sometimes you just need your dessert right away. They do have a little bit more of a sponge texture than traditional brownies but I like that texture. I have never had a failure with this recipe but apparently some have. I always use a very good quality solid chocolate 70% bittersweet. I have a wheat flour starter that I always have at room temperature and feed daily after 24 hours. I use the discard just before feeding to use in this recipe so it is about 24 hours old but still very bubbly. I use brown sugar and a little maple syrup butter or coconut oil both work fine. I melt the chocolate with the butter and mix everything in a bowl first then transfer to my blender and really blend (I think this might be the secret). I bake in a square 9 inch pan for only 20 minutes. It is well worth trying again to make this work as it is really a convenient tasty dessert.

  12. Hello Laurie : )
    would like to know if I can substitute chocolate with cocoa powder? Do you mean cocoa powder when you mentioned “cocoa”? Thanks in advance!

  13. I tried this and it turned out well. Light, cakelike brownies but a great use for my discard…which tends to sit around in the fridge awhile before I use it.

  14. I too, was left with a rubbery finished product. The flavour was ok but with 4 eggs in the recipe, I will not be making this again. What would happen if a bit of flour was added to the recipe? I don’t often have trouble with recipes, but this one has me stumped and disappointed.

  15. Delicious! Texture was sponge-y, but I loved it. Perfect recipe for chocolate btw!

  16. Wow What a surprise. We used spelt flour starter that was not very bubbly.The mix was stirred ready waiting for the choc to melt (we used Cadbury Turkish delight flavour and no sugar)Than added the choc and popped into oven. What a beautiful surprise because i must say it did look rather watery to start with.Thankyou. We have just began our journey with sour dough.

  17. These were really good. The only thing that I changed was instead of using sugar I used a little maple syrup and some black raspberry simply fruit preserves. I also added a tsp. of cinnamon and only used 3 eggs because mine were jumbo. I will definitely make these again.

  18. This recipe is glorious. I’ve made it several times now and its my go to brownie recipe now. I just made it again for my sister’s birthday. So rich and gooey. The last batch I did, I added a cream cheese swirl and I almost wept when I took my first bite, it was so perfect. I use a good ol’ bread flour fed starter, semi sweet melting chocolates, plus dark chocolate chips. As for sweetener I have tried half maple syrup and half coconut sugar, and I have tried all coconut sugar and I definitely prefer the half and half. Definitely try this out if you have some sourdough discard.

  19. These were more cakey than I like for a brownie. I did use starter that had been fed and sat out all day. I used 2 duck eggs.

  20. Wonderful! I am a new Sourdough person and these Sourdough Children are taking over the refrigerator, the freezer, and the house! My husband loved the brownies and the sponge cake texture. He wonders if you could make as a Vanilla Cake. Going to look around your site. Thanks again these are now the go -to-brownie.

  21. I’ve made these twice now, I bake less time than it says and its always still a fluffy cake rather than fudgy brownies….. what can I do different?? Otherwise delicious.

  22. I made this today to use some starter. Came out good, but not fudgy, which I knew from the comments. I used half honey and half agave. May add some flour next time to make them fudgy. I did not get an eggy layer, as I beat well with the food processor. Thank you for a good recipe to use starter, before it takes over the house 🙂

  23. Did not work for me! I was shocked that these didn’t need extra flour, but decided to try it anyway. It was like a chocolate omlet. 😬 My starter is pretty new and is white flour and water (not potato flakes). Id skip this one unless you have a more mature starter and are willing to take the risk! 😆

    1. Hmmmm… the photos in the post were made with a starter that was less than a week old.(I started one up to update posts on the website.)

      I use Gold N White whole wheat flour and water in my starter, no potato flakes or other ingredients.

      When the starter was more active, it made more of a cake texture and less brownie texture, but no chocolate scrambled eggs.

      I’m stumped.

  24. Yummy, we’re vegan so I used chia eggs. I added a bit more flour just because of that substitution. They are nice and moist and chocolatety.

    1. Glad that it worked out well for you. What type of starter did you use? (I’m trying to pinpoint what’s causing trouble for those who’ve ended up with eggy brownies by eliminating options that work.)

  25. Like some other bakers my brownies also separated. I was lazy and beat everything by hand so maybe using the food processor is the key to avoiding separation. I also used cocoa powder. The batter was much runnier than the brownies I usually make. Despite the esthetics, they still tasted good

    1. Glad it worked well for you.

      If you see this and have a moment, could you let me know what type of starter you used (thick or thin, wheat or rye) and if you mixed by hand or machine?

  26. Did you use baking soda or powder? In your video you said 1/2 tsp baking powder and the recipe says baking soda.
    Thanks

  27. This was such a helpful base recipe to help me use my sourdough discard in prep for its next feeding! I did make a few changes, and everyone loved it served with some whipped cream and fruit. It came out nicely moist and dense. This is what I did for my adaptation, I hope you will not mind me sharing!

    1/2 cup sourdough starter
    2 eggs
    4 oz. melted 100% dark chocolate
    1/2 cup sugar (I used xylitol, but close enough), powdered in coffee grinder
    1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, divided
    4 – 5 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp. sea salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pan. Melt chocolate and 1/4 cup butter together in double boiler on stove top. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine sourdough, eggs, powdered sugar/sweetener, cocoa, vanilla, salt, and baking soda until well combined. Pour in melted chocolate and stir or whisk until fully incorporated. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in remaining 1/4 cup softened butter until thoroughly combined. (Texture should be like cake frosting.) Spread evenly into pan with a spatula and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    P. S. I keep a rye starter, so depending on the type of grain/flour with which one feeds their starter, as well as percentage of hydration, the results will probably vary. But mine came out very well!

  28. I really appreciate all the work you took to come up with this recipe, it’s not easy. It was just a little too eggie for me, I guess I was looking more for a out of the box from the grocery store taste and consistency. I would make this recipe and eat it again, but my wife is very picky, so I tweaked it for her on a second try and was able to come up with a “like store bought mix” recipe for her and the others on this thread that thought it was too eggie. I don’t normally keep chocolate around the house because it gets eaten right away, so your melted chocolate recipe was perfect! I used that with coconut oil (not butter). Here are the ingredients I tweaked:
    1 cup (non fed)sourdough starter (to make up for the loss of eggs)
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup sugar,
    1/3 cup vegitable oil (you can use coconut oil, once again, though, my wife is very picky)
    1/2 tsp. Pure vanilla
    1/8 tsp. sea salt
    3/4 tsp. baking soda (the reason for more is to counter the larger amount of Sourdough)

    We didn’t add nuts (because we don’t like them), but we did add a handful of milk chocolate chips (cause that’s all we had left) and some Hershey’s chocolate syrup on top just before putting it in the oven.

    Hope this can help a little.

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