“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sourdough baker of any regularity must be in want of recipes to use sourdough discard.” I’m pretty sure Jane Austen said this, right? Or, something like that. Either way, when you bake a lot of sourdough it means that you have a lot of extra starter. I have been experimenting for a while now with different recipes (like these cookies and these incredible tortillas) to use it up. Since I am a complete and utter fool for anything breakfast related, I had to come up with a biscuit recipe, and I finally have! These fluffy sourdough discard biscuits are a great way to use up leftover starter in a way that everybody loves. Name me a person that doesn’t love biscuits. Bet you can’t!
In my research, I have learned that there is a certain, um, shall we say culture surrounding biscuits. There are those that say using butter is the only way, while others will go to their graves saying that biscuits can only be made with vegetable shortening. Use a glass, use a cookie cutter, the biscuits need to touch on the baking tray. No, wait, they must never touch on the baking tray! All of the conflicting tips and tricks are enough to make a person dizzy!
I hear biscuits are a great cure for that, actually. And if you are a sourdough baker, you probably have all of these ingredients in your cabinet right now:
- Leftover sourdough starter
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Sugar (just a little)
- Kosher salt
- Vegan butter
- Nondairy milk (I always prefer soymilk)
So, what is the key to delicious biscuits?
The tips I have are the same as many general tips you will find when you search for the “proper biscuit baking technique” online. They may vary from other resources you might read, but these are what have worked for me.
- Make sure your ingredients and tools are COLD. Biscuits gain their fluffy texture from the fact that the butter is mixed into the dough while it is still cold and solid. If it melts and becomes too soft, the butter will mix into the dough instead of generating steam during baking that leads to light and airy biscuits. How can we help prevent this? Make sure that all of your ingredients and tools stay cool so your butter stays chilled as you work it into the dry ingredients. Chill your mixing bowl, rolling pin, and any other tools you will in the fridge or freezer for at least ten minutes before using.
- Do not overmix your ingredients. You want your dry and wet ingredients to be just combined, not thoroughly mixed! This can lead to dense and objectively subpar biscuits. No good, my friends.
- Roll out your dough to at least 1-inch thick. In my zealous dough rolling, I often roll out my biscuit dough too thin. When I do that, even a dramatic rise can yield thin biscuits (see picture above!) For fluffy biscuits, start with a slightly thicker dough and don’t roll it out thinner than an inch.
Baking Sourdough Discard Biscuits
Don’t let all of the “chill all of your ingredients and tools first!” business turn you off from attempting this recipe. I promise, it really is simple!
Start with your cold ingredients. Mix all of the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
Cut in the vegan butter. You can work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers, but you need to work quickly so the heat from your hands does not melt the butter. Alternatively, you can use a pastry blender or a pair of (chilled) forks. Work the butter in until the mixture appears grainy.
Add in your nondairy milk a tablespoon at a time, mixing only until the dough just comes together. Do NOT over mix your ingredients! You might not need all of the milk to ring the dough together.
Roll out your dough onto a flour surface, at least 1-inch thick.
Next, you using a 3″ cookie cutter or drinking glass (some bakers even use a small-mouthed mason jar), cut your dough into biscuits. I came across the blog Love and Olive Oil during my biscuit research, and it provides an excellent tip for ensuring that you do not reduce fluffiness potential while cutting the dough:
“…when you’re cutting out your biscuits, be sure you don’t twist the cutter! Twisting will actually ‘seal’ the layers of flour and butter and your biscuits will not rise quite so dramatically.”Love and Olive Oil
Once cut, transfer your biscuits to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching slightly; this will encourage them to bake upwards and get tall as opposed to spreading wide.
Bake at 425 degrees for fifteen minutes, or until the biscuit tops have turned golden brown and enticing.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and then eat every single biscuit immediately while they are still warm, possibly with jam. Or maybe gravy. Or just on their own.
I have no self control and am a complete monster. But these are really that good!
Vegan Sourdough Discard Biscuits
- Large baking sheet
- Silicone baking mat or parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- large mixing bowl
- Pastry blender (or large fork)
- 130 grams nondairy milk cold
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 240 grams (~2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 12 grams (~2 teaspoons) white cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 115 grams (~½ cup or 1 stick) vegan butter chilled
- 75 grams sourdough starter discard, pulled directly from the refrigerator
- Mix non-dairy milk and lemon juice in a small cup and set aside to create vegan buttermilk.
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
- Cut the chilled butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes grainy in appearance.
- Once the butter has been fully cut into the dry ingredients, add the sourdough starter to the mixture and mix gently, until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. The mixture will come together, but still, be slightly dry.
- Add in the non-dairy milk one tablespoon at a time, mixing VERY gently until the biscuit dough just comes together. Overmixing will lead to tough, dense biscuits!
- Generously flour your work surface and roll out the dough until it is 1-inch thick (NO THINNER). Using a 3" biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits, pressing straight down into the dough with the cutter without twisting. Continue until you have cut 6-7 biscuits. FOr an extra biscuit, you can arrange the scraps into a biscuit.
- Place all the biscuits onto a parchment-lined baking sheet so that the biscuits are slightly toughing. If desired, brush the biscuit tops with extra soymilk or melted vegan butter.
- Bake at 400° for 15 minutes until the biscuit tops are golden brown.