These soft and flaky American-style sourdough biscuits are the perfect easy side and a great way to use some sourdough discard! The discard adds a bit of tang and extra flavour while reducing kitchen waste – win win.
Sourdough Biscuits – A Great Way to Use Discard
Biscuits are one of our go-to easy weeknight sides. Just a few minutes to throw together, a (relatively) short baking time, and a big payoff, savoury biscuits are a good thing to have around.
Adding sourdough discard to biscuits seems like a natural extension of sourdough baking. In this recipe, we’re not trying to mask the tangy flavour at all, by adding chocolate or extra sugar, for example. So these do taste a bit different from regular biscuits, but in a good way!
There are a couple of tips and tricks to get the best, flakiest biscuits – see the Methods section for notes on that. And yes, you can make these vegan!
- All-purpose (white) flour
- Baking powder
- Cold butter
- Cold milk
- Discard from your sourdough starter
It’s important to keep your ingredients as cold as possible for biscuits. Half-frozen butter will work a charm if you’ve frozen a block – just take it out to thaw for 30-60 minutes before using.
Biscuits are very straightforward. You have to fold and roll a bit, but it’s not like puff pastry, where a bit of stray butter can ruin the batch. The key is to try to work as quickly as possible to prevent the butter from melting much, especially in warm weather.
Start by mixing the dry ingredients in a large bowl. The salt amount varies based on whether your butter is salted or unsalted, so keep that in mind (this is noted in the recipe card). If you’re using vegan butter, go for the full salt amount.
Add the cold cubed butter to the bowl and use your hands, working quickly, or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour. It should resemble large peas when it’s mixed (see photos below). You can also pulse in a food processor here if that’s how you usually make biscuits.
Mix the starter into the milk, then pour this into the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until shaggy – there will probably be some dry patches, but that’s okay. Tip it out onto a clean (cold, if possible) surface and use your hands to incorporate any of the dry bits into the dough.
Flatten the dough out to a rough square about 3cm (1-inch) thick, then cut into four roughly equal pieces. Stack these pieces on top of one another, then flour lightly and roll the dough out again to about 3cm (1-inch) thick in a rectangle.
Cut the dough into nine squares and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t worry if they’re a bit close together, they shouldn’t spread out, just up! Pop the sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or 45-60 in the refrigerator. This hardens the butter up again if it’s melted at all and makes a flakier, taller biscuit.
Bake the sourdough biscuits for 22-25 minutes, then cool on a rack for a few minutes before serving. Like any biscuit, they’re best served warm!
Whole wheat pastry flour can be subbed in for white if you’d like a more wholesome biscuit, or use light spelt flour if you prefer. Coconut sugar can be used in place of cane sugar. If you want a very brown biscuit, you can add an egg wash to the top only. Don’t wash the sides or it’ll prevent optimal rise while baking.
We haven’t tried making these gluten free. You might be able to use a good GF blend, or try almond flour biscuits instead.
You can always add to the biscuits, too! Try adding grated cheddar cheese, like our easy cheese tea biscuits, or go for crumbled goat cheese, chopped chives or other herbs, crumbled cooked bacon, whatever you like.
Can I Make These Vegan?
You sure can! Use a high quality vegan butter (we like Miyoko’s in North America, and Naturli in Europe and the UK) and non-dairy milk. A creamier milk will have a nicer result, but oat is okay too.
We haven’t tried them with coconut oil yet, but it should work. You could try basing the recipe off of these coconut oil biscuits and adding some discard in place of milk (you need less oil compared to butter).
More Great Sourdough Discard Recipes
If you’re looking to use some discard, we have a whole section on Baked dedicated to that! Here are our sourdough discard recipes. We’re adding all the time so check in every once in a while for more ideas. In the meantime, here are some good ones:
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
- baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Rolling Pin
- Wire rack
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ – 1 teaspoon sea salt, see note
- ¾ cup cold butter, cubed
- ¾ cup cold milk
- ½ cup sourdough discard
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined.
- Add the butter to the flour mixture and use your hands, working quickly, or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the mixture. It should resemble large peas when it’s ready.
- Mix the milk and discard together in a smaller container, then pour this mixture into the large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix until mostly incorporated. There might be dry bits in the dough, that's fine.
- Tip the dough out onto a clean, smooth surface. Use your hands, working quickly, to incorporate any dry pieces of dough and bring the dough together.
- Pat the dough into a rough rectangle about 3 cm (1-inch) thick. Cut this into four pieces, then stack those pieces on top of each other to form a tower.
- Lightly flour the work surface, then roll the tower out with a rolling pin to a rectangle about 3 cm (1-inch) thick. Cut into 9 squares, as equal as possible.
- Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have space in the freezer, they can go into the refrigerator for 45-60 minutes instead, covered.
- While the biscuits are chilling, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops and sides are golden.
- Cool the biscuits on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. These are best eaten the day of baking, but can be stored up to three days in a sealed container, or frozen up to one month.