Introduction: Foolproof Sourdough Biscuits
These delicious sourdough biscuits are my go-to recipe when company is coming. You can make them in about 15 minutes, and after another 15 minutes in the oven, they are ready to serve!
A bit about sourdough:
In the Yukon, a "Sourdough" refers to someone who is considered a real Yukoner, because back in 1898 when the Yukon gold rush was on and people were travelling over mountain trails to reach the gold fields, the only way to have fresh bread was to use a sourdough starter and flour. Sourdough has a distinctive flavour which enhances breads, biscuits, pancakes and baked goods.
However, using only sourdough as your leavening agent can be pretty challenging, as it takes a lot of experience to get your dough to rise properly, since the leavening power will vary depending on the state of your sourdough. It's a science as well as an art, as documented in some pretty impressive but intimidating instructables.
If you want the great taste of sourdough in an easy, foolproof recipe, you've come to the right place. Read on!
Step 1: Get Your Sourdough Ready
I am lucky to have a sourdough starter which dates back to the 1890's, when it was carried over the Chilkoot trail by gold seekers and kept alive by family and friends ever since. If you don't have a sourdough starter, you can order one from Carl's friends, or make your own by harvesting wild yeasts in the air, following one of several good instructables on this site such as this one.
Once you have a good sourdough starter, you maintain it by feeding it equal parts of water and flour, stirring, and keeping it at room temperature for a few hours, then storing it in the fridge until you need it. To "grow" your sourdough to have enough for this recipe, add equal parts flour and water to your starter and ideally, leave it out overnight, so that the sourdough can spread throughout. It should have small bubbles at the top and a slightly sour but pleasant smell. I store my sourdough in a glass mason jar, covered (i.e. with the lid on loosely so gases can escape). Sourdough keeps in the fridge for a month or longer without use, but it's best if you can use it and feed it on a regular basis.
The day before or a few hours before making these biscuits, I take my sourdough starter out of the fridge, add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to the existing sourdough, stir, and let it sit, covered, at room temperature.
Step 2: Assemble Ingredients
To make a dozen sourdough biscuits, you will need:
- 2 c. all-purpose flour (you can use up to 1 cup of whole wheat instead of just all-purpose flour)
- 2 tsp. baking powder (this is the secret leavening agent)
- ½ tsp. baking soda (second secret leavening agent)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1/3 c. oil
- ½ c. milk
- 1 c. sourdough (remember not to use all your sourdough - save some as the starter for your next sourdough recipe!)
- 2 tbsp. sugar or coconut sugar
Step 3: Mix Ingredients Together
- Sift the dry ingredients together and stir.
- Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl or in a large measuring cup.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together.
Step 4: Knead and Roll Out Dough
Sprinkle flour on your countertop or on a wooden board.
Rub some flour on your hands to coat them.
Turn out your dough onto the floured countertop and knead the dough about 20 times. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of flour on top and work it in as you knead it. The dough should feel elastic, and not stick to your hands or to the counter.
Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin - it should be about 1/2" thick.
Step 5: Cut Out Biscuits and Bake
Use a drinking glass or other item to cut circles (biscuits) out of your rolled out dough. Take the leftover dough from the circle cutouts, and roll it out again. Your last biscuit can be a free form biscuit for the last bits of dough.
Place the circles of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F. for 12 - 15 minutes until slightly browned on top.
Step 6: Remove From Oven and Enjoy!
Serve these foolproof sourdough biscuits as dinner rolls at a dinner party, or as a breakfast or brunch treat with butter and jam. Leftovers (if you have any) freeze well.
They are absolutely delicious! No one needs to know how easy they were to make!
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