Sourdough discard makes a beautiful addition to shortcrust pastry, not only making it easier to work with and roll out, but also providing that wonderful signature tang that only sourdough can offer! If you are baking homemade tarts, mince pies or other delicious sweet treats for the family this weekend, why not try incorporating this simple flaky and buttery Sourodugh Shortcrust Pastry recipe into one of your bakes?
- Why Is Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry Better?
- Equipment Needed
- Method: How To Make Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry?
- Best Tips For Flaky Sourdough Pastry
- What To Use Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry For?
- Looking For More Ways To Use Sourdough Discard?
- Recipe Card
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Why Is Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry Better?
- Sourdough discard adds a lovely tang to both sweet and savoury pies and tarts.
- Sourdough flavour resonates very well with traditional pie and tart fillings like apples, pears, Christmas mincemeat and even custard. It also helps cut through very sweet fillings like caramel or chocolate.
- Sourdough shortcrust pastry is just as buttery and flaky but is a lot sturdier than regular shortcrust pastry. This means there is less chance of your tart case collapsing whilst baking or not being able to hold a heavy filling.
- Using sourdough in shortcrust pastry helps prevent digestive issues associated with sensitivity to gluten.
- What better way to use up some of that sourdough discard, right?
You do not need any special equipment to make sourdough shortcrust pastry, however, if you have a food processor, we highly recommend you use it. The key to flaky shortcrust pastry is keeping it cold and using your hands to rub the butter into the flour mixture may soften the butter too much. Making shortcrust pastry in a food processor eliminates this problem. We use, love and highly recommend a Kenwood Food Processor.
You will also need a metal spoon or a fork and a large bowl, as well as cling film or reusable beeswax paper to wrap your pastry in whilst it chills.
- plain flour: also known as all-purpose flour.
- butter: we use unsalted, fridge-cold butter. I recommend cutting the required amount into cubes and then placing them in the fridge to firm up again before adding the butter to the pastry.
- sourdough discard: again, it helps if your discard is fridge cold. Use a 100% hydration starter in this sourdough shortcrust recipe.
- icing sugar: also known as powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar. You may substitute it with caster/ superfine sugar.
- salt: skip the salt if you’re using salted butter.
- cold water: may or may not be needed in this recipe. Only add enough (if any) to be able to bring the pastry together, without making it wet or sticky.
Extra Notes On Sourdough Discard
- Make sure you keep your sourdough discard in the fridge up to the point when you need to add it to the pastry. A key to a flaky shortcrust pastry is keeping the butter cold, and adding room-temperature ingredients will increase the overall temperature of the pastry.
- For the measurements in this recipe to work, you will need a 100% hydration discard (unfed starter that’s made up of equal parts of flour and water).
- Use a starter that’s not been fed for 1-2 days. The old starter that hasn’t been fed for days will be too thin, and the baked shortcrust too sour.
Method: How To Make Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry?
Combine flour, icing sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl (or food processor if using).
Add the cubed cold butter, and using your fingertips, rub it into the flour mixture until the mixture resembled bread crumbs. Work quickly, ideally in a cold environment and with cold hands to ensure the butter doesn’t soften too much. If you have a food processor, we highly recommend using it. Simply pulse the mixture until the butter is mixed into the flour to look like breadcrumbs.
Add the sourdough starter discard and mix it in quickly, ideally using a cold metal spoon or a fork. It will clump together, but try and break it up in the flour/butter mixture as much as you can. If the mixture is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoon of water.
Tip the pastry onto a floured work surface and knead just enough to during it together into a ball. Flatten it out, then wrap it in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Use it to make pie crust, tarts, tartlets or pie tops (for recipes and inspiration see the notes below)!
Best Tips For Flaky Sourdough Pastry
Keep Everything Cold
First of all, make sure all of your ingredients are as cold as possible. Keep them in the fridge right up until the moment you need to add them to the pastry. Working in a cold environment, and even cooling down your hands by washing them with cold water will make a difference in how flaky your pastry will turn out. If you’re using a food processor, place the blade of it in the fridge or freezer beforehand too!
Not only will your butter soften more if you work slowly, but the gluten in the flour will have time to further develop as you work the pastry. Working quickly will ensure that the tiny bits of butter will create a flaky pastry, and the dough that’s not been overhandled will make the pastry very crisp and melt-in-the-mouth.
Chill The Pasty Before Rolling It Out
Not only will the dough firm up and won’t crumble as much when you’re rolling it out, but leaving the sourdough pastry in the fridge for a few hours encourages fermentation in the flour, making it more tender and easier to digest.
Store the sourdough pastry tightly wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for up to 3 days. Lactic acid bacteria in your sourdough discard will ensure your pastry stays fresh! Note that the longer you keep your pastry in the fridge, the stronger the sourdough tang you’ll get.
Just like regular shortcrust pastry, it freezes very well. You may freeze a block of pastry, or roll it out and freeze it in tart cases and tartlet moulds, if you wish. The pre-shaped pastry should be baked from frozen, whilst a block of shortcrust pastry though be thawed in the fridge and then rolled.
What To Use Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry For?
Pies, tarts, galettes, tartlets, mince pies… wow, my head is spinning even thinking about the endless opportunities to employ this beautiful sourdough pastry! We love making our Sourdough Mice Pies for Christmas! But if you’re reading outside of the Christmas period, here are some of our favourite evergreen recipes that use shortcrust pastry:
- French Fruit Tart (Tarte Aux Fruits)
- The Best Chorizo Quiche With Tomatoes
- Brandy Pecan Pie
- Melktert | South African Milk Tart
Looking For More Ways To Use Sourdough Discard?
We have you covered. We know how it goes… Baking with sourdough always comes with the never-ending search for delicious discard recipes. We absolutely love making savoury snacks with discard, such as Herby Sourdough Crackers or Cheese Crackers as well as Fruit And Seed Sourdough Crackers that go beautifully with any cheeseboard.
For more recipes, visit our Sourdough Discard Recipe Section.
Buttery Sourdough Shortcrust Pastry
- Food Processor optional
- 120 g plain flour
- 80 g butter fridge-cold, cubed
- 70 g sourdough discard 100% hydration
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cold water may not be needed
- Combine flour, icing sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl (or food processor if using).
- Add the cubed cold butter, and using your fingertips, rub it into the flour mixture until the mixture resembled bread crumbs. Work quickly, ideally in a cold environment and with cold hands to ensure the butter doesn't soften too much. If you have a food processor, we highly recommend using it. Simply pulse the mixture until the butter is mixed into the flour to look like breadcrumbs.
- Add the sourdough starter discard and mix it in quickly, ideally using a cold metal spoon or a fork, in a chopping manner, to break the starter up. If the mixture is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoon of water.
- Tip the pastry onto a floured work surface and knead just enough to during it together into a ball. Flatten it out, then wrap it in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- Use it in to make pie crust, tarts, tartlets or pie tops (for recipes and inspiration see the notes below)!