Why make Sourdough Biscuits?
Well, why not!? Yes, you do need sourdough starter to make these sourdough biscuits, but if you do keep a starter, you’re always looking for ways to use up the discard (the portion of the starter that you have to dispose of every time you feed the starter). You can add that starter to almost any baked good (see here to learn how), but sourdough biscuits (along with sourdough pancakes) are one of my favorite ways to use it up. The biscuits are tender and moist and have a great flavor with a slight tang from the sourdough.
What you need for Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits
As with any biscuit recipe, you don’t need many ingredients for sourdough biscuits. You need some all purpose flour (use what you have, but if you’re looking for the softest biscuit, try a soft winter wheat), some baking powder, baking soda, butter, buttermilk and of course, your sourdough starter.
Cutting in the Butter
Cutting in the butter is the first step in making these biscuits. The key tip here is to make sure your butter is COLD. You can cut the cold butter into cubes and then pinch it with your fingers, until the knobs of butter are about the size of a pea, or you can lightly freeze the butter and grate it into the dry ingredients. Cutting in the butter is an important step because it’s the layers of butter that help the biscuits rise as the water evaporates out of the butter. Your goal is to leave the butter in pieces rather than blending it into the flour, and keeping the butter cold helps you do that.
The Folding Step
Once you’ve combined the buttermilk and starter and then stirred that mixture into the dry ingredients, it’s time to just fold the dough over on itself. Follow the images above if you’re a visual learner. Otherwise, just flatten the dough out with your hands into a rectangle. Fold that rectangle like a letter, give it a 90º turn, flatten it out and fold it like a letter again. Do this one more time and then flatten the dough into a rectangle that is about ½-inch thick.
How to Cut Biscuits
If you want the highest rising biscuits, use a sharp metal circle cutter to cut the biscuits out of the dough, but DON’T TWIST THE CUTTER! It is instinct to twist the cutter to make sure you’ve cut all the way through the dough, but don’t. Just push down and then lift up. If you twist the cutter, you help to seal the edges of the biscuit to itself and the biscuits can’t rise.
Brush with more Butter
Yes, butter carries a lot of the flavor of these sourdough biscuits and there’s plenty of butter inside, but it’s nice to brush a little melted butter on top right after the biscuits come out of the oven. It gives a tender finish to a tender biscuit and it’s just delicious.
What to Serve with Sourdough Biscuits
These biscuits are good enough to eat on their own – in fact, it’s very hard to resist not eating them on their own right away – but they are also delicious next to any number of dinners. I love these biscuits with some chicken stew or beef stew, some buttermilk fried chicken or a bowl of chili. No matter what you serve them with, they are best served warm straight out of the oven.