The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Scones

KathyF's picture

Sourdough Scones

I went through a spell of baking scones last year, but stopped when everyone in my family seemed to have their fill of them. Lately though, they have been asking for scones. I have been having really good success with my sourdough biscuits, so I decided to try my hand at sourdough scones. I have always used volume measurements for my biscuits and scones, so I'm comfortable using that method for this recipe. The starter is leftover starter straight out of my fridge. The scones turned out fluffy and flaky. Might of been even more fluffy if I had used starter that was more active.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
few drops lemon extract
lemon zest
handful of raisins
1/2 cup cold butter cut in small pieces
1 cup sourdough starter
heavy cream

1 beaten egg for glaze
sugar sprinkles

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and baking soda; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins.

Add vanilla and lemon extract to the sourdough starter and stir the mixture into crumb mixture with a fork adding splashes of cream until dough forms a ball.

Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead very lightly and roll to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut into triangles and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle on the sugar sprinkles.

Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.


Reynard's picture

Bath buns, Kathy... ;-) 

Scones here in the UK are much simpler affairs... I make these - they're from a Two Fat Ladies' Cookbook and are about as traditional as you're going to get:

225g self raising flour

pinch of salt

55g butter

150ml whole milk

55g dried fruit (sultanas are my fave)

25g caster sugar

Mix flour & salt in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mix resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and the fruit. Add the milk and form into a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board to a thickness of 2 cm / 3/4 inch. Cut into 5 cm / 2 inch rounds. Place on a greased & floured baking sheet. Brush with milk. Bake in a preheated oven 220C for 10 mins until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack. Best served warm with butter and jam or jam & whipped / clotted cream if you're feeling indulgent. Makes about a dozen.

The real secret to a traditional British scone is to work as quickly as you can after adding the liquid to the dough - the faster you can get them in the oven, the lighter and fluffier they will be.

KathyF's picture

Okay, had to look up Bath Buns! So, they are sweet rolls with a lump of sugar inside and a sugar glaze? Sounds yummy!

Thank you for the recipe! When I was researching scones there seemed to be as many different recipes as there were cooks. The conclusion I came to was that a British scone was basically like our southern biscuit, except maybe a little richer and sweeter. I tried recipes that included eggs but decided that it made the texture more like a muffin than flaky like a southern biscuit, so I started leaving out the eggs. I guess here in the States we have generally taken the scone in another direction. There was a time when the scones were made more like pie dough pastry... denser, drier and flakier. Now the trend seems to be more in southern biscuit territory... except a lot sweeter.

I will definitely try your recipe. They showed the Two Fat Ladies show here for a while. I loved it.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Those look like just what I need to start the weekend. Well done.

KathyF's picture

It is just the thing with coffee in the morning.

Thank you!

dabrownman's picture

they were making traditional English scones using a food processor and comparing them to American scones.  The English ones used self rising flour and much less sugar making for a more airy,lighter and less sweet scone that Cooks Country though was better.  The recipe was almost exactly like Reynatd's recipe above..

Sourdough biscuits are so much better than regular ones I would guess your scone recipe would cut the sugar some with the sour making them more like English ones but better :-)

They sure look great. Well done and

Happy baking 


KathyF's picture

Yes, it didn't taste particularly sour. I agree the sugar cuts some of the sour as does the baking soda. I do think sourdough adds extra flavor and the acid in it works with the baking soda like buttermilk.

Reynard's picture

Of cross-Atlantic linguistic gymnastics LOL!

What you folks call biscuits are closest to our scones. No wonder I was as confused as hell... *shakes head* What we call biscuits are what you call cookies... :-p

You're welcome to the recipe, Kathy. :-)

Scones are actually really versatile. You can even have them plain (omitting the sugar and fruit) which are the ones most commonly used for cream teas or savoury - swapping the sugar for a pinch of cayenne and fruit for grated cheese and / or crispy bacon... I just adore fruit scones, warm from the oven, just split and spread with a dollop of butter. Shop bought ones are bleurgh and best avoided...

I dunno about better DBM ;-) Only different :-D Might try Kathy's take on scones though as they do look good.

A side by side test would be nice, but I don't think my waistline would appreciate it :-p

KathyF's picture

It is confusing!

Mmmm! Cheese biscuits! I am convinced that scones = American biscuits. When I compare the recipe for cheese scones here and Paula Deen's famous cheese biscuits here ... they are essentially the same except cheese biscuits are usually mixed a little wetter and dropped rather than rolled and cut. I had Paula Deen's cheese biscuits at her restaurant in Savannah and they were divine.

To make things even more confusing, there is a variation on American biscuits called angel biscuits. It is the regular biscuit recipe with the addition of yeast. So, technically, adding sourdough starter to biscuits would qualify them as angel biscuits. So maybe we should call scones with sourdough in them angel scones! There's a thought.

Try my scone recipe and let us know what you think!

isand66's picture

Great looking Scones Kathy.  I have to give these a try soon.  Scones are on my list of things to try baking and your formula looks perfect.


KathyF's picture

If you do try them, let us know what you think!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

are a sort of no knead, make up dough and park in the fridge for weeks kind of dough recipe.  The Angel is there to save the day when you need something fast and no time to think or prepare on a busy day.  The sourdough version should also work similarly so if you call them Angel scones or Sourdough Angel scones, the dough should keep for several weeks in the fridge.  Will it work?   

Sourdough muffins are also better than regular ones.

KathyF's picture

That's interesting. All the recipes I have seen for angel biscuits were the kind where you add yeast to regular biscuit dough and bake. Some people let the yeast rise a bit and some don't. I haven't seen the one where you keep in the fridge for weeks to use as needed. I will have to search for that recipe.

I have made freezer biscuits where you freeze the uncooked biscuits and when you want a few biscuits you just pop them in the oven frozen and bake. They turn out great. It is a nice way to cook just a few biscuits as needed.

I am going to have to try sourdough muffins next. That sounds yummy!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
Reynard's picture

Made me remember something I'd seen in one of my baking books... Dug it out and had a look - there are nine different scone recipes, including this one for yeasted scones... How does this compare?

25g fresh yeast

150ml warm water

625g strong white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

75g butter

1 egg

125g caster sugar

150ml milk

125g sultanas

milk to glaze

Mix the yeast with the warm water and 50g of the flour and leave for 30 mins. Sift the remaining flour and baking powder into a bowl, rub in the butter. Beat together the egg, sugar and milk. Add to the flour & butter, and then stir in the yeast mix. Mix into a smooth dough. Knead in the sultanas.

Shape the dough into a ball. Place on a floured surface and roll out to 2.5 cm / 1 inch thickness. Cut into 5 cm / 2 inch rounds & place onto a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 40 mins. Brush with milk, bake in a preheated oven, 230C for 12 to 15 mins. Cool on a wire rack.

Sourdough muffins intrigue me - I've not come across them before... That's definitely something I'll have to have a look at. I make mine with yoghurt and hide a dollop of my mum's home made jam inside ;-)

KathyF's picture

I would think that by using strong flour and kneading to a smooth dough, it would end up being more like a roll than a scone. At least the texture we usually associate with a scone. However, when I was researching scone recipes, I did run across a couple of videos where they did heavily knead the dough rather than the standard light touch recommended for that type of bread. I always wondered what the texture ended up like, especially since all they did use was self-rising flour and no yeast.

dabrownman's picture

scone that you want to make a few changes to this recipe.  For airy, flaky, less sweet scones I would cut the sugar down to 50-75 grams.

I would switch out the Strong flour a nd use AP instead 

I would add in a 1 hour autolyse of flour and water to get the gluten going and cut back on the actual kneading to as little as possible so the scones stay light and airy.

I would add in 1/4 tsp of  baking soda to make the dough more tender, to help in browning and to aid in the lift by replacing the milk with buttermilk,

This should make one heck of a Traditional English Scone   For American Scones you can up the sugar some :-)

Yeast Water ones would even be better!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

are quite high compared to Ami biscuits.  5 cups of flour (125g per cup) is 625g but there are only 4 teaspoons of sugar in Angel biscuits.  That's roughly 20g of sugar.

I remember reading the major difference in recipes between American biscuits  and GB scones, is the sugar amounts.  American biscuits tend to be served more with gravy and meat sauces  and used to clean up a plate.  Whereas scones are closer to American muffins.

Reynard's picture

@ Mini Oven: American muffins are nothing like scones - at least not the muffins I've had. I'd say that muffins are more sponge cake-like in texture, scones are something of a cousin to soda bread. But we do use scone mix as a topping for hot dishes and casseroles, sweet and savoury, called cobbler. Basically you put a ring of uncooked scone rounds on top of the dish, leaving the centre open, and pop it in the oven.

@ Kathy: I've never actually made the yeasted scones, so I can't say one way or another unfortunately. My go-to recipe is the one from the Two Fat Ladies :-)

Sandwich artist's picture
Sandwich artist

I tried to make these and they actually tasted really good but they were burnt after six minutes in the oven though I turned it down to 400. Would make again but bake differently. Also I used dried cranberries instead of raisins


AnnaD's picture

Hi there, just wondering if anyone knows if these scones can be made with 1% milk or buttermilk.. Thanks