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Sourdough Scones

Sourdough Scones have a special flavor and the perfect scone texture. A proper scone should neither be too biscuit-y nor too muffiny, but should fall somewhere between the two. A little sourdough discard is all you need to make the best scones ever.

a tray of sourdough scones

As I mentioned in my post for English Scones, my basic scone recipe is adapted from a recipe given to me by a British mum.  I used that recipe for 7 years when I worked in a British tea shop.

I made adjustments to the original recipe so it could work in a US kitchen with US ingredients and measurements. I can tell you I get great feedback from everyone who tastes these scones.

Now, I’ve made these scones even better by adding a little sourdough discard to the recipe.

If you don’t have one, you can learn How to Make a Sourdough Starter. Then I can show you how to Feed and Maintain Sourdough Starter or How to Keep a Small Sourdough Starter.

How to make Sourdough Scones:

  • To create a Sourdough Scone from a basic scone recipe just replace 1 cup of the buttermilk with a cup of unfed sourdough starter, aka, sourdough discard.
  • Use fresh buttermilk. The tangy flavor and tenderizing acidity works perfectly with the sourdough discard to make these the best scones ever.
  • I like to mix scones by hand. Mixing by hand ensures that you won’t over mix the dough and form too much gluten.
  • Pat the dough out by hand instead of using a rolling pin. This also ensures that the dough won’t be over worked.
  • As soon as  you add the buttermilk/discard to the dry ingredients, the baking powder is activated.
  • To work ahead, mix the recipe until the point where you add the buttermilk. Later you can mix the dough, roll, cut and bake.
  • Scones are best the day they are baked. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost and then warm in the oven to get the best texture.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Sourdough Scones:

pouring sourdough starter into buttermilk to make sourdough scones
Mix the sourdough discard into the buttermilk.
buttermilk and sourdough discard being poured into a bowl of flour
Pour the buttermilk & discard into the flour base. Toss until almost combined
a shaggy mass of sourdough scone dough
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times to bring the dough together
a tray of unbaked sourdough scones
Brush the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar before baking
a sourdough scone on a plate
a sourdough scone with butter

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

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

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

a sourdough scone on a plate

Sourdough Scones

Yield: 18 scones
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This classic buttermilk scone is given a little flavor boost with sourdough discard.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups (22.5oz, 630g) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6oz, 168g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) sourdough discard (100% hydration)
  • 2 eggs
  • Demerara Sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and. Toss in butter chunks. Mix in the butter until the bits are the size of a pea.
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk, sourdough discard and eggs. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just barely combined. Some loose flour may remain at the bottom of the bowl. DON'T OVER MIX.
  4. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and finish kneading by hand just until all the loose flour is absorbed. Use your hands to pat the dough until it is 3/4" thick. Use a 2.5"-3" biscuit cutter to cut scones. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting until all the dough is used.
  5. Line the scones onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1" space between. Brush the tops of the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with Demerara or granulated sugar.
  6. Bake on the middle racks of the oven, flipping the trays after 10 minutes (see note).
  7. The scones are ready when they are golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Total baking time 15-20 minutes.

Notes

If the bottoms of the scones are browning very fast you can slide another sheet pan under the pan half way through baking.

To make ahead you can bake and freeze the scones. Defrost and warm in the oven to serve.

Did you make this recipe?

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Marta

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Made these for the first time this morning, wow were they great!! The only modification I made was I halved the sugar, just so they wouldn’t be too sweet with strawberry jam. They’re delicious, my toddlers are devouring (and crumbing) all over the house! Wondering how I could modify this to make savoury scones too, maybe cheddar? Love a recipe to use up my sourdough discard. Thanks so much for sharing!

Eileen Gray

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Here's a recipe for Cheddar Scones. To make this recipe for Sourdough Scones savory you could reduce the sugar down to about 1/4 cup or even 2 tablespoons. The sugar does help tenderize the scone so I would at least add 2 tablespoons or the scones might become chewy. Add little cubes of cheddar at the stage when you turn the dough out of the bowl for kneading.

Melanie

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Delicious recipe. I always substitute buttermilk with regular milk and 2 TBSP of cider vinegar. I also put the butter and dry ingredients in my food processor and pulse- perfect pea size every time ;)

Rick

Saturday 9th of January 2021

Good morning. making your recipe for the umpteenth time, it has become a favorite. I precube the butter the night before, sizes are generally pea size and smaller. I did reduce the butter to 10 tbsp. Today I noticed your page recommends a dry buttermilk ad at the bottom, do you ever go that route?

Eileen Gray

Saturday 9th of January 2021

I have tested my recipes with dry buttermilk and it's a great substitute for fresh buttermilk. Just reconstitute is according to the directions and do the recipe as written.

Rick

Friday 20th of November 2020

Is melted butter on the pans indicate something. i switched from cutting with knives to cubing the butter beforehand, a bit tedious but keeps the butter temp lower. I also pre coat the butter as I cube it,

Eileen Gray

Friday 20th of November 2020

Are you saying that when you bake the scones you have butter leaking out onto the pan? If so, I would guess that perhaps you didn't break down the butter enough. Work the butter into the flour until the bits are no larger than a pea.

Holly

Sunday 16th of August 2020

I am confused. Whipping cream is mentioned twice in the directions, but only a scant quantity in ingredient list.

Eileen Gray

Monday 17th of August 2020

There aren't any mentions of whipping cream at all. In fact, I never refer to it as "whipping" cream, but always "heavy" cream. Not sure if you were looking at a different recipe.