Fudgy, ultra-rich, and with a dark chocolatey flavour, these sourdough brownies are an excellent way to use up some of that extra sourdough discard.
Fudgy Sourdough Brownies
Really very fudgy – these are almost like eating a dark chocolate bar. If you like a deep dark chocolate brownie, this recipe is for you! Sourdough discard is added to the mix because we always have extra, and it adds the slightest touch of sourdough flavour.
Though it might seem a bit strange and unnecessary to add sourdough to brownies, we’re all about reducing food waste. Instead of tossing your discard on the compost heap, add it to baking – and that doesn’t only mean bread. We have a number of sourdough discard recipes and it’s being added to all the time. You can make sourdough banana bread, sourdough crepes, sourdough cookies, and, obviously, sourdough brownies!
The taste of any of these treats, including the brownies, isn’t strongly of sourdough in the same way as a proper sourdough bread because they’re not going through a bulk ferment. There’s a bit of tang here, but it’s only just noticeable.
- Cane sugar
- Brown sugar
- Cocoa powder (see below)
- Two eggs
- Sourdough starter discard
Preheat the oven and line a standard square baking tin (a rectangle will work too, just keep it around the same size as a 20cm (8 in.) tin). Lining instead of greasing is key here because brownies don’t pop out of the pan like a cake does, so you’d scratch your tin.
Butter, sugars, vanilla, cocoa, and salt are whisked together to mix out all the lumps. The batter is very stiff at this point, so you’ll need a strong whisk, or switch over to a wooden spoon. Whisk in the eggs to combine, and lastly the sourdough discard. Depending on the cocoa you’ve used, your batter might be very dark, almost black.
Pour/spoon the batter into the tin – it might be too thick to pour – and smooth out the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes (don’t over-bake – see below) and cool completely before cutting and serving the brownies.
Serve with some ice cream, or whipped cream, berries, fudge sauce, caramel, whatever you like. I (Alex) like storing the brownies in the fridge for a really fudgy, chewy bite, but they’re great at room temperature too. These remind me of those little brownie bites you get at the grocery store bakery.
Since this is such a minimal recipe, there aren’t a pile of substitutions to offer. You can easily make these dairy-free by using a good quality vegan butter (as pictured because Alex doesn’t eat dairy) but we don’t have a good sub for eggs to make them fully vegan. Izy has a vegan sourdough brownie recipe that looks great!
We use regular cocoa powder, but you can also use Dutch process here because there isn’t a leavening agent needed. If you like a lighter coloured, but less sweet, brownie, you can use raw cacao powder. Don’t mix up cocoa with hot cocoa drink mix – check the ingredients if you’re not sure, as the drink mix has sugar and other ingredients added.
Making These Gluten Free
The base recipe here is completely gluten free. So if you have a gluten free sourdough starter, you can use discard from that in place of a wheat based starter. That recipe linked above is great, and if you’d like to delve more into GF sourdough, this book includes a number of excellent recipes and we can highly recommend it.
Tips and Notes
The recipe calls for the brownies to be cooled fully in the pan before cutting. This is because the edges will be messy if you cut while they’re still warm, but if you’re craving warm brownies, it’s okay to cut them before fully cooling. Or, you know, dive right in with a spoon.
Don’t worry about over-mixing here as the brownies are gluten-free apart from the discard. It is a stiff dough and needs to be mixed well.
Really, really, don’t over bake! It’s a short baking time, yes, but that’s what you need for that fudge-like interior. A toothpick test will fail so go by the baking time instead – when they’re done, the edges will be raised and firm to the touch.
We left out additional chopped chocolate because the brownies are so rich, but you could add some dark, milk, or white chocolate to the mix. Add it with the dry ingredients because it’ll be hard to incorporate once the batter is fully mixed. Or add chopped nuts, coconut flakes, berries, whatever you like.
More Brownie Recipes
If you make this recipe, let us know by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog on Instagram! We love to feel like we’re in the kitchen with you.
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- ½ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed, if using cups
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup sourdough starter, unfed
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, cane sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder (no need to sift, you’ll whisk out the lumps), and salt. The batter will be quite stiff, but will loosen up as you add the remaining ingredients.
- Next, whisk in the eggs until combined.
- Finally, add the sourdough starter and mix until smooth.
- Transfer batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the surface as best as possible.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until edges have formed and the center is just set. Don’t be tempted to over-bake; the brownies will set more as they cool.
- Cool completely in the pan before cutting and serving.