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, and you can do a long ferment if you'd like.
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.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: whole wheat pastry flour can be subbed in for white if you'd like a more wholesome biscuit, or replace up to 50% of the plain flour with regular whole wheat flour.
- Discard: you can use active starter if you don't have discard in the fridge, but be sure to weigh it rather than using the cup measurements, because starter takes up more space than discard.
- Add-ins: try adding grated cheddar cheese, like our easy cheese tea biscuits, or go for crumbled goat cheese, chopped chives or other herbs, or crumbled cooked bacon.
- Make it vegan: replace the butter with a good stick or block-form vegan butter, and use a creamy non-dairy milk like soy.
How to Make Sourdough Biscuits
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.
Step 1: mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the cubed butter.
Step 2: use your hands or a pastry blender to cut in the butter until it looks like peas.
Step 3: mix the starter with the milk, then add to the dough. Pat it out to about 3cm (1 inch) thick and cut into four pieces.
Step 4: 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.
Step 5: Cut the dough into nine squares and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for about an hour.
Step 6: brush with extra milk, then bake until golden, about 25 minutes, and serve warm.
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.
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
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.
If you want to ferment your sourdough biscuits for a while, simply refrigerate the dough for up to 12 hours before shaping and cutting into biscuits. This will allow the starter to work its magic and will make for a stronger sourdough flavour and slightly easier to digest biscuits.
How to Store
Storage: keep the biscuits in a sealed container at room temperature for 2-3 days. They are best served the day they're made, and will dry out a bit over time.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled biscuits to an airtight container and freeze for up to two months. Thaw at room temperature, and reheat slightly before serving to refresh and soften them. It's best to freeze biscuits on the day they're made.
Why didn't my sourdough biscuits rise?
If your sourdough biscuits didn't rise, or didn't rise as much as you'd like, there are two likely culprits: either your baking powder was no longer active, or the ingredients were too warm. You need fresh baking powder and cold ingredients, just like with normal biscuits.
What can I use my sourdough discard for?
Add your discard to flatbreads or recipes that have other leavening agents, like baking powder or baking soda. Think pancakes, tortillas, muffins, and more.
Can I feed my sourdough without discarding?
Yes! This is called levain, and we have a whole post about it: here's how to make sourdough levain.
If you make this Sourdough Biscuit recipe or any other sourdough discard recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- 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 plus extra for brushing
- 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). Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk. 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.