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Buttery & Flaky Sourdough Biscuits

These Sourdough Biscuits are both fluffy and flaky. A little sourdough discard gives these biscuits a wonderful flavor and a simple technique creates a super-flaky texture.

A cake stand stacked with fresh sourdough biscuits

When I created my Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit recipe, I found if I made a fairly wet dough, and folded that dough a couple of times, I was able to make a biscuit that is both light and flaky.

To create a Sourdough Biscuit from that recipe all I had to do was replace 1 cup of the buttermilk with a cup of unfed sourdough starter, aka, sourdough discard.

How to make Sourdough Biscuits that are both fluffy and flaky:

  • Make a fairly wet dough that holds it’s shape well enough to be folded.
  • Use unfed starter for tangy flavor. Bring the starter to room temperature before using.
  • Since the sourdough discard is not fed, it’s not very active and won’t really help the biscuits rise.
  • Because the starter won’t help the biscuits rise, add baking powder and baking soda to the dough for leavening.
  • Gentle folding will develop layers of dough that will bake into lovely, buttery layers in the final biscuit.
  • It’s easy to create flakiness by layering the dough. The trick is to handle the dough gently so you don’t develop the gluten, which will toughen the dough. 
  • Use a mixture of 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 cake flour. All purpose flour gives the biscuit dough enough body to create layers, and cake flour has a lower protein content to keep toughening gluten at bay.
  • Use your hands from start through finish to avoid over-working the dough.
  • This dough is so tender you don’t need a rolling pin. You can easily pat it into shape using your hands.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make buttery & flaky Sourdough Biscuits:

a bowl with flour and butter mix for biscuit dough
Combine the dry ingredients and work the butter until it’s slightly larger than pea-size.
a measuring cup with buttermilk and sourdough starter
Combine the buttermilk and the sourdough discard
Pouring buttermilk into biscuit mix
Add the wet ingredients all at once and mix until almost combined. Briefly knead the dough to bring it together.
a slab of sourdough biscuit dough
Pat the dough to 1/2″ thick and fold 2x. Then pat to 3/4″ thick and cut the biscuits.
a tray of unbaked sourdough biscuits.
Brush the biscuits with buttermilk and then bake in a hot oven.
a hand holding half a sourdough biscuit
Sourdough Biscuits have a flaky texture a nice open crumb.
a sourdough biscuit on a plate with a pat of butter

Looking for something else to make with your sourdough discard? Here’s a list of my Best Sourdough Discard Recipes.

Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a sourdough biscuit on a plate with a pat of butter

Flaky Sourdough Biscuits

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

Sourdough biscuits that are both fluffy and flaky. A little discard sourdough starter gives these biscuits a wonderful flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10 oz, 280g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (8.5 oz 240g) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 oz (2 sticks, 224g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 cup (8oz, 224g) unfed sourdough starter (100% hydration) at room temperature.
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) room temperature buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine.
  3. Mix the butter into the flour with your fingers until it's broken down into bits slightly larger than a pea.
  4. Combine the starter and the buttermilk in a small bowl. Add the starter/buttermilk mixture to the flour all at once. Mix until about 2/3 of the dry ingredients are absorbed.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead together just to incorporate the remaining dry flour (this should only take about 6-8 kneads).
  6. Gently pat dough to a 1/2" thick rectangle, brush off excess flour and fold the dough in 1/2. Pat gently to stick the dough together and and fold again. Pat to 3/4 " thick disc and cut with a 2.5"-3" biscuit cutter. Gather the scraps together, pat to 3/4" thick and continue cutting until all the dough is used up.
  7. Set the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with buttermilk. Bake the biscuits until well rise and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  8. If the bottoms of the biscuits are browning too fast set another sheet pan under the biscuits after 5 minutes of baking.

Did you make this recipe?

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Sara

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Wow! Amazing light taste even with regular flour!

Jutta

Friday 5th of February 2021

The biscuits turned out great! I used white whole wheat flour for all of it. I did reduce the amount and used corn starch to substitute for the cake flour. Going to make these again soon!

Sarah

Friday 4th of December 2020

I have only AP floor. How much do I use if that’s all I have? I weigh my flour. Thx!

Eileen Gray

Friday 4th of December 2020

If you have cornstarch available for each cup of cake flour use 3/4 cup of ap flour plus 2 tablespoon of cornstarch. If you don't have corn starch just use the ap flour. The biscuits might have a little more gluten, but they'll still be good.

Jennifer

Sunday 22nd of November 2020

This site is an absolute god-send. I have my first sourdough started that I've been keeping for about a month. Your recipes, tips, and advice have been the only things that have consistently worked for me... THANK YOU THANK YOU.

I made these biscuits this morning with a starter that I was worried I had killed but, following the advice on another page on this site, I just kept going, following the advice and directions on this page. These biscuits were the perfect Sunday snowy morning breakfast food. Such a hit and a great way to use up the discard. I just can't bear to throw it away! All that work (and flour!), it just seems such a waste.

Anyway, I wanted to say thank you!!! I've read other books and made a few different recipes since starting this sourdough journey but nothing has been as helpful or consistent as this site. :)

Eileen Gray

Sunday 22nd of November 2020

Awww, thanks!

Kathy

Saturday 25th of July 2020

These are fantastic! So buttery, tender and flaky - the perfect biscuit and a great thing to do with all my leftover starter. Thanks for a great recipe!