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  • Michele Genest

Sourough Boot Camp Day Four

Updated: May 22, 2020

A day of feeding the starter, baking Sourdough Buttermilk Cranberry Scones, and feeding your friends and family

Sourdough Buttermilk Cranberry Scones

Hello bootcampers! Let’s get right to Day Four’s activities: feeding the starter and baking scones.

First, remove 200 g (about 1 cup) of your starter and pour it into a clean medium-sized bowl.

You should have about 80 g (close to ½ cup) of starter left. Scrape that starter into a clean jar or bowl.


80 g (about ½ cup) flour

100 g (about ⅓ cup and 2 Tbsp) warm water

Mix, cover, and return starter to its warm place.

Onto the scones!

Sourdough Buttermilk Cranberry Scones

[adapted from The Boreal Gourmet cookbook]

These scones are dense and soft, great fresh on the first day and toasted on the second. The leavening comes from baking powder and baking soda; the sourdough starter is there to add flavour and moisture.

Sourdough scone batter, just before adding berries. The holes are crackly bubbles, evidence of the reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk or yogurt.


200 g (about 1 cup) sourdough starter

1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (not Greek---you need a more liquid yogurt; if you only have Greek, use ¾ cup yogurt and ¼ cup milk)

150 g (about 1 cup) all purpose flour

1 large egg, beaten

3 Tbsp melted butter, cooled

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

additional 225 to 300 g (1½ to 2 cups) all purpose flour

1 cup berries—low bush cranberry, blueberry or raspberry, fresh or frozen


  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the starter and the buttermilk or yogurt together until combined. Stir in the first 175 g (1 cup) flour.

  3. Whisk together the cooled melted butter and egg, and add to the dough.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir into the dough—you will probably notice some leavening action as the baking soda reacts with the buttermilk or yogurt.

  5. Stir in 250 g flour (1½ cups), reserving the final 75 g (½ cup)—you may not need it, especially if you used yogurt rather than buttermilk.

  6. The flour should be fully hydrated, and the dough cohesive and elastic and still somewhat sticky, clinging to the spoon but easy to remove with a floured hand.

  7. Add more flour only if the dough seems too wet and sticky.

  8. Stir in berries.

  9. To make the classic wedge-shaped scones, divide the dough in two with a spatula or dough scraper. With floured hands, gather one half and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. With a floured knife, cut into 8 even sized wedges. Repeat with remaining dough.

  10. For large drop scones, scoop half-cup portions of dough and drop onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. For small drop scones (handy for hikes or mid-afternoon snacks), drop dough from a dessert spoon, leaving about 1 inch of space between. (Sometimes I mix it up and make a combination of wedges, large drop scones and small drop scones.)

  11. Bake small scones for 15 minutes, large drop scones for 20 minutes, and wedges for 25 minutes.

Makes 16 wedge scones, 15 large drop scones and about 30 small drop scones.

Wedge scones, ready for the oven

Large drop scones and small drop scones

There. You’ve done it! Enjoy that cup of tea. Bring extra scones to the neighbour. Freeze some for later. Take the rest of the day off (ha!).

Tomorrow we'll be making Sourdough Popovers. You'll need milk, flour, salt, flour and eggs.

Cautionary Tale Update

Further to Day Three, my cheesy starter no longer smells cheesy, but has taken on the aroma of nail polish remover. Also new to me, but apparently normal.

My sourdough starter, Day Four

I’ve removed 200 g and discarded it. Then stirred in today’s flour and water, and will report back tomorrow.

For today’s scones, I used discarded, inactive starter from my existing starter in the fridge to approximate what bootcampers are doing.

My advice: If you don’t like the smell of your starter, discard what you remove, feed the remaining starter and wait until tomorrow to bake.

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