I'm often asked for recipes to use up that unused sourdough starter. I hate waste and, knowing many of you don't have the time to bake as regularly as you might like, inevitably there will be times when you have to discard unrefreshed starter before feeding your 'mother' in your weekly routine. With the unseasonably warm weather we've been having lately and blossom bursting out all over the garden, I was seduced into daydreaming about the summer and teas on the lawn. I found myself making up a batch of delicious lemony scones, bursting with tangy blueberries. Not exactly seasonal, I know, but I couldn't resist the bright colours of the berries on the counter of my local shop! Even the butterflies and bees have been fooled into thinking summer is on its way!
Now, scones are a very personal thing. I love them and fondly remember my mother's from my youth. I'm often drawn to them in cafes, but have learnt over the years that they frequently lead to disappointment, as I bite into one and get that familiar baking powder 'squeak'! I like my scones to be soft, light and moist. And utterly without squeak. A batch of these scones takes a matter of moments to put together - perfect for those short notice visitors or that urge for 'a little something' mid-afternoon, with a perfectly brewed cuppa.
In fact, scones freeze beautifully, unbaked, so why not whip up a double batch? Place one tray in the oven and the other in the freezer. Once frozen, you can transfer them from the tray into a freezer bag or plastic box. When you want to bake them, defrost for 45-60 mins on a baking tray at room temperature and bake as normal. Even easier, for those last minute guests!
Lemon & Blueberry Sourdough Scones
(Makes 8-9 scones)
180g plain flour
80g wholemeal flour
100g unrefreshed liquid starter (100% hydration)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
90g golden caster sugar
Zest 1/2 lemon
75g cold butter, either cubed or grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g blueberries (preferably small, firm and sharp-tasting)
Preheat oven to 180C
Firstly, weigh out your flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. If using a food processor, blitz the flour mixture with the cubed cold butter. Do not overwork. If mixing my hand, try grating your cold butter into your flour, then rubbing briefly together to get a better blended, breadcrumb-like mix. Do not worry if you still have and uneven distribution of butter, just ensure that there are no excessively large lumps. Now add your sugar, lemon zest and blueberries, mixing lightly with your hands to ensure an even distribution.
In a separate jug or bowl, weigh out your unrefreshed liquid starter and buttermilk, together with your vanilla essence. Mix thoroughly, then add your liquid to your other ingredients. Mix together, until the dough just comes together - remember, the less you handle at this stage, the lighter your scones will be.
Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to pat into a square, approximately 4cm high. Divide into 9 squares (3 x 3), cutting firmly with a dough cutter or sharp knife. Alternative, you can use your favourite cutter, to make round scones. Place on a baking tray and brush with a little beaten egg. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.
(Alternatively, if you have no blueberries, subsitute for 100g soft sultanas, for delicious lemon and sultana scones).
When cool, serve with fresh cream and homemade lemon curd.
Our workshops are run by award-winning sourdough baker Helen Underwood.