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

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

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

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


Loosely mix all of the main ingredients together. 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.

Preheat the oven to 200C fan/convection, 220C non fan/non convection.

Turn the mix out onto a floured surface, spread and push the dough with your hands 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.

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!

45 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. Hi, it depends on the size of your cutter. Using a 6cm diameter cutter it makes about 12

  8. 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 πŸ™‚

  9. I followed your recipe as given and was absolutely pleased with the outcome. I added asiago cheese shavings to mine with savory herbs and the fragrance in my kitchen was beautiful and so pleasing to the nose. There are so many possibilities to this recipe and I am ever thankful having another fabulous recipe that I can use my sourdough discard for. Many thanks. xo

  10. Oh my, my, my. What a great place to find. Will be checking in daily, almost. Everything looks sooooo delicious.

  11. I need a long fermentβ€”if I mix these up and leave them overnight on the counter, will that scone/biscuit texture be lost?

  12. I made these today and did half with Cheddar cheese and rosemary and half with dried cranberries- excellent. Elaine you are brilliant.

  13. Hi Just baked a sweet version of these and am pretty pleased with the result. The first time I’ve ever been able to get a scone to rise. One thought to share though was I didn’t add my cinnamon and sultana’s until after I had mixed everything else which made it very difficult to mix them through thoroughly without risking over working the dough. So note to self decide at the beginning what flavour I’m adding and mix it in with dry ingredients first! Thanks.

  14. I just made these today with some cheese and Wild Garlic leaves I had dried and crushed, they were delicious. I look forward to trying more combinations. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

  15. Just baked these scones, well, with a little adaptation using homemade yogurt plus some oat milk! Also used my own recent starter, name of a Norman, his first outing .. great work Norman, they are my best ever scones. Photo available but not able to copy it in!!!

  16. Hi! I recently purchased your book (great book, btw) and I’ve been trying to make this recipe. I’m stumped at the first part – when I try mixing the ingredients, they’re just sticky and don’t really become a compact dough I can work on a surface. Any idea why it turns out like this?

    I’ve tried mixing using a metal spoon and my hands. Am I missing something in the process?

  17. Hi, thank you so much πŸ™πŸ»β˜ΊοΈ
    It can depend on how thick your buttermilk is, if necessary try using a bit less. Or work it with some extra flour on your counter..

  18. Our self raising flour is a mix of plain flour and baking powder rather than baking soda, what is yours?

  19. Are there any substitutes for buttermilk? It’s a bit difficult to find it where we are.

  20. Hi, if you mix some milk with a tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice it will thicken and curdle and become buttermilk πŸ‘πŸ»

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