What started as a simple sourdough starter project, has turned into a bit of an obsession. If you are taking on the activity of creating a sourdough starter then you are no stranger to sourdough discard.
Being one to never let things go to waste I just can’t bring myself to throw away my discard so I keep it, by its lonesome in a mason jar in my fridge. As the days roll along, my discard only grows so finding fun ways to “rid” myself of it has become a new hobby.
I was born in the south so biscuits are a childhood staple and it felt only right that the first use of my discard went toward that adventure.
One thing to note about this recipe, the cold is your friend and with that in mind I placed the mixing bowl I planned to use for this recipe in the fridge the night before. I also placed my butter in the freezer overnight so that it would be frozen by bake time the next day.
First things first, cut your cold preferably frozen stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsps) into small cubes. Place those cubes into the freezer once that is done, we want to keep the butter as cold as possible through this entire recipe.
Why Frozen/Cold Butter?
Simple, cold butter is the key to flakey and that’s what we are going for here, buttery, flakey biscuits. Also cold butter is easier to work with but we will get into that a little later.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, 3/4 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of baking soda in the cold mixing bowl.
Grab your cold butter and “cut” it into the flour mixture, I used a fork but a dough scraper, food processor, or cheese grater work as well. Once done place mixing bowl back into the fridge. Cold, cold, cold …
Disclaimer: DON’T use your hands, we want cold butter and the heat from your body will easily turn this mixture into a soft mushy mess.
Cutting Butter: What is it and How to do it
Cutting butter simply means to incorporate it into dry ingredients in such a fashion that keeps it in small clumps within the mixture. Cold butter is easier to keep in these clumps while you are working with it.
-Using a fork, press down, smashing the butter cubes until you have a crumbly consistency. If the butter is frozen, take care, as it will take a little more force but it’s well worth it.
-Using a dough scraper, press down and cut the cubes until you have your desired consistency. Be careful not to smash the butter with the flat side of the scraper you want clumps, not mush.
-Using a food processor, fastest option but make sure to not over mix. Also there is a fair amount of cleanup with this route.
-Using a cheese grater, simple enough, just grate the butter as you would cheese. Frozen butter is a must for this route and I think you can figure out why.
At this point you should start preheating your oven to 425F
Grab 1 cup of your sourdough starter unfed/discard right from the fridge along with 1/2 cup of cold milk and whisk them together. I love buttermilk biscuits so I really wanted to try and recreate that here.
Retrieve your dry ingredients from the fridge, make a well in the middle, and slowly begin pouring in the sourdough mixture. Use a fork to incorporate as you pour, this will help keep the butter cold.
Knead the dough just a little bit but DON’T overwork it. Turn out the dough to a lightly floured surface, using a dough scraper, shape the dough into a square, and then cut it into 4 equal sections.
To form our flakey layers, stack the 4 sections on top of each other, lightly flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough until it’s about 1 inch in thickness.
Use a biscuit cutter (3” diameter) and press straight down into dough, making sure NOT to twist as this will seal the edges. Take leftover dough and reform it, repeating the process until all biscuits are cut. You should have about 12.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remember when I mentioned that the cold is our friend, I meant it. Firming the butter before we bake cools the butter back down from all the activity it just experienced.
Cold butter is key here, I will say that until I am blue in the face. We just formed our layers and the cold butter is now incorporated within those layers. When the butter melts in the oven it will create gaps and form those buttery, flakey layers …
Drop the heat of your oven to 400F
Melt a little unsalted butter, grab your biscuits from the freezer and brush the tops. Sprinkle a small/tiny amount of sea salt on top as well.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven once finished and place them on a cooling rack. Personally, I ate 2 while they were still pretty hot because I just couldn’t resist.
This was my first time making biscuits and they turned out very well. The dough was perfect, not to wet and not to dry which made it easy to work with. Keeping things as cold as possible really does make your life easier with this recipe and the end result will be one buttery, flakey treat.
*Recipe adapted from Joshua Weissman*
- 1 1/2 Cup Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (Frozen/Cold)
- 1 Cup Sourdough Starter Unfed/Discard
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- Cut 8 tbsps of frozen (or cold) butter into small cubes, place back in the freezer once completed. *see Notes for PRO TIPS
- Combine 1 ½ cups of flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, ¾ tsp of salt, and ½ tsp of baking soda in a large mixing bowl. *see notes for PRO TIPS
- Cut frozen/cold butter into dry ingredients and place back into the fridge when done.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Whisk 1 cup of sourdough starter discard with ½ cups of milk *see notes
- Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture, slowly pouring in the sourdough mixture. Use a fork to help incorporate the two mixtures.
- Knead the dough just a little making sure to not overwork.
- Turn our dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pressings down, and shape into a square using a dough scraper.
- Cut the square into 4 equal sections and stack them on top of each other. Press down from the top with the scraper to flatten the dough slightly.
- Lightly flour a rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough until it's about 1 inch in thickness.
- Use a biscuit cutter to form biscuits. Round up any leftover dough, reforming it and cutting more biscuits.
- Place all biscuits on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Drop oven temperature to 400°F.
- Remove biscuits from the freezer, brush tops with unsalted melted butter and add a sprinkle with a small touch of sea salt.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
* PRO TIPS:
1. Place butter in freezer night before (cold butter is key to flakey texture)
2. Place empty mixing bowl in the fridge the night before you bake, the cold is your friend in this recipe.
5. Remember cold is good, grab sourdough starter discard and milk right from the fridge
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 177mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g