Recipes and Ramblings

What started as a way to use the extra starter and levain that would otherwise go to waste, turned into my dog's absolute favorite treats.  When I bake these, he can hardly wait for them to come out of the oven.  Easy to make, natural and healthy for your pooch, and a great use for your sourdough discard... what's not to love?

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Let's face it - you don't really know what's in those dog treats you buy from the store, do you? Making your own allows you to know exactly what it is you're treating your dog with - and at only ~25 of the healthiest calories per treat, you know you're not putting their health at risk with these yummy rewards.

The core of this recipe is the sourdough starter discard - there's just something about sourdough that makes my dog Rocco drool uncontrollably - literally!

Rocco drooling over sourdough

Don't worry, Rocco always gets a bit of whatever I bake, but chunks of bread aren't the most efficient way to treat your dog when you're out on walks. So I started researching - what exactly could I mix together to make a really special treat. For me, I had a few requirements:

They had to be healthy…

I didn't want to feel guilty when I gave him one (or several), so I wanted to make sure that only nice healthy ingredients would make it into this recipe

They had to be able to last…

I wanted to make sure they would keep at room temperature for at least a week or two. This led me to cut out anything like meat, eggs or cheese.

They had to get him excited…

After all, they are *treats* so they needed to be something special.

Peanut Butter to the Rescue

So since I couldn't just put something like bacon in the recipe, I had to get a bit more creative. I remembered the deal my wife made with Rocco long ago though… whenever she spooned out some peanut butter, it was his job - nay... his right - to lick the remenants off the spoon - and oh how he loves diligently performing this duty each and every time the opportunity arises!

Rounding out the ingredients

OK so now I had the stars of the show - the sourdough discard and the peanut butter. Now it was just about finding that healthy combination to round out the recipe. So in the end, I settled on:

  • Rolled oats and cornmeal - a nice healthy base.
  • Cinnamon - this one was a late addition after reading online that it has some great health benefits for dogs - and then finding out that Rocco absolutely loves the taste as well!
  • Oil - adds a bit of tasty fats into the recipe.
  • Honey - just a touch to add a nice bit of healthy sweetness.

Something was still missing

Once I got to this point I knew I had a winning recipe (Rocco told me so himself!), but something was still missing. Think about the treats you get at the shop, the best ones always have a bit of flair. Whether that's on the packaging, or in the shape of the treats themselves - there's always that little something that makes them special and unique. Not to be outdone, I set about finding my special mark to make on these treats.

After rummaging through my cabinets, drawers and workbench, I finally had a moment of inspiration… using chopsticks to stamp a paw print on every treat. four chopsticks in one direction, taped to one in the other direction - and I had my very own makeshift puppy-pawprint stamp...

Chopsticks make perfect paw stamps!

Yes, I do realize that Rocco has no idea what it is, but for me - it's what makes these treats extra special.

Dog treats with paw prints

So without further ado, there are two ways to follow this recipe. If you prefer to follow along on video and be able to watch every step as I do them, the video is on my YouTube channel and is embedded below as well. If you prefer to just get the text recipe and print it out - no problem at all, just scroll below the video. Either way though - if you have a special four legged best buddy, you really owe it to them to try this recipe at least once to find out if they love it as much as Rocco does!

The Best Sourdough Discard Dog Treats.
Prep Time 15 min · Total Time 45 min · Yield ~120 treats
  • 200g Sourdough starter discard This is a 50/50 mix of water and flour (100% hydration) and can be at any level of maturity.
  • 100g Rolled oats Or just about any type of oatmeal!
  • 50g Cornmeal Possible substitutions: polenta, grits, or just more oats! In the USA, this can be called "corn flour" and is yellow but in the UK "corn flour" is actually white and is what is called "corn starch" in the USA. Confused yet? Just make sure it’s yellow!
  • 150g Peanut butter Ideally a non-sweetened smooth version, but any will do in a pinch!
  • 10g Honey
  • 100g Vegetable oil Possible substitutions: olive oil, flax seed oil, peanut oil... or even just water if you prefer!
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 0-50g Flour This is the reserve flour and you may only need some of it - or none at all
Mix the wet ingredients
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the sourdough starter, vegetable oil, peanut butter and honey
  2. Stir to combine
Mix in the dry ingredients
  1. Directly into the same bowl, stir in the cinnamon, cornmeal and rolled oats
  2. Stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients
  3. Dump out onto work surface
  4. Sprinkle on the baking powder
  5. Knead for a minute to combine all ingredients evenly
Roll out and decorate
  1. Roll out onto a piece of baking/parchment paper to a thickness of approximately 1.5cm (~1/2 inch)
  2. Use a pizza slicer (or knife) to cut into a grid so that each individual treat will easily come apart once baked
  3. If you want to turn 5 chopsticks into a puppy paw stamp for the top of each treat, make sure to watch my YouTube video!
  1. Put onto a baking tray and then into a preheated oven (160°C / 320°F)
  2. Bake to your desired finish: less time will produce a lighter crumblier treat; more time will produce a darker, harder, crunchier treat. Usually 20-30 minutes.
  3. Take out and let rest 10-20 minutes
  4. Gently separate the treats and watch how much your pup loves them!
  5. These treats can easily be kept for several weeks in a dry environment like a jar. Throw away if any mold appears though!