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Name:Sourdough Biscuits Contributor:Dave Uebele
Description:Dave's sourdough biscuit recipe Posted:2002-01-08
Key words:fennel, eggs, flour Category:Side Dishes
ID:590 Updated:2006-04-08 21:31:58
Ingredients:Evening Ingredients:
1 c starter
2-1/2 c flour
2 c milk

Morning Ingredients:
1 c sourdough starter
1/2 c warm water (90 degrees)
~2-3/4 c all purpose flour, divided
1/4 c olive oil
1-1/2 tsp fennel seed, divided
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Preparation:At Night, in large glass or pottery bowl, mix the Evening Ingredients.
Cover and place in warm spot. (oven with pilot/light on, door open)

In the Morning, remove 1 cup of dough as the new starter. Store covered jar of starter in the refrigerator until ready to use again.

In a bowl, mix remainingstarter, water, and 1 cup flour. For sourest flavor, cover and let stand in a warm place until bubbly and sour smelling, 12 to 24 hours. To speed, omit standing; proceed. Stir in oil.

Crush 1/2 teaspoon of the fennel seed. In a bowl, stir crushed fennel, baking powder, salt baking soda, and 1-3/4 cups more flour. Add starter mixture; stir until dough cleans side of bowl.

Turn dough out on lightly floured board and kneed for about 30 seconds; add flour if required to prevent sticking. Flour board, then roll out dough into a 6" by 14" rectangle.

Brush dough with egg white; sprinkle with reserved seed. Cut into 2" by 3" rectangles. Place biscuits about 1/2" apart on 12" by 15" baking sheet.

Bake in 450 degree oven until deep golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and serve warm or cool. Makes 14 biscuits.
Notes:Pulling from some archives I had while on a sourdough mailing list several years ago...This is one of the sourdough recipes I use most.

Note this recipe depends on chemical leavening, rather than the sourdough yeast for rising. The sourdough is just for flavor. Typical of "quick bread" type recipes.

I have made sourdough bread, in a dutch oven, cooked over a campfire, using the sourdough yeast as the leavening agent, but I'm way out of practice on that.

Temperature is the main variable which affects the consistency and sourness of the batter. A warmer temperature at night will cause the batter to have more tang and to be thinner by morning.

The starter is better if it is used at least once every two weeks, but it will keep indefinitely. Each time I use the starter, I return it to a clean jar, but I never wash the old jar until I have remembered to save a new starter. Once the eggs and other ingredients are added, the dough can not be used as a starter.

Dave's notes and comments:
My starter uses milk instead of water. Probably closer to 3/4 cups milk instead of 1/2 cup water.
I did not have fennel, so I used approx 1 teaspoon of sugar instead.
I've since tried with fennel, and I still prefer using sugar.
I also omitted the egg white treatment. Either bake as is or brush with butter.
To make flakier biscuits, use half olive oil and half butter or shortening.
Cut shortening into dry ingedients before adding starter/oil.
Roll out, fold in thirds, roll out, fold in thirds again to put shortening in layers. I usually don't try to precisely measure starter, so you may need to adjust flour or milk accordingly.

I've done several other variations with this recipe.
I've added beer instead of milk when additional moisture is needed (which seems to be the norm when I do this recipe.)
I've also made "pure" sourdough biscuits, by ommiting the baking powder and baking soda and cutting the salt down.

Sourdough biscuits (from 1988 Sunset Recipe Annual)
via Paige Langdon, Redwood City, CA

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