Hot sourdough biscuits, with just a touch of currant-infused sweetness, tender and moist on the inside, golden brown and crispy on the outside: These little morsels say “More, please!”
Of course, currants aren’t the only additions we like in our biscuits. Sometimes we make them cheesy. Sometimes we make them savory with finely chopped onions and colorful bell peppers or chopped olives with onion and minced garlic.
Just as often, we love them plain, especially if we plan to serve them with gravy or creamed vegetables.
Terrific for using up excess sourdough starter and “discards”
I’m always looking for a new way to use the extra sourdough starter that accumulates when I feed my starter for a new loaf of bread.
If you’ve ever cultivated a wild yeast sourdough starter, very likely you, too, have hunted recipes that use those “discards.” Most recipes tell us to throw it out. No way I’m wasting all that flavorful, yeast-infused flour.
Enter another grandmother’s recipe using sourdough starter. The recipe was fine, but I wanted to punch it up a bit with whole wheat flour and a few other tweaks. What can I say? Grateful as I am to find it, I like my biscuits the way I like ’em.
So here’s a whole wheat version from this whole wheat grandmother.
Whole grains make breads a little healthier, giving old and young the added fiber and nutrients our bodies so keenly need. Plus, whole wheat is so much tastier with a subtle nutty flavor you just don’t get in highly refined flours.
Don’t tell my daughter and son-in-law, but on the day we made them together, my grandchildren ate these biscuits like cookies. I had to set the cooling rack high on a shelf to keep the darlings from grabbing and stuffing their little mouths. That’s after I caught them at it the first two times.
If you have a food processor, use it to make quick work of your biscuits
To save time, and my arthritic hands, I use a food processor to make my biscuits, which gets them from start to oven in ten minutes or less.
If you don’t have a food processor, fluff and combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl with a wire whisk, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives.
I’ve had my Cuisinart food processor–a real work horse–since 1991. It’s only now beginning to show signs of wear, but it still gets the job done. Definitely a wise investment. Now for the recipe.
YayYay’s Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter Biscuit Recipe
YayYay is the name my grandkids know me by, a holdover from when our second was learning to talk.
That’s a story for another day. They all love my biscuits, and this is how I make them with whole wheat sourdough starter discards–one full cup.
- 1-1/2 C Organic whole wheat flour
- 1/2 t Sea salt
- 1/2 t Baking soda
- 1 1/2 t Baking powder
- 1 t Ground cinnamon
- 2 t Orange zest
- 5 T Chilled organic unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/3 C Organic dried currants, cranberries or finely chopped onion and bell peppers, (Optional)
- 1 C Whole wheat sourdough starter, unfed
- 1 T Plain yogurt (can substitute whole milk)
- Preheat oven to 450º Fahrenheit (F).
- Line a small baking pan with baker’s parchment or a small Silpat liner.
- Place chopping blade in food processor and add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and orange zest. Run processor to mix thoroughly.
- Add cubed butter and pulse until largest pieces are the size of a large pea.
- Pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in optional ingredients, if using them, to distribute evenly.
- Make a well in the center and gently fold starter into flour mixture until all the flour moistens, but barely, and mixture forms into a ball. The mixture will be fairly wet.
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead ever so gently five or six times till smooth.
- Pat or roll, depending on how wet your dough is, into a round about 3/4 inch tall and cut with a 1-1/2″ floured biscuit cutter.
- Place biscuits on baking pan so they are touching.
- Brush lightly with yogurt or milk.
- Bake at 450º F for 10-12 minutes until biscuits are golden brown on top.
- Remove to wire rack and let rest 5 minutes, then lift from pan and serve piping hot.
Delicious as is, or serve with butter or potted cream and honey or jam.
Try this cheesy variation
Not only is cheese a tasty addition to these biscuits, but it gives a little extra protein for those mornings we’re grabbing biscuits and an apple or pear for an on-the-go breakfast.
For this variation, reduce salt to one-quarter teaspoon. Just before adding sourdough, mix in one-half cup minus one tablespoon grated cheese, such as sharp cheddar or artisan Gouda. After brushing tops with yogurt, sprinkle remaining tablespoon grated cheese over tops.
For the novice baker: Tips and step-by-step instructions with photos
When I was a young mom learning to bake, I poured over the photos in cookbooks, magazines and newspaper recipes, hoping to understand the recipe writer’s terms betters. I’d have been so grateful for the photo tutorials available online these days. So if you’re a novice baker, this section is for you. I welcome your questions in the comments section, should you have any.
Recipe instructions, step by step, in photos
Select any image to open the slide show and get numbered, step-by-step instructions with each illustration.
On this day, I made these biscuits with sweet-tart dried cranberries. Wonderful hot from the oven, just as good the next day warmed in the toaster oven (toast on medium setting for 1-2 minutes), and absolutely fine unheated as a take-along for our morning coffee break.
The “nutrition facts” here are approximate and based on lots of variables for which I have little or no control. I am not a dietician, and this nutrition data should not be taken as gospel truth.
If you have health or other issues requiring accurate nutrition reporting, please ask your doctor or a registered dietitian for help in computing the nutrition facts.
We have to watch our sugars and carbohydrate intake at our house, so I do what I can to estimate those.
Livestrong.com provides the nutrition calculator I used to obtain this data. They have the most foods of all the nutrition calculators I have tested over the years, and they make an effort to check the data for accuracy. Not all items in their database are verified, so I cannot guarantee that this nutrition data is correct.
Wild yeast whole wheat sourdough starter nutrition values
Neither Livestrong, the US Department of Agriculture’s nutrition site, nor any other I have searched includes data for whole wheat sourdough starter, let alone wild yeast whole wheat sourdough starter.
Because my wild yeast starter is fifty percent water and fifty percent whole wheat flour, by volume, I made a guess that the flour volume in one cup of starter would be one-half cup. The starter is full of yeasty bubbles, however, so the actual amount of flour in a cup of starter is probably much less.
Then there’s the yeast. A packet of dry yeast is usually around an ounce, or about one tablespoon, so I guessed there might be a tablespoon of yeast in the starter. Just a guess. See what I mean about variables? Those are just two examples!
Are you a sourdough baker? Share a link to your favorite way to use the discards
I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and if you’re a novice baker, I hope you find the step-by-step photographs helpful.
Are you a sourdough fan? If you have a favorite sourdough discards recipe, I’d love to see it. Share a link in the comments section below. (Hate to have to add this, but if you post online, you will understand why: Spam is NOT tolerated and will not be approved!)
Happy baking to you all!
Note: I first published this article on Squidoo on June 12, 2014. When Squidoo merged with HubPages in August 2014, I agreed to transfer the page to HubPages, and it moved there early in September. I decided to bring it home to The Sourdough Journals (TSJ) on November 21, 2014. I will be moving all my sourdough-related recipes from HubPages to TSJ in the coming weeks and months, as time permits.