My sourdough starter is driving me nuts. It sits in the back of my fridge, all docile and unassuming, I feed it every few weeks, and it seems happy enough. But when I try to bake with it...it suddenly turns into a temperamental, unpredictable mess, like a petulant 7-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. Sometimes it will foam up and overflow out of the bowl within a few hours, sometimes...nothing. Sometimes the bread I make from it will be perfectly edible but taste nothing like sourdough, while sometimes it becomes mouth-puckeringly sour. But it's hearty, though, I will give it that. I left it unfed for two months this summer, and I thought it was dead for sure. But lo and behold, there was still a glimmer of life, and now it's up to its old tricks.
One of the problems with a starter is that it needs to be fed every so often (2 weeks in my case, but some people feed theirs more often), and this feeding leaves a certain amount of excess starter, which can either be used in baking or discarded. As much as I like sourdough bread, I don't have the time (or masochistic personality) to bake it that often, and so I am more often than not left with a cup of starter that I eventually, regretfully, throw in the trash.
This recipe is a great way to use that extra cup of starter. The biscuits turned out light and fluffy, with a pleasant yeasty taste. Mine were in no way sour, although that could just be my unpredictable starter up to its old tricks. And they stay soft and tender for longer than regular biscuits- I accidentally left them sitting out overnight, and they were still surprisingly soft and edible in the morning.
Makes 8-12 biscuits.
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup refreshed sourdough starter ***
1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, soda, and baking powder.
3. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse meal and bits of butter are no larger than peas.
4. Stir in starter. Do not overmix- stir only until mixture comes together. It will still look a little dry.
5. Dump mixture onto floured board and knead a few times until dough forms a cohesive mass. Roll dough about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, then cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet. Gather extra dough into ball, then repeat rolling and cutting.
6. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Cool on rack.
***How much starter you will need depends on the consistency of your own starter- mine is very liquidy, so if yours is a bit thicker, you may need a little more to get a workable dough.