With everything shut down, it’s honestly been kind of nice to be “stuck” at home the last few days.
I like being home anyway, so it’s not much of a challenge for me to stay on the farm all day. I’ve had a bit more time on my hands and I’ve been able to get my trusty sourdough starter – I call her Ethel – going, too.
If you don’t already know how to make sourdough – or you haven’t given it a try yet – you’ve got to! It’s an easy way to make bread at home, and all it takes is flour and water. That’s it. Nothing else. No yeast, no sugar.
In other words, it’s the perfect bread to make in these crazy times when it’s unclear what provisions are going to be available at the grocery store down the road.
I like to make a few loaves of sourdough each week, but the problem that I have is that I’m always left with a ton of discarded starter after.
If you aren’t already familiar with making sourdough, one of the basics of the process is that you have to “feed” the starter every day, discarding small amounts of the flour-water mixture so that the cultures have more room to feed themselves and become active.
I don’t like wasting anything, so I decided to whip up a batch of sourdough biscuits to make the most of the leftover discard.
And let me tell you, nothing was wasted, and the biscuits were some of the best I’ve ever made. Flaky, tangy, buttery, and absolutely fantastic. We prepared them with sausage and gravy for a complete meal, but were so full by the time dinner rolled around that we didn’t eat much. We had filled up on bites of biscuit beforehand!
Here’s how to make this quick and easy staple.
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A Few Recipe Notes
You don’t have to let the sourdough discard rise before using it, but I did when I made this recipe. By allowing it to sit for four hours at room temperature, I found that it developed a few more bubbles, a delicious sour, tangy flavor that really added to the flavor and lightness of the biscuits.
One batch makes a dozen biscuits – I doubled it because I had so much starter to use up. I had about two to three cups of discarded starter after just five days of feeding Ethel – you might have less or more depending on the frequency of your feedings and what stage of baking you are in.
You can use any kind of flour you want to feed your starter and make your biscuits. I’ve tried all kinds but prefer unbleached all-purpose flour. I’ve used whole wheat flour in the past because I wanted the bread to be healthier and I’ve also heard that it improves the tanginess of the bread. Unfortunately, it was just a bit too sour for my liking. But the choice is ultimately yours!
I used my KitchenAid stand mixer to blend my ingredients and worked perfectly. You could also use a hand mixer but I would not recommend mixing these by hand. The dough is incredibly dense and heavy, and your arm is apt to fall off in the process!
Finally, if your dough seems dry, don’t be afraid to add a bit of milk or buttermilk (here’s a hack on how to make your own buttermilk if you don’t have any in the refrigerator). The dryness is just cause starter can vary significantly in how wet or dry it is. You can also add a splash of milk, if you don’t like the taste of buttermilk.
- 1 cup of flour
- A heaping cup of sourdough discard
- 1 stick (½ cup) of cold butter
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix on low.
3. Add your wet ingredients, including the butter and starter. Continue to mix until you have a cohesive dough.
4. Shut your mixture off, then remove the dough. Knead for three minutes, working all ingredients together and opening up air pockets in the dough.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I just used my baking sheet and brushed the excess flour off afterward) and form the dough into balls.
You can also use a biscuit cutter if you want those nice, picture-perfect biscuits – but drop biscuits were perfectly fine for me so I skipped this step!
6. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between each one. They will spread out slightly as they bake.
7. Bake for 23-30 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown. I pulled my biscuits just before the tops started to darken, and they were cooked through and perfectly flaky.
8. Allow the biscuits to cool slightly before removing them from the tray, but make sure you serve warm!
These biscuits freeze well – you can either freeze the whole biscuits or you can freeze the dough to make biscuits on demand whenever you need to. They taste great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I recommend having some dough on hand at all times!
Have you ever cooked with discard before? Let me know your favorite recipe in the comments!
Want to learn more about classic cooking? Be sure to take a look at these other articles.
- How to Cut Up A Chicken For the Freezer
- How to Make Your Own Sourdough Bread
- 20 Resourceful Recipes to Use Up Leftover Pickles
- 6 Absolutely Tantalizing Radish Recipes You Need to Try Tonight
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