Like the rest of America, I’m spending my time indoors making a sourdough starter. Streusel has been talking about hers for years, and I did try once, but gave up on it pretty quickly; apparently I found it overwhelming to stir flour and water twice a day (am currently rolling my eyes at myself). But now that my commute involves putting my laptop on the dining room table, I have a bit of extra time for stirring.
I read a bunch of recipes for starter, including this one from NY Times Cooking (a site I usually love!). Maybe it’s amazing – but who the hell has pineapple juice sitting around? Maybe in another time when I could pop out to the store, but not these days. So, I went with the KAF recipe and appreciated this article. It had just enough details – but not too many! – and that helped me.
One thing I learned: after the first 24 hours, the starter looks pretty gross. It’s brown and watery, which means that it’s hungry *not* that it’s gone bad (embarrassing note: I threw away my first starter because I though the brown wateriness was bad).
Now that I’m back on track, as I wait for my starter to ripen, I’ve been baking with the discard. In these days of “use what you have on hand,” it’s been fun to bake something new, and I also like that I’m not just waste perfectly good ingredients (though admittedly I’ve done a bit of that too – there *is* a lot of excess starter!).
Buttery Sourdough Biscuits were definitely made for weekends – not because they’re hard (quite the opposite!) but because they taste luxurious and decadent and make you feel like you’re easing your way into the weekend. And because I’m a baking fiend these days, I halved the recipe – my freezer is plenty full.
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, grated on cheese grater
½ cup sourdough starter, unfed/discard
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling on top (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
Add the starter, mixing gently until the dough is cohesive.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a 1″-thick rectangle.
Use a sharp biscuit cutter, cut two rounds, cutting them as close to one another as possible. Gently push and pat the scraps into another rectangle, and cut 1-2 more biscuits (it’ll obviously depend on the size of your cutter as to how many biscuits you’ll make).
Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2″ between them; they’ll spread as they bake. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
Bake the biscuits in the upper third of your oven for 15-20 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
Remove the biscuits from the oven, and serve warm. Or cool completely, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage.
Strudel and Streusel are two friends living in different cities, sharing a love of baking (and butter) through this blog. With Streusel in Denver, and Strudel in Seattle, we've found our little site to be a great way to stay in touch, share recipes we love, and talk about experiences in our respective cities.