Are you beginning to see a pattern in some of my recent recipes? Sourdough rules in my kitchen lately. All that trouble I had getting it established. Now it’s doing so well I can’t seem to hurt it–not that I’m trying to–even after sitting on the counter all day waiting to be fed, after it’s been in the refrigerator all week. A little flour and water and it’s bubbly again after a few hours.
The weekly bread baking sessions are becoming a fun and tasty habit. We are hooked on Ken Forkish’s Overnight Country Brown bread and I have, only this week, started to deviate from his recipe to try to make it my own. The inspiration came from an artisan bread baking group that I stumbled upon on Facebook. With over 13,000 members my Facebook feed is filled with gorgeous homemade artisan bread from avid bakers all over the world. I’ve learned so much from just being a part of the group for a week I doubt the bread-baking fever will pass anytime soon.
In addition to the weekly loaf, I baked these scones and a batch of waffles with my excess sourdough starter. No matter how light and crisp the waffles were, I couldn’t say that I loved them enough to share here. My husband had four of them for breakfast so taste may not be the issue. I tend to prefer making waffles (and pancakes) over eating them. I’m a savory breakfast girl and waffles don’t do it for me. And since I maintain a rye starter, I thought the rye flavor overpowered the waffles a bit. Because my husband considers them a treat from his daily oatmeal, I’ll keep working on the recipe until I get it right.
These scones, though, are another story. I converted one of my favorite scone recipes to work with my leftover starter and these were just as good, if not better than my original recipe. These sourdough scones were crisp outside with a pleasant, slightly crumbly (not bready or dry) interior. I omitted the egg from the original recipe, used half spelt flour and half all-purpose flour and crossed my fingers that the amount of starter I used would work. For these scones, it may have helped that the levain I used was mainly white-flour based (I feed my starter with white and a little whole wheat flour for the bread) so there was no rye flour to mar the flavors of the sweet coconut flakes and bittersweet chocolate that I added generously here.
I also used a different technique for preparing the dough (thank you, Internet!). The most common advice bakers get for scones is not to handle the dough too much. For this batch I transferred the dough to a round cake pan lined with plastic wrap immediately after mixing it. This helps to shape the dough easily into a disk. Then I put it in the freezer for an hour to make slicing the wedges virtually effort-free. This is the only way I will prepare scones from now on and this sourdough recipe is a sure keeper. If you find yourself with excess starter, this recipe is a tasty way to use it up. But if you don’t, the original recipe is no slouch either.
One thing that deserves special mention: Lemons & Anchovies is five years old today! When I hit the publish button for the first time I never imagined that I’d still be blogging today. The truth is, I still really, really enjoy sharing my recipes and stories with you. Will L&A be around five years from now? I can’t say. I told myself a couple of years ago that when this is no longer fun I will stop. This space was meant only to be a catalog of my favorite recipes but it’s become so much more–a creative outlet and a personal journal of sorts. If the next five years prove to be as fun, satisfying and rewarding as the previous five, I’ll be here.
Sourdough Scones with Coconut and Chocolate
- *SEE NOTE regarding measurements
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon 128 grams half and half (or heavy cream)
- 3/4 cup 226 grams sourdough starter discard
- 1 cup 138 grams whole spelt flour
- 1 cup 120 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup 48 grams granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 tsp regular salt
- 6 tablespoons 3/4 stick, 86 grams cold, unsalted butter, in small cubes
- 3/4 cup 75 grams sweetened, shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup 100 grams chocolate chips
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with few small pieces of butter remaining. Stir in the 1/2 cup half and half and the sourdough starter until just combined, followed by the coconut and chocolate chips. Do not overwork the dough; it should be crumbly.
Line an 8-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap (with some overhang) and lightly press the dough into the pan until it reaches the edges of the pan. Do not pack down the dough--you just want to shape it into a round. Tip: If the dough is too sticky to handle, sprinkle the top with flour so it's easier to press into the pan with your fingers. Cover the top of the dough with another piece of plastic wrap and freeze for around one hour, until the dough is firm enough to slice while holding its shape.
Before baking, preheat your oven to 400°F. Invert the pan onto a cutting board. Remove the plastic wrap and slice into eight wedges. Transfer the wedges onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of the wedges with the remaining one tablespoon of half and half then sprinkle turbinado sugar.
Bake for 18-20 minutes (or until golden), rotating the sheet halfway through baking time. Serve warm
1. I highly recommend using the gram measurements here, where I've listed them My original recipe was measured in cups but for this one using the sourdough starter, I weighed most of the ingredients in grams, which I consider more accurate. You can see that one cup of the all-purpose flour weighs less than one cup of spelt flour.
2. Prep time includes one hour of chill time in the freezer before baking. This makes it easier to form the scones and transfer them to the baking sheet.