If you're looking for some delicious, super soft dinner rolls, these Sourdough Discard Rolls are perfect for you! They're a great way to use up some of your sourdough discard and make some tasty rolls that are great as a side dish with any meal, or even to make sliders or sandwiches. There are two rises with this recipe, but I promise it's an easy recipe and that your patience will pay off!
These Sourdough Discard Rolls would be delicious served with this Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup!
Why you'll love this recipe
- These soft and fluffy dinner rolls are brushed with butter for a delicious flavor.
- Their size makes them perfect for sliders or small sandwiches (or you make larger rolls for larger sandwiches).
- This is a same-day recipe and you'll have these Sourdough Discard Rolls on the table in just a few hours!
- Sourdough Discard Rolls are easy to make; the bulk of the time needed for the recipe is rising time.
As long as you have sourdough discard, you're halfway there! You'll only need a few ingredients to make these Sourdough Discard Rolls.
- Non-dairy milk: Use unflavored non-dairy milk for this recipe (I use unflavored almond milk). If you prefer, you can also use regular dairy milk for these rolls.
- Sourdough discard: You'll want the discard to be unfed and at room temperature for this recipe. This recipe is designed for a sourdough starter that uses a 1:1:1 ratio (when you feed the starter, it's with 1 part starter, 1 part flour, 1 part water). If your sourdough starter uses a different ratio, you'll need to adjust some of the ingredients in this recipe.
- All-purpose flour: Using all-purpose flour makes these a more of a fluffy, soft roll than if you use bread flour.
- Instant yeast: Even though we're using sourdough discard, we still need to use yeast to help the dough rise in a predictable way.
- Unsalted butter: You'll use about 5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted. 2 Tablespoons will be mixed in the dough, about 1 Tablespoon will be used to grease the baking pan, and the remainder will be used to brush the rolls before and after baking.
- Flaky sea salt: This is optional, but I like to sprinkle some flaky sea salt (like Maldon Sea Salt) on the rolls before they bake.
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
Substitutions & Variations
This is a very adaptable recipe and I'd encourage you to make it your own! A few variations that I like to try include:
- Sourdough Discard Garlic Rolls - A delicious variation brushed with melted butter, garlic and herbs!
- Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls - A slightly different recipe, but a delicious sweet alternative to these sourdough rolls.
- Raisin Rolls - Want to try a slightly sweeter version? Before starting the recipe, soak 1 cup of raisins in hot water for at least 20 minutes. Fold the raisins into the dough as you're mixing the ingredients together. Continue with the directions as listed.
- Add toppings - After the second rise, brush the rolls with an egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tablespoon water), and sprinkle the rolls with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or everything bagel seasoning. Bake as directed.
- Use whole wheat flour - Use whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour in this recipe.
- Use active sourdough starter - If you'd like to use active sourdough starter, you can omit the yeast. The rise times will be longer, and this isn't something I have tested, so I do not have final rise times for you.
I have not tested this recipe with other variations, but if you do, let us know how it turns out in the comments! I always love to hear how you're adapting these recipes and use those as ideas for future recipes as well!
How to make sourdough discard rolls
There are two rises to make these Sourdough Discard Rolls, so you'll need some patience, but the steps to make the recipe are very easy!
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until a rough dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a smooth work surface and knead until a smooth dough forms, about 3-4 minutes. The dough should be smooth and only slightly tacky.
Place the dough in a large, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 60-90 minutes, until doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto a smooth work surface and divide into 12 equal-sized pieces. Place the dough rolls into an 8x11-inch baking dish that has been greased with melted butter.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 60 minutes until the rolls have doubled.
Brush the rolls with 2 Tablespoons of melted butter.
Sprinkle the rolls with flaky sea salt (optional, but recommended!).
Bake until golden. Remove the rolls from the oven and brush again with melted butter (optional).
The rolls are ready to serve as soon as they're out of the oven (and they're delicious while they're soft and warm!). You can also make them ahead of time and let them cool before serving.
Expert Baking Tips
- Make sure to knead the dough long enough. The dough should be soft and smooth when you place it in the bowl for the first rise. The dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky.
- Every sourdough discard is different. If you find the dough is too wet or too dry as you're kneading, add more flour or water (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach the desired consistency.
- When dividing the dough, the pieces do not have to be equal. If you do want them to be perfectly equal (for identically sized rolls), weigh your dough and then divide by 12. This will tell you how much the dough for each of the 12 rolls should weigh.
- The rise time will vary depending on the temperature of your room. If your room is cooler, you may need to let the dough rise longer. If your room is warmer, you may not need as much time. Keep an eye on your dough and have patience!
- Brushing the rolls with melted butter adds wonderful flavor - don't skip it!
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is what is left over after you feed your sourdough starter. You can either literally discard this excess (in the trash or compost - I do not recommend putting this in your sink drain!) or use it in sourdough discard recipes.
Why do you use yeast in this recipe?
When you bake with sourdough discard, it is unfed and therefore not as active as your sourdough starter. Because of that, you'll still need to use an ingredient to help leaven the dough (i.e. make it rise). In this case, we're using yeast. This helps ensure a consistent and predictable rise for this recipe.
You'll still be able to taste the sourdough tang, you'll have the benefit of some extra rise from the discard, and sourdough discard recipes are a great way to use your discard without letting it go to waste!
I like to start the dough in a stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer), and then finish kneading by hand. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can make the dough in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon (and knead by hand). I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the sourdough discard.
You'll need a large mixing bowl to let the dough rise, and an 8x11-inch baking dish (often a lasagna dish is the perfect size). Use a silicone brush to brush the melted butter in the pan and on the rolls.
If you are using a pan that is a different size, this will still work! A slightly larger pan will make rolls that aren't as tight together. A slightly smaller pan will make rolls that are more overflowing. Keep an eye on the cooking time as the shape of your pan may result in the rolls needing more or less baking time.
Room Temperature Storage: If you plan to eat these rolls within 1-2 days, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. You can reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to make them warm and soft again.
Freezer Storage: Once the rolls have cooled fully, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you're ready to serve, let the rolls thaw at room temperature, then reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
Yes. This recipe is designed to be used with sourdough discard. Without it, you would need to adjust several ingredients.
This recipe is designed to be made with sourdough discard; I have not tested it with active sourdough starter. If you use active sourdough starter, you will need to adjust the rising times.
Sourdough discard is not very active (unlike the active sourdough starter), and when you bake with it, you need to use a leavening agent to make sure the dough rises predictably. For these Sourdough Discard Rolls, we're using yeast as the leavening agent to ensure the rolls rise correctly.
You can either make your own sourdough starter (I used this Sourdough Starter recipe from King Arthur Baking) or you can buy a sourdough starter. If you're lucky, you can also get some from a friend or neighbor! The discard is what you have left over after feeding your sourdough starter.
If you're new to working with sourdough starter, check out these in-depth posts on how to feed sourdough starter and how to use sourdough discard.
The recipe does use eggs and butter, but you could use a vegan egg substitute and a vegan butter alternative to make these vegan rolls.
Yes! These rolls would be perfect buns for sliders or small sandwiches. You could also divide the dough into fewer pieces to make larger buns or rolls.
Sourdough Discard Rolls
- ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon unflavored non-dairy milk warmed to 110℉
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 200 grams (about ¾ cup) sourdough discard unfed, at room temperature
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and divided
- flaky sea salt for topping
- Combine the warmed non-dairy milk, instant yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour, sourdough discard, beaten egg and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. Increase speed to medium and mix until a shaggy dough forms, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a smooth work surface and knead until a smooth dough forms, about 3-4 minutes. Dough should be smooth and slightly tacky (not sticky). If needed, add more flour or non-dairy milk (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach your desired consistency.
- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Brush an 8x11-inch baking dish with 1 Tablespoon melted butter and set aside.
- Turn the dough onto a smooth work surface and divide into 12 equal-sized pieces. This doesn't have to be exact, but if you do want perfectly identical rolls, weigh the dough and divide that number by 12 to determine how much the dough for each roll should weigh. Roll each piece of dough into a ball in the palm of your hand, then place the rolls into the prepared baking dish. Repeat until you have 12 rolls.
- Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 60 minutes, until puffed and doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. Brush the rolls with 2 Tablespoons melted butter, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If desired, brush with additional melted butter before serving.