SOUR DOUGH BISCUITS by "Pepper" Martin, 1964

Ranch Style

One of the most important items in making and keeping Sour Dough Biscuits going is a proper container for the "starter," the best one being an earthenware crock with a good lid, close fitting but not air tight. DO NOT use a tin container as the sourness of the dough will cause a poison. The size of the container will depend on the number of people you have to cook for and the amount of "starter" you wish to keep made up. For the following recipe a 3-quart to gallon size crock is sufficient. If the container is too small, the sponge will run out when it starts "working."


1 cake of yeast or 1 pkg. Fleishmann's dry yeast dissolved in 2 pints of warm water.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar
Add 2 pints of flour
Mix in crock and let rise until very light and slightly aged, 24 to 48 hours, but do not let it get too sour and do not let the sponge chill.


Form a nest or hollow in pan of sifted flour. Pour approximately 2 cups of "starter" into the hollow; add 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 tablespoon sugar; 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder sprinkled over sponge. Mix well to a soft firm dough. Turn out on a lightly floured board. Opinions differ among chuck wagon cooks about what to use to roll biscuits, some think a Four Roses bottle is best, while others use Three Feathers or Old Crow, as for myself, I pat the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the biscuits with a small cutter (10 cent Bak. Powdr. can is good) and put into well greased pans. Tin plates give excellent results. Grease tops of biscuits generously.

Sour Dough Biscuits, like cowboys, need a rest, so at this point set them in a warm place to rise from 3 to 5 minutes before baking. Bake in a very hot oven, 500 degrees, until nicely browned, 10 or 12 minutes.

The closer the biscuits are crowded into the pan for baking the higher they will rise. The heat for baking Sour Dough Biscuits is a very important factor. Preheat the oven so that you are sure of a steady high temperature at the time the biscuits are put into the oven.

If you have some dough left after making Sour Dough Biscuits, do not throw it away, but return it to the crock with the "starter", add a cup of warm water and the amount of flour to mix to consistency of first "starter." If a larger amount of "starter" is desired, add more water and flour. Set aside until biscuit time again. You never have to add yeast after the first time.

For best results your "starter" should be used daily, If not used often it will get sour and die, then you will have to make a new starter. In case it gets a little sour by not using it for two or three days, especially in warm weather, it will still give good results by adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of soda dissolved in a little warm water along with the baking powder. Do not be discouraged if your first Sour Dough Biscuits are not a howling success as the "starter" improves with age. Some cooks are known to have kept the same "starter" going for years.

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