Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

Sourdough Biscuits

I found myself experimenting with sourdough starter yesterday – more specifically, the discard you typically toss when you feed your starter, to prevent it from turning into sourzilla and taking over your kitchen. Sourdough loaves are generally baked at a specific point in the feeding cycle, when the starter is at its most robust, but often when you’re discarding half, you’re not necessarily ready to bake bread, or it may be too weak and not have the leavening power to leaven a whole loaf. It still seems like a waste to throw it away though – and it has all the sour tang of sourdough, so I thought I’d stir some into a batch of biscuits. Not to rely on for their lift, but to add flavour and make use of the discard, which has the same consistency as buttermilk or cream. Verdict: I’m calling it a win.

Sourdough Starter

This is my go-to biscuit recipe, tweaked to use starter and buttermilk, which I happened to have in the fridge. Buttermilk makes for a sturdier biscuit, and to be honest I more often use milk, cream or thinned yogurt or sour cream that’s nearing its expiry date – I imagine you’d get a similar result with any of the above, in whichever biscuit (or scone) formula you’re comfortable with. Or scones! Sourdough would be great in a soft, rich scone-usually I crack an egg into the measuring cup and top it up with cream, and add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients. The dough is typically softer, so I don’t usually fold it, but pat into a 1-inch thick round, cutting it into wedges and brushing with milk/sprinkling with sugar before baking. If the dough is too soft to cut, drop it in big spoonfuls and call them drop scones.

Sourdough Biscuits

You could, of course, add fresh or frozen berries, grated cheese (!!!), chopped chocolate, dried fruit, or whatever you love in your biscuits or scones. Everything goes well with sourdough!

Sourdough Biscuits
Sourdough Biscuits

Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits


January 22, 2020


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled

1/2 cup sourdough starter discard

1/2 cup buttermilk


1Preheat the oven to 425F.

2In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slice or cut the butter into the flour mixture, or grate it on the coarse side of a grater. Toss to combine, or rub bigger pieces into the flour with your fingers—don’t rub it all the way in, you want some bigger pieces left.

3In a measuring cup, stir together your sourdough starter and buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients and stir just until the dough comes together. (It will be a bit shaggy.) Gather it all up, including all the rough bits in the bottom of the bowl, and either pat it out an inch thick on a parchment-lined baking sheet or, if you like, pat it out about half an inch thick and fold it over itself in thirds, as if you were folding a letter. (This will give you satisfying layers, but it’s truly not necessary.)

4Pat the dough about an inch thick and cut into wedges, squares or rounds with a sharp knife or cookie cutter. (If you’re using a cutter or glass rim, try not to twist it, as this could seal the cut sides a bit, keeping them from maximum lift.) Brush the tops with a but more buttermilk or cream (there should be enough in the bottom of the measuring cup) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and deep golden. Makes about 8 biscuits.


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5 comments on “Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. Kim Lucas
    March 31, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    I made the Naan bread tonight, it was so good and easy to make. I didn’t have yogurt so substituted sour cream!

  2. jamsithdsdd
    April 4, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Thjank you so much for this. I was in to this issue and tired to tinker around to check if its possible but couldnt get it done. Now that i have seen the way you did it, thanks guys

  3. Janet Hughes
    April 29, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Omg! Thanks Julie for answering my question, ‘What can I make with the sourdough discard?’ I went to your recipes, because they just always work, to find out how to make a sourdough starter last week, and just couldn’t get my head around tossing away those portions every time I fed it. Julie to the rescue! I am going to start up my sourdough tomorrow! First I have to finish making the cherry ice cream though, that’s what I came to your website looking for today… it’s to die for. ??

    • Julie
      May 3, 2020 at 9:16 pm

      Aw, yay!! Miss you guys!!

  4. Susan
    May 28, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Wow, thanks for the recipe! These were the best biscuits I have ever made. Beats the King Arthur sourdough biscuits by a long shot. After the milk wash I sprinkled the tops with course sugar, and they tasted really similar to scones!

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