Flaky 5 Ingredient Sourdough Discard Biscuits

Last updated: March 4, 2022
4.94 from 29 votes
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These delicious sourdough discard biscuits are extra flaky, buttery, and you need just 5 ingredients to make them! You can literally peel apart the layers, and savor every bite. This recipe is a great way to use up sourdough discard.

Two biscuits stacked on a blue plate, with one biscuit leaning up against the stack of two.

These Sourdough Discard Biscuits are super flaky, super tall, and you can literally peel apart the layers of buttery goodness! Just the way I like them, and I hope you do too.

With just 5 ingredients, and 40 minutes of time, you can have warm, homemade biscuits on your plate.

holding biscuit in hand, pulling layers apart, plate in top left of photo with another biscuit

Flaky, flavorful (the sourdough tang is amazing!), and so easy. I promise biscuit making isn’t as intimidating as it seems.

In fact, I didn’t grow up making or eating biscuits. You’d have been more likely to find a loaf of rye bread on our tables. Biscuits just aren’t as popular here in the Midwest as they are in the South. And really, that’s a mystery to me…. because they’re the best version of carbs in all their tender, buttery glory.

I’ve been testing a sourdough discard version for the last six months, trying to get the discard proportion right, the golden color, and a multitude of flaky layers — with ease. Without a lot of ingredients, without a lot of time.

And THESE sourdough discard biscuits are all of that! I love serving them alongside this Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad or this Creamy Potato Soup.

ingredients for sourdough discard biscuits laid out on a white surface, has a bowl of flour in the middle with grated cheese and butter to its side

Ingredients for Sourdough Starter Biscuits

  • sourdough discard
  • all-purpose flour
  • butter
  • egg
  • baking powder
  • cheese (optional but delicious! I used Emmi Kaltbach Le Crémeux, a creamy, semi-soft cheese that has loads of flavor.)
bowl of flour, grated butter, grated cheese in prep for making biscuits.

How to Make Sourdough Discard Biscuits

To make tall, extra flaky biscuits, we’re going to use a high proportion of butter (my favorite is Vermont Creamy cultured butter), an egg, and baking powder to help them rise to lofty heights.

  1. Whisk together sourdough discard and egg.
  2. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Next, grate your very cold (or frozen) butter and cheese. Use your hands to lightly rub the butter into the flour mixture, so that the flour starts sticking to the butter. Add cheese and toss.
  4. Pour in discard mixture and stir with spatula to incorporate. You’ll still have some dry bits.
  5. Place shaggy dough on counter, and knead for 10 seconds to bring it together. Pat dough to about a 1/2 inch thick. With a bench scraper fold 1/3 of the dough over, then fold over the other 1/3 like a business letter. Then pat it out to about 3/4 inch thick, so layers stick together.
  6. Cut out, and bake! You can watch THIS VIDEO to see the whole process.
sourdough discard biscuit dough
cutting out biscuits with a square biscuit cutter

Tips for Making Tall and Flaky Biscuits

  1. The most important rule for super flaky biscuits – keep everything super cold! This is why you’ll use frozen butter and sourdough discard straight from the refrigerator. When butter gets hit by unexpected heat from the oven, it basically bursts and shoots the layers upward, creating those layers and the epic height!
  2. Don’t work the dough too much, especially with your hands. The heat from your hands will start to melt the butter.
  3. Dip your biscuit cutter in flour for each biscuit you cut. Press straight down, and do not twist as you remove the biscuit cutter. If you twist, you’ll seal the biscuit edges and you won’t get layers! They also won’t rise as well. 
  4. Put your biscuits in the freezer while the oven heats up to make sure everything stays really cold.
sourdough biscuits stacked on one another
a biscuit cut open with small bowl of butter to its right

Why do you use an egg in your biscuit dough?

Food 52 did some research and found that using an egg in biscuits help give them an even better rise – both because of its leaving power and also the proteins in an egg that give structure. Using an egg in your biscuit dough also produces a more golden color.

How long is sourdough discard good for?

You can keep sourdough discard in your refrigerator for up to 10 days. It might accumulate a little liquid on the top, which is called hooch, simply meaning alcohol that is the byproduct of fermentation. You can simple pour the liquid off into garbage and use the discard.

More Sourdough Discard Recipes:

sourdough discard biscuits stacked on a blue plate

Flaky 5 Ingredient Sourdough Discard Biscuits

Tall, flaky sourdough discard biscuits that only require 5 ingredients! You'll use frozen butter and an egg to ensure lofty height. And the slight tang from the sourdough discard adds wonderful flavor.
4.94 from 29 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :25 minutes
Additional Time :10 minutes
Total Time :45 minutes
Yield: 5 biscuits
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 195 grams sourdough starter discard
  • 1 large egg
  • 170 grams all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 115 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted, frozen butter
  • 2 ounces shredded cheese (optional)

Instructions

  • Whisk together starter and egg.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  • Use the large hole side of a grater to grate the butter. Make sure to scrape and use all the butter from the inside of the grater when you are done. Toss the butter into the flour, and rub gently to get the flour to stick to some of the butter. Toss in cheese if using.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, and pour in starter mixture. Stir with a spatula to combine, until only a few dry spots remain. The dough will be very shaggy.
  • WATCH THIS VIDEO TO SEE HOW TO DO THIS STEP. Place dough on a counter and knead for 10 seconds to bring it together. You do not want to overwork the dough, but it should roughly stick together. Roll dough into a 1/4 inch piece of dough. Fold 1/3 of the dough up and over to the middle of the dough (using bench scraper if needed), then do fold the other 1/3 dough up and over, to create what is like an envelope fold. Fold up the short edges to make a square. (This folding is too make all the layers! It doesn’t have to be perfect.) Roll square out to 3/4 inch of thick. It is better for them thicker than too thin.
  • Dip biscuit cutter in flour and push straight down and pull straight back out. Do not twist, or you will seal the edges and not have flaky layers. With the remaining dough scraps push and gently knead back together and cut one or two more biscuits.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place biscuits in freezer while oven preheats to 450 degrees F.
  • When oven is ready, sprinkle a little cheese on top of biscuits if you are using. Bake on the middle rack, for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Enjoy the day you bake them.

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February 15, 2021

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32 comments

  1. Hey There! If you made a batch and froze them, can you bake them straight from frozen or should they thaw first?

    • That’s a good question! I haven’t tested it this way. But what I would do is letting them sit on counter as the oven preheats. They may take a few more minutes to bake.

  2. 5 stars
    The BEST recipe I ever did make! We doubled it and I’m so grateful. I was nervous the butter would melt in process but all was well and they rose beautifully. I also didn’t have the freezer space to freeze while preheating so I just preheated it before I made the recipe and put them in immediately after. This recipe was everything and more and definitely the best biscuit there is! Taste is wonderful and the whole family was asking for more!

  3. 5 stars
    I made these amazing, easy, delicious biscuits for the first time this morning. Perfection!!!

  4. 5 stars
    These are incredible. Been trying to find a good sourdough biscuit recipe. Thank you so much. Absolutely perfect.

  5. 5 stars
    These are the most flaky & moist layered biscuits I have ever eaten. Everyone loved them. I will double the batch next time. It’s a great use for starter discard, too. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    These have become a Sunday morning staple at my house. They are my wife’s favorite breakfast. Absolutely delicious.

  7. 5 stars
    These are the best biscuits I’ve ever made. And they turn out great every time. My husband begs for them every weekend

  8. 5 stars
    Just made these last night, I have not made biscuits before and these turned out beautifully fluffy and the layers were delicious. Thank you for the receipt and all he research that you do to make this easy for bakers like me.

  9. 5 stars
    I made these biscuits for Christmas breakfast this morning. This was my first try at biscuits and I must say that this recipe is awesome! I prepared them yesterday, stored them in the refrigerator until this morning, then put them right into the oven. I baked a few and put the remainder of my batch in the freezer for next time. They came out light and flaky as pictured. I am really proud of myself. Thank you for a great way to use my starter discard.

  10. 5 stars
    Best sourdough discard biscuit recipe. We love them. Whenever I’m getting a lot of discard built up I make a batch and pop them in the freezer and pull them out as we need them. You really need to handle the dough gently so you get a good rise, but don’t throw away those scraps. Shape them into a biscuit and bake as usual. You won’t get the flaky rise, but when they are done baking while still warm slightly crumble the biscuits and toss with a cinnamon/sugar mixture. So yummy!

    • 5 stars
      These biscuits are the best I have ever made! They are so flaky and delicious! And their is a crunch on the outside that takes them over the top. My husband can’t decide if he likes these biscuits or the sourdough bread the best.

  11. 5 stars
    Ok, I made the recipe and these biscuits are scrumptious. They are perfectly flaky, moist and tender. Be sure to watch the video for the technique. You will not be disappointed!

  12. 5 stars
    Just delicious! My kids love them and I didn’t use cheese (didn’t have in hand). The biscuits turn flaky, buttery, and delicious 🤤 thanks for such an easy and awesome recipe Amanda.

    • Hi! Make the recipe as follows, except once you cut the biscuits out, rather than putting in freezer place them in a closed container, not touching. Bake straight from fridge the next day, do not let them come to room temp before baking. It works greats!

  13. 5 stars
    New to sourdough, new to discard recipes. These biscuits really go boingggg in the oven after chilling! Thanks for the recipe.