Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sourdough (Discard) Biscuits

I feed my sourdough starter once a week on Sundays. Every Sunday. That means I spend the latter part of the week fixated on what I might make over the weekend with the discards. After all, you have to discard part of your starter to feed it with new flour and water--or else you have an ever-expanding container of bubbling goop.

Admittedly, I don't do this every weekend. I'm only one person, after all. So if I'm not going to bake and I can't share the discards with anyone, yeah, I will toss some.

Last weekend it was cool and breezy so I thought I'd take advantage of that and bake. I scanned the web for ideas before settling on biscuits. Buttery sourdough biscuits.

Now some of my favorite biscuits are made by Matt Gordon of Urban Solace. And I'm so glad he taught me how to make his. They are divine. The biscuits I made substitute the buttermilk or cream in his with the discarded starter. That's the liquid.

This recipe isn't original to me. I found it on the King Arthur Flour website. If you love to bake and haven't been on it you should visit. Yeah, they sell great products but the site has a very rich section filled with recipes. What a resource!

One of the things you'll notice if you go to the recipe on their site is that it has measuring options: volume, ounces, or grams. Usually I like to go with ounces or grams--in other words weigh ingredients instead of measuring them. It tends to be more accurate. But when I did that with this recipe I found there wasn't enough starter because it was so heavy. So I switched to volume and that made a difference.

You can add herbs, chives, or cheese to these biscuits. I made them plain and they were perfectly flavorful. The other nice thing about biscuits is that they're freezable. I ate a couple and packaged the rest up for the freezer. Something to look forward to the next time I make a chili or stew.

Buttery Sourdough Sandwich Biscuits
Yield: 6 large (3-inch) biscuits
(printable recipe)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 cup sourdough starter, unfed/discard*

Preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the upper third. Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.

Add the starter, mixing gently until the dough is cohesive.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a piece of parchment works well), and gently pat it into a 1"-thick round.

Use a sharp 2 3/8" biscuit cutter to cut rounds, cutting them as close to one another as possible. Pat any scraps together, and cut additional biscuits.

Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2" between them; they'll spread as they bake.

Bake the biscuits in the upper third of your oven for 20 to 23 minutes, until they're golden brown.

Remove the biscuits from the oven, and serve warm. Or cool completely, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage.

*Sourdough starters can vary in how liquid they are. If your biscuit dough seems very dry, dribble in a bit of milk or buttermilk until it comes together.

Note: You can make smaller biscuits. Just remember they won't need as much time in the oven.

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