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Sourdough Discard Scones

This recipe for sourdough scones is super easy to customize with a variety of flavors or add-ins. Or completely delicious all on its own! They are easy to make, and perfect for entertaining or just a quick breakfast.

pinterest graphic for sourdough discard scones

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You know that recipe that is just your go-to for any occasion? Or the one that will guarantee someone will ask for the recipe? For me, it is definitely my scone recipe. This is the recipe that I have made thousands of times, and it turns our perfectly every time without fail. (I am not exaggerating when I say thousands.. I have made this recipe for the farmer’s market and they ALWAYS sell out!) They can be made sweet or savory, and are always a hit!

I am excited to share this recipe because I know you’ll love them too! These delicious sourdough scones are subtly sweet, the perfect texture, and the best buttery goodness you crave in a really good scone. If you’ve never had a scone, think of it as a cross between a cookie and cake. The crumbly golden brown outsides and the fluffy moist insides are the best of both worlds in these tender scones!

One thing I love about this sourdough scone recipe is they are so easy to make. This easy sourdough starter discard recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes. Because I use sourdough discard (sourdough starter that has not been recently fed), there is no extra fermenting time. The whole recipe can be made in a food processor, or in a large mixing bowl using a pastry blender. 

tools you’ll need

basic ingredients you’ll need

scone base recipe:

  • organic all purpose flour
  • cane sugar
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • cold butter
  • sourdough starter discard
  • sour cream
  • egg
  • vanilla extract

glaze:

all about sourdough

Sourdough starter discard – This sourdough scone recipe calls for sourdough starter discard. This is sourdough starter that is not at its most active state. If you’re unfamiliar with sourdough, let me break it down. Sourdough bread is naturally leavened bread, meaning it does not use commercial yeast to rise. Instead, it uses an active starter, which is a fermented flour and water mixture that contains wild yeast and good bacteria to rise. This requires a much longer process than breads made with quick yeast you can buy at the store. It also yields a slightly tangy flavor due to the nature of the fermentation process.

Sourdough starters require consistent feedings of flour and water to stay active and alive. Before feeding a sourdough starter, many people choose to ‘discard’ some of their starter so the end result does not produce as much volume. Discard, however, does not actually mean they throw it away. Typically, extra sourdough discard is stored in the fridge in an inactive state until ready to use in a discard recipe, like these sourdough discard scones. A sourdough discard recipe is a recipe that calls for inactive sourdough starter (meaning it has not been recently fed), and does not require a fermentation period before baking.

If you do not have a sourdough starter, you can grab the one that I use in my kitchen every singe day HERE. I have dehydrated my starter at its most active state so it can be stored for long periods of time. This starter comes with all of the instructions for rehydrating it at home. All you need is flour, water and a kitchen scale! This is a super easy way to get started with sourdough and try many delicious sourdough recipes. A dehydrated sourdough starter also makes a great gift!

sourdough scones in a food processor

To make the scone dough, start by mixing all of the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the flour mixture is mixed well. Next, cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse again until all pieces of butter are blended in. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the food processor and pulse until the dough combines into a ball. It should be a soft, shaggy dough, but not so sticky that you can’t work with it. If it’s too sticky to form and cut, add a little more flour. Be careful not to overmix! If you mix the dough more than necessary, the sourdough scones will be tough instead of soft and fluffy.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the ball of dough out of the food processor and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Press each into a flat into a circle, and cut into 6 pieces using a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Separate the pieces and arrange them on the baking sheet so they aren’t touching. See photos below for reference. Bake on 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the scones to cool on a wire rack.

After the scones are done baking and have cooled, prepare the powdered sugar glaze. In a mixing bowl, whisk powdered sugar and water until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the scones and allow to harden slightly. Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee and a friend. 🙂

sourdough scones with a pastry cutter

If you do not have a food processor, or would prefer to use a pastry blender instead, follow these instructions. Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Grate cold butter with a cheese grater and add to the flour mixture. Cut with a pastry blender until there are no chunks larger than a pea. Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to flour and butter mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Do not overmix! If you mix more than necessary, the sourdough scones will be tough instead of soft and fluffy.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the ball of dough and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Press each into a flat into a circle, and cut into 6 pieces using a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Separate the pieces and arrange them on the baking sheet so they aren’t touching. See photos above for reference. Bake on 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the scones to cool on a wire rack.

After the scones are done baking and have cooled, prepare the powdered sugar glaze. In a mixing bowl, whisk powdered sugar and water until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the scones and allow to harden slightly. Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee and a friend. 🙂

sourdough scones cooling on a wire rack with dough whisk covered in glaze

optional add-ins

These are the best scones because you can customize them with whatever you want! Here are a few of my favorites add-ins:

  • chocolate chips
  • fresh or dried fruit
  • lemon zest
  • orange zest
  • poppy seeds

for savory scones – omit the sugar, increase the salt to 1 tsp and add one of more of the following:

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • feta cheese crumbles
  • bacon pieces
  • chopped fresh spinach

how to store leftover scones

Store scones in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap or beeswax wrap. For best results, eat or share them within 2 days after baking.

can scones be frozen?

These scones freeze very well. Freezing them is a great option if you will not go through an entire batch in just a couple of days. Follow the directions to bake the scones and freeze them in a ziploc after they are completely cooled. For best results, glaze them when you remove from the freezer and they are fully defrosted.

recipe tips and notes

  • If you want to make larger scones, do not divide the dough into two parts. Press the entire batch of dough into one circle and cut into 8 pieces. Increase the baking time by about 5-6 minutes.
  • To add mix-ins – add them in after mixing all of the dough ingredients together. When you turn the dough out onto the baking sheet, sprinkle any additions over the top and knead them in gently with your hands before shaping and cutting the scones.
  • If you add frozen berries, increase the baking time by about 3 minutes.

hungry for more sourdough discard recipes?

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sourdough scones cooling on a wire rack with dough whisk covered in glaze with a tablespoon holding leftover vanilla

Sourdough Scones

Yield: 12 scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

These sourdough scones are super easy to customize with a variety of flavors or add-ins. Or completely delicious all on its own! They are easy to make, and perfect for entertaining or just a quick breakfast.

Ingredients

Scone Base Recipe

  • 3 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter (12 Tbls)
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter discard
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbls pure vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbls water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the scone dough, start by mixing all of the dry ingredients in a food processor (see post for instructions using a pastry cutter instead of a food processor). Pulse a few times until the flour mixture is mixed well
  2. Next, cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse again until all pieces of butter are blended in.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the food processor and pulse until the dough combines into a ball. It should be a soft dough, but not so sticky that you can’t work with it. If it’s too sticky to form and cut, add a little more flour. Be careful not to overmix! If you mix the dough more than necessary, the sourdough scones will be tough instead of soft and fluffy.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the ball of dough out of the food processor and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and press into circles. Cut each into 6 pieces.
  6. Separate the pieces and arrange them on the baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
  7. Bake on 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the scones to cool on a wire rack.
  8. After the scones are done baking and have cooled, make the powdered sugar glaze. In a mixing bowl, whisk powdered sugar and water until smooth. Drizzle over cooled scones and allow to harden slightly.

Notes

  • If you want to make larger scones, do not divide the dough into two parts. Press the entire batch of dough into one circle and cut into 8 pieces. Increase the baking time by about 5-6 minutes.
  • If you are adding any mix-ins, add them in after mixing all of the dough ingredients together. When you turn the dough out onto the baking sheet, sprinkle any additions over the top and knead them in gently with your hands before shaping and cutting the scones.
  • If you add frozen berries, increase the baking time by about 3 minutes.
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    pinterest graphic for sourdough scones

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