Tender and cakey these easy Sourdough Discard Scones are the perfect quick bake for a seriously hearty breakfast.
These are all about the butter flavor, so treat yourself and splurge on European butter (which has a higher % of fat) when you make these. Slather on your favorite jam and cream, and you are sure to impress your family and friends with this new delicious treat.
Sourdough discard quick breads
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’re probably already familiar with my obsession with sourdough quick breads. I love having recipes like my Sourdough Discard Biscuits, and my Cream Cheese Biscuits from my book Sourdough Every Day, in my back pocket for times when I want to serve fresh baked goods but don't have time to prepare a Sourdough Loaf. These Sourdough Scones fit right into the category and are perfect for when I want a more cakey and tender breakfast treat.
Baking with sourdough discard
Quick breads use chemical leaveners to get their rise, in this recipe we'll be using baking powder to achieve the fluffy, tender texture that we want. Adding sourdough discard adds a great tang to these scones and in the case of this recipe, we'll only be using it for flavor. Since you are not using it as the main leavener, your sourdough starter does not need to be activated or fed and can be used straight from the fridge.
Your discard will affect the flavor of your scones. If you’re using sourdough that’s been in the fridge for weeks it will add more acidity, which you won’t get when using a freshly fed starter. Both will work for this recipe but you’ll get different results.
What is a scone?
Scones are a type of quick bread or bread that’s leavened with chemical leaveners like baking soda or baking powder instead of a biological leavener such as commercial yeast or sourdough starter. Because you won’t be using your starter to make these sourdough scones rise, you can use your discard in this recipe straight from the fridge without activating it.
What differentiates scones from biscuits is the inclusion of an egg. This gives scones a more crumbly texture, as opposed to the flakey, layered texture of a biscuit. Unlike my favorite sourdough biscuit recipe, which uses a make-shift lamination technique and yields tons of flaky layers, these come together really quickly and have a finer, cakier crumb.
I took inspiration for this recipe from Irish Scones, which are traditionally left plain or with a simple addition of dried currants. They serve as a blank canvas for delicious toppings like cream, jam and butter (maybe all three). You can always add in dried fruit like currants or raisins and incorporate them in the dry ingredients before cutting your butter in. Fresh fruits add excess hydration which this recipe does not account for, so adding them in may make your scones too wet causing them to spread while they bake.
1. Mix the dry ingredients and rub the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs form. Add in the wet ingredients and knead the dough lightly .
2. Flatten the dough out into rectangle roughly 1-inch thick, use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out your scones
3. Place scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet and glaze with excess milk and egg mixture.
4. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes, turn down heat to 325 F and bake for another 10 minutes or until evenly browned.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your leaveners may be past their prime. Baking soda and baking powder have a shelf life and after a point are no longer viable. Test your leaveners by combining a teaspoon with a drop of vinegar, if it fizzes it's still good and you can still use it. If it does not it will no longer make your bread rise and it should be thrown away.
You may have not kneaded your dough enough and you may have left some dry patches of flour in your dough. Without overworking your dough, knead it lightly just until all of the flour is hydrated.
Biscuits and scones are both quick breads. Scone recipes usually include eggs while biscuits do not.
No, biological leaveners such as sourdough starters require a combination of time and gluten development to make baked goods rise. As yeast ferments, it releases CO2 which gets trapped by strong gluten networks in the dough. Gluten development will negatively affect the texture of your scones.
Absolutely! Simply use the same proportion of freshly fed sourdough starter in the recipe. Your starter won’t add a strong tangy flavor to your scones, but will still work.
If you don’t have a starter, but still want to try out this recipe, simply add 56 grams of all-purpose flour and 56 grams of water to your dough.
Sourdough Discard Scones
- Biscuit cutter
- 150 g whole milk
- 1 egg large
- 113 g sourdough discard
- 300 g all-purpose flour
- 14 g baking powder
- 3 grams kosher salt
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- 56 grams unsalted butter frozen and cubed
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C). Line a 18 by 13 inch baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Make the dough: Whisk together the egg and milk in a large glass measuring cup, until completely combined. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the mixture (for glazing your scones). Add the sourdough discard into the egg mixture and stir until no traces of sourdough remain. Set mixture aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Rub the butter in by hand or with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in half of the milk mixture. With a large open hand gently mix the ingredients together until a shaggy dough forms. Add the remaining milk mixture and incorporate any leftover dry bits of flour.
- Knead: Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and fold the dough on itself 4 or 5 times or until no traces of dry flour remain. Use a light hand and don't overwork the dough, but make sure the dough is cohesive and well incorporated and not crumbly.
- Shape: Pat the dough down until it is an even 1-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out your scones and transfer them to your lined baking sheet. Re-roll your dough and repeat.
- Bake: Glaze scones with reserved milk and egg mixture. Bake scones for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C) and then reduce oven temperature to 325 F (160 C) for another 10 minutes. Don’t over bake or your scones will turn out too tough and crusty.
- Enjoy and store: Take scones out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Eat warm, filled with jam, butter or cream.
- Make sure you use a light hand when making these scones and avoid overworking the gluten or your end result will be tough and dry.
- These are best enjoyed the day they are baked, but will keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- If you have any on hand, using buttermilk results in fluffier scones
Thank you! I want to bake it.💖
I doubled the recipe and made these for brunch today. Made zero changes. They are absolutely perfect. Comes together much quicker than the biscuits and doesn’t require me to have buttermilk on hand. Perfect way to use up my discard. My family says THANK YOU.
Make It Dough says
So happy your family enjoyed them!
Another great recipe! Added lemon zest (like a heaping TB), and I used some fancy Wit Wolkering flour (like 90g). They may not last today. My 4 year old is already on his second.
Make It Dough says
Thanks Chloe!!! Lemon zest is such a nice touch, I'll have to try adding it next time I make these!
They're on my baking list!
What do we want here, a fine milled low protein flour (with a low W?)?
Make It Dough says
A low protein flour works great, but I personally just used all-purpose here.
Hi if i don't want to use baking powder, can I use an active levain? Like how many gram in this case?
Thanks! I love SD recipes which is more healthy for the family and myself!
Hannah @ Make It Dough says
Biological leaveners (yeast and sourdough) work in totally different ways than chemical leaveners (baking soda and baking powder). Unfortunately for this recipe they are not interchangeable. Yeast makes baked goods rise by metabolizing sugars in flour and producing carbon dioxide, to do this you have to develop gluten in your dough and give it enough time to build up gas. In this recipe, you're looking for the instant chemical reaction between the acid and baking powder which makes your scones rise as they bake. The end result here is a cakey, tender baked good with a "short texture" which you achieve by not building a lot of gluten in your dough. In each case you're treating the dough completely differently.
Hi, could I let the dough overnight in fridge and the next morning add the chemical leaveners?
Hannah @ Make It Dough says
I've never tried this before. But I do freeze this dough often with the chemical leaveners and it works great! So it might work. My only worry is it may be difficult to knead the leaveners into the dough and you may end up overworking the gluten.