The very kind person who gave me the sourdough starter said that she had heard you could substitute the starter for buttermilk in some recipes. I thought that this sounded too good to be true! This would make a very easy way to use the starter, plus would make recipes using buttermilk more accessible. Buttermilk isn't an ingredient that I have on hand usually, but I always have my starter!
Well she was right! When I was home, I decided that it was necessary to revive the starter I gave my parents (that they hadn't touched since the last time I was home). I brought the necessary ingredients to make bagels, but that became unnecessary when my dad made a trip to Panera and got a dozen and a half. I looked at some of my favorite sourdough blogs, but most recipes involved ingredients that my parents didn't have, and that I didn't think to bring home. Then I found a recipe for sourdough scones! Wild Yeast had the perfect recipe - we had all of the necessary ingredients (except I substituted AP flour for the white whole wheat and oat flours). We even had a scale at home - I gave my parents a really cheap dinky one I used to use before I got the digital scale. The fact that the scones turned out well shows how versatile the recipe must be, since I know most of the measurements were not exact! And we didn't have a food processor, so I mixed everything by hand, cutting in the butter with two knives.
So if you have a sourdough starter and don't know what to do with it, this is a really simple recipe to start with. Besides feeding it 8-12 hours before starting, it requires much less time than most sourdough recipes. And who doesn't like scones??
Oh, and the "small scones" were pretty darn big!
Recipe: Cranberry Oat Sourdough Scones (from Wild Yeast)
50 g dried cranberries
87 g white whole wheat flour (can use AP)
40 g oat flour (can use AP, or grind oats into a fine powder)
17 g nonfat milk powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp baking soda
5/8 tsp salt
50 g sugar (I used 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional - I didn't use it because we didn't have any lemons)
1 stick cold unsalted butter
40 g rolled oats
340 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter
milk and coarse sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Cover the cranberries with warm water and soak for 10 minutes, then drain well.
In a large bowl, mix the flour(s), milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and lemon zest (if using). Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch cubes, and cut in using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few larger pea-sized pieces of butter remaining.
Mix in the oats and drained cranberries lightly.
Add the sourdough starter and mix quickly and lightly, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated into it. The dough will be wet and sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter and pat into a rectangle about 5x9 inches for larger scones, or about 4x11 inches for smaller scones (what I did).
With a dough cutter (or a metal spatula), cut the dough into two rectangles (three for small scones, what I did), and each of those, on the diagonals, into four pieces.
Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.