My sourdough buttermilk scones/biscuits…

I devised this recipe especially for my courses, it’s a great way to use sourdough starter in a different way, it’s fast and it tasty!!!!

These are based on American ‘biscuits’, which in the UK we would call savoury scones. In my recipe there is no butter; the butter is replaced with bubbly sourdough starter, this gives them a great sourdough flavour as well as a chewier texture than usual.

They’re great plain, and even better with added cheese, or like those above, a concoction such as cheese and za’atar…the possibilities are endless!!!


350g plain/cake flour (I have also made them with Mrs Middletons plain natural white stoneground flour which is absolutely beautiful!)

85g bubbly active starter (my starter is 100% hydration i.e. I feed it with equal weights of flour and water; for more details about my starter management, visit the relevant pages on the site, links to the left)

284ml tub of buttermilk or 300g in weight

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

Optional additions: cheese, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds…


Loosely mix all of the main ingredients together, minus any optional extras. This mixture does not benefit from being overworked so resist the temptation to handle it too much. It does not need to be kneaded, just brought together like you would with pastry.

You can now either use this immediately or leave it to sit for up to 3 hours before moving onto the next stage. It works either way.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Turn the mix out onto a floured surface, add any extra ingredients – if I add cheese I tend to add a couple of handfuls of grated strong cheddar – and gently fold them into the dough.

Spread and push the dough to flatten it out to a 2cm thick layer.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Use a 5 or 6cm cookie cutter to cut out the scones. Push the cutter directly downwards and remove directly upwards, do not twist it to cut the dough otherwise you will lose the edging and the rise.

Place them evenly on the baking tray. They can be close together as they don’t spread outwards very much.

Let them sit for 10 minutes.

Bake for 16-18 minutes until nicely browned.

Remove and place the scones on a rack to cool – resist eating immediately and burning your mouth!

22 thoughts on “My sourdough buttermilk scones/biscuits…”

  1. I’m afraid I’m not a sweet eater, but I’d suggest maybe dried cranberries or other dried fruit, and/or cinnamon…I’m sure other people will have better ideas than me for sweet options!

  2. Yummy Elaine – my husband has been running a stall for a local artisan sourdough maker and they need this recipe! Scones are one thing that always feel distinctly English!

  3. Hi there, I’m giving these a whirl and notice that you don’t specify a temp for the buttermilk. I’m guessing that means you aren’t really counting on getting much leavening from it, but rather from the soda. Is that correct?

  4. Yes, the buttermilk is whatever temperature you’ve got it, I’ve used it direct from the fridge and at room temp, it’s made no noticeable difference

  5. Hi, Elaine. Can I use full cream milk instead of buttermilk?
    I also noticed that you didn’t use any butter in this recipe. Is that where the starter comes into play?
    Thank you.

  6. I fear the full cream would be quite heavy. And quite a different flavour.
    And yes, the starter replaces the butter, it gives a different flavour & texture to the usual scones x

  7. I did these scones today with chunks of Stilton on the inside and topped with cheddar and cayenne. Used sour cream as that was all I had and it worked out wonderfully. They are very delicious, a bit too much! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

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