Having a sourdough starter is like committing to a relationship: you must continuously cultivate it, or it dies. Which means that if you don’t have the time for a long, drawn-out bread project, you need a file of quick sourdough recipes on hand to keep the love alive until you can take your second honeymoon.
Sourdough biscuits is a recipe for one of those days when you only have enough time to feed the sourdough, and let it colonize itself on the counter overnight before you put it back into suspended animation in the refrigerator.
Sourdough biscuits are simple: you’re just substituting active sourdough starter for part of the buttermilk, so it’s no more trouble than making a regular pan of biscuits. The starter doesn’t serve as a leavener in this recipe, but it gives your biscuits the tart, boozy kick of sourdough that plays so well to the sweet counterpoint of jam or honey at breakfast, or with savory foods at suppertime.
A make-ahead tip: measure and pulse (or hand mix) all of the dry ingredients together with the shortening (or butter) into pea-sized pieces ahead of time; store it in a zip-lock bag or plastic bowl in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake, quickly mix in the buttermilk/sourdough mixture, and roll out the biscuits. The super-cold shortening helps the biscuits bake up extra light and fluffy.
makes about 12 ½-inch biscuits, depending on the thickness of the dough, and the diameter of the biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter or shortening, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup sourdough starter, brought to room temperature
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of a food processor (or into a large bowl, if you’re doing it by hand). Add the cold butter (or shortening) and pulse (or work with a pastry cutter) until the mixture forms pea-sized pieces. At this point, you may proceed with the recipe, or store the mixture in a zip-lock bag or plastic bowl in the freezer until you are ready to finish the biscuits.
- Whisk the buttermilk and sourdough starter together, then gently stir it into the flour mixture until large clumps form. If you’re doing this by hand, stir from the bottom of the bowl to make sure that you gather all of the flour into the dough. If you’re doing it in a food processor, add the liquid a little at a time, and mix it using only the quickest pulses.
- Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured board, knead 5 or 6 times until a cohesive dough forms, then pat the dough into an even ¾-inch thick round.
- Using a knife or floured biscuit cutter, cut the dough into shapes and lay on a parchment lined (or ungreased) baking sheet.
- Bake in a pre-heated 425F oven for about 12 minutes until golden.