Sunday, February 19, 2012

Biscuits au Levain

Sourdough biscuits? Why not? After all, buttermilk biscuits are common, and buttermilk is cultured milk, while sourdough or levain is cultured water. The recipe for my levain, which I use in all my breads and pizzas, is here. I made these up in less than a half hour total, and they were fantastic. Beside levain, the other secret is lard. That's right, real, honest-to-goodness lard (if you can't bring yourself to use it, substitute unsalted butter). Here's the recipe (credit is due to the Sarah's Musings Blog, whose recipe I adapted for my levain)

Makes 8 2-1/2 inch biscuits

333 grams (about 2-1/2 cups) all-purpose unbleached flour
14 grams (1 Tbl) sugar
7 g (a scant 1 tsp) Kosher salt
10 g (2 tsp) baking power
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup lard or butter, frozen or very cold
180 grams (about 1 cup when frothy) levain 
115 grams, give or take (about 1/2 cup) milk

  1. Feed levain at least 2 hours before beginning.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients. Chop lard or butter into chunks and work into dry mixture with fingers until reduced to the size of peas. Do not overwork.
  4. Add levain and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add milk, mixing in, until dough just holds together. It should be a very tight dough.
  6. Using hands, knead lightly for a minute and push into a disk on a floured countertop, pushing it out gently and evenly until about 3/4 inch thick.
  7. Use a biscuit cutter to cut into biscuits, recombining dough and reforming as necessary.
  8. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper
  9. Bake about 30-35 minutes until just starting to turn brown on top.
  10. Serve immediately.


  1. These look fantastic. I respect you for the lard.

  2. I came across your "52 Loaves" book and other info about you when I was researching on you tube. I was trying to show my children videos on how wheat is threshed. I have always been fascinated by bread making and sharing the process with my children. My 6 year old loves this book, "How Batistine Made Bread." I also make bread with my kids sometimes. Do you know of a place where my kids can see all the processes in person--- harvesting wheat, to grinding at mill, to baking in an outdoor wood oven? I'll take some of the steps if I can't find all of them. We fly for free. Do you do all those steps at your home? Interested in some money for my bucket list activity with my 2 kids!? It would be a cute dream come true for all of us. You probaly don't need any money as you are an accomplished person and author. I figured what the heck, I'd contact you to see if I could get lucky. Thanks.



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