wild yeast

Sourdough (Discard) Flakey Biscuits

14 April 2020

You’ll notice in the photos that there are five biscuits, while this recipe makes six. That is because I am someone who lacks the self-control to wait until after photos to snack and, frankly, I hope that never changes.

This recipe was born of necessity. Cultivating and maintaining sourdough starter is an absolute joy. Throwing out half of it during every feed? Less so. I started saving my discard starter and using it in recipes for flavor, more than for its ‘spring’. This recipe is a melding of a few biscuit recipes I truly enjoy, but substitutes discard sourdough starter for the acidity you would typically get from buttermilk.

Having discard starter sitting in the refrigerator means that I’m always 30 minutes away from these beauties. Which also means that, if patterns hold true, my waking up about an hour before the rest of my home gives me a quiet moment of baking and solitude before he stumbles in, sees what I’ve made and excitedly whispers, “biscuits”.

 

Sourdough (Discard) Flakey Biscuits

Gather [materials]:

  • 1 mixing bowl
  • baking sheet

Gather [ingredients]:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour (+ bench flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt (for savory biscuits, increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tsp sugar (for savory biscuits, substitute 1/2 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 1/2 c butter (cold, unsalted)
  • 1 c sourdough starter (unfed, discard)
  • buttermilk or whole milk

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425° and prepare a baking sheet (either lined with parchment or greased).

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar (or black pepper) until well incorporated. Breaking the butter with a fork, gently incorporate it until mixture is crumbly and not quite ‘dough-like’.

Tossing mixture with a fork, drizzle in starter and continue to mix. Add a drizzle of buttermilk or whole milk if dough is too dry.

Lightly knead dough in the bowl, careful not to over-work, until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a 1″-thick square. Using a chef’s knife or bench scraper, cut the dough in half lengthwise and crosswise so you have four evenly sized squares. Stack the squares, placing scraps of dough in between layers, to form a tower, and then compress, laminating the dough. Pat into a 1″-thick rectangle and cut into six pieces using a 2×3 grid.

Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.

Freeze biscuits for 10-15 minutes if the dough has come to room temperature. If your discard was stored in the refrigerator, keeping the dough cold, skip this step.

Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter and place in oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until biscuit tops are golden brown and crispy to the touch. Optional: When biscuits are done, turn off oven and, with the door held ajar by a wooden spoon, leave the biscuits in oven for an additional 10 minutes to fully dry out.

Sourdough (Discard) Flakey Biscuits

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl (4 QT)
  • Baking sheet

Ingredients

  • 1 c all-purpose flour + bench flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 c butter cold, unsalted
  • 1 c sourdough starter unfed, discard
  • buttermilk or whole milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425° and prepare a baking sheet (either lined with parchment or greased).
  • Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar (or black pepper) until well incorporated. Breaking the butter with a fork, gently incorporate it until mixture is crumbly and not quite 'dough-like'.
  • Tossing mixture with a fork, drizzle in starter and continue to mix. Add a drizzle of buttermilk or whole milk if dough is too dry.
  • Lightly knead dough in the bowl, careful not to over-work, until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a 1"-thick square. Using a chef's knife or bench scraper, cut the dough in half lengthwise and crosswise so you have four evenly sized squares. Stack the squares, placing scraps of dough in between layers, to form a tower, and then compress, laminating the dough. Pat into a 1"-thick rectangle and cut into six pieces using a 2x3 grid.
  • Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.
  • Freeze biscuits for 10-15 minutes if the dough has come to room temperature. If your discard was stored in the refrigerator, keeping the dough cold, skip this step.
  • Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter and place in oven.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until biscuit tops are golden brown and crispy to the touch. Optional: When biscuits are done, turn off oven and, with the door held ajar by a wooden spoon, leave the biscuits in oven for an additional 10 minutes to fully dry out.

Notes

For savory biscuits, substitute 1/2 teaspoon black pepper for sugar and increase salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

 

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