Happy New Year, everyone. We made it to 2022.
Whereas 2020 seemed to drag on forever, I feel like 2021 flew by. I have no idea where all that time went to, but here we are. I hope that all of you had a great finish to the holiday season and are having a great start to the new year.
Last year, I kicked off 2021 on the blog with a biscuits recipe, and as it would turn out, that’s how we’re bringing in 2022 as well. That’s pretty on brand for me.
Maybe I’ll even just go ahead and make it a running tradition from here on out.
Recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to bake with sourdough. It’s been on my baking Bucket List for I don’t know how long, and I’m somewhat ashamed of myself that I’m just now getting around to it, as sourdough is one of my favorite ways to enjoy carbs.
It’s definitely something that takes time and practice. I’d heard before going into this that a sourdough starter is somewhat like a baker’s ‘pet,’ and I’m finding out that that’s true.
You have to keep it stored in a specific container, at a specific temperature and give it specific amounts of ‘food’ at specific times in order to help it grow healthy. It’s a very involved process. This is my first pet ever, so I’m choosing to take all this very seriously, to the point where I even named my starter. It’s a He and his name is Donatello (No, not after the sculptor. After the turtle.)
Me and Donatello are still figuring out this whole sourdough business, but until we do, in the meanwhile, I’ve had quite a lot of discard on my hands at the end of every day. See, a starter is just composed of flour and water and ferment that gets produced from that flour and water paste. Every time you ‘feed’ a starter, you have to take out the majority of the starter and, well…’discard’ of it. But if you’re like me and throwing away food or even baking ingredients is difficult for you, then today’s recipe is a really perfect one.
Rather than just pouring off the discard into a trash can, you can actually store leftover discard in the refrigerator for a select period of time for occasions such as these and add it to Blank Canvas recipes to give them added ‘sourdough’ flavor. As my favorite Blank Canvas recipe is the Biscuit, I knew I had to try this.
The process for sourdough discard biscuits really isn’t that different from my process of making any other. The only difference here is that rather than sour cream or buttermilk, you rely entirely on the sourdough discard for the ‘wet’ ingredient that holds the dough together.
We really liked these. The sourdough flavor itself will probably depend upon on how long you’ve been keeping the discard in the fridge, but paired with the dried herbs, it’s a really great biscuit.
Wish me and Donatello luck on our sourdough adventures!
Sourdough Discard Biscuits
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of your choice of dried herbs (like rosemary, thyme, basil or a combination of these)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
- 3-4 cups sourdough starter*
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Stir together with a fork.
Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Stir together with a fork to coat with flour after each addition of about 1/3 to 1/2 stick. This will prevent butter from clumping. Mixture should look like floury pieces of butter.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the sourdough starter. (Note: The amount you add here is going to vary according to the time of year and your location. You may need to use all of it, you may not. Start with 1/2 cup and stir the dough together with the fork, just until it begins to come together in large clumps. Add more flour if you need to, just enough to make it hold together.)
Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or a clean smooth countertop with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)
Use a bench scraper or a large sharp knife to divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a square. Stack one of the halves on top of the other and use a rolling pin to roll it together into one mass. Repeat this process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the biscuits will bake flaky).
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 475°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour and unwrap the biscuit dough out onto it. Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Use a square cookie cutter, or a knife to cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.
Remove the cut biscuits to the baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, placing them rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.
Spray the tops of the biscuits with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter and place in oven.
Once you’ve placed the biscuits into the oven, lower the temperature to 425F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan and bake for additional 8-10 minutes, or until the tops and the bottoms of the biscuits are golden brown. (You may need to cover them with foil to keep from browning too fast. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.)
Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before serving.