Butteries - a Scottish delicacy - sourdough version help


Hi folks. I have not posted here yet but we've been making s/d for a while now and culturing other foods, brewing beer etc, so wild yeasts and microbes are familiar to us. :-)


Anyway, I love experimenting... I come from ne Scotland where we have this amazing lovely delicacy called the Buttery - it's basically a flattish yeasted roll made with butter and or lard.


Course now I want to make a sourdough batch but there is no recipe for this..... I wondered if I posted a recipe using unwild yeast, if someone could give me any hints for converting it to sourdough. Here it is (taken from www.ScottishRecpies.co.uk)


Butteries/Rowies/Aberdeen rolls


250g butter
125g lard
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
500g flour
2 teaspoons of dried yeast
450ml warm water
Pinch of salt

Aberdeen Butteries

Baking Directions For Aberdeen Butteries:

1. Make a paste from the yeast, sugar and a wee bit of the warm water and set aside.

2. Mix the flour and the salt together. Once the yeast has bubbled up add this and mix well to a dough and leave to rise.

3. Cream the butter and lard and divide into three portions.

4. Once the dough has doubled in size give it a good knead then roll into a rectangle about 1cm thick.

5. Then spread one portion of the butter mixture over two thirds of the dough.

6. Fold the remining third of the dough over onto the butter mixture and fold the other bit over - giving three layers. Roll this back to the original size.

7. Allow to cool for 40 minutes.

8. Repeat stages 5-7 twice more.

9. Cut the dough into 16 pieces and shape each to a rough circle and place on baking trays.

10. Set aside to rise for about 45 minutes then bake at 200c for 15 minutes.

I was thinking of making a levain of around 200g (100% hydration) with white bread flour, and using that instead of the yeast mixture, mixing in the water and flour to it.

I'm wondering how long to leave the dough to rise in step 2 - normally for white bread sourdough I leave it for the afternoon, doing a few kneadings, and a final one 4 hrs before cooking, cooking it around 8pm, so that'd be around 7hrs total proving.


The levain would be fermented for 24 hrs before making up this buttery dough. The butter folding in bit is fine....


How long to leave it in step 10? Longer than 45 mins? we normally leave loaves for up to 4 hrs for this final bit but maybe rolls are quicker?


Any insights gratefully recieved.



324 users have voted.


Muff 2011 February 22

These things sound wonderful! Obviously not that far from croissant dough. They must be a rare treat.

Well, I don't know the answer to your question. But I'm going to make a guess, and then a suggestion.

My guess is that it'll take longer with the sour than with the dried yeast.

My suggestion is that if you make them up and stick them in the refrigerator overnight you can pop one into a hot oven every 20-30 minutes starting at your convenience in the morning. After all, you've got 16 chances! I'd take the made up butteries out of the fridge all at the same time and turn on the oven. Once the oven was up to temperature I'd put in the first. When it came out I'd put in the second, and so on. By the time you get half-way through the batch you'll have your answer, and then you have to come back and tell us. (I suspect it won't take 4 hours because the smaller pieces warm through faster than the big ones.)

Sound fair?

Good luck,


lucyd 2011 February 23

Thanks Muff


Good idea about the baking - trial and error! I am less worried about the cooking time actually as I have made rolls a few times the other way, and do masses of baking in general.... but you are right. It would be a good chance to see what works without ruining the whole lot. I will try this if I have time tonight.


I will let you know how it goes, going to bake them tonight...!



Ed Friday 2023 February 4

Do you bake them on an oiled baking tray?  The Hairy Bakers did it that way but a local, who used to know Dave when he lived here, told me it should be a floured tray...  Also is it bread flour or plain flour?  

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 February 22

 Just a shot in the dark but this is what I would try.

Flour 473 grams

Water 425 grams

Salt    7 grams

Brown Sugar 12 grams

Preferment at 90% hydration 95 grams

This is for your dough.  I would mix all of this but the salt into a shaggy mass and let it sit for 30 minutes.  Then add the salt and finish mixing.

Now based on how I make croissants I would make the rectangle now and add the butter lard mixture and do the folds.  Then place the dough in the fridge for an hour and then bring it out and do the folds again.  The original directions say to do this twice so put it into the fridge an wait and hour and do it again.  You can leave it in the fridge if you don't think you have enough time to complete the task in one day.

Next take the dough out of the fridge and shape the dough into the circles.  When I make croissants I let them rise until they start to feel puffy.  I check them every hour with a simple poke test.  If you are doing loaves for 4 hours that would be a good starting place for this.  The yeast and bacteria will grow at the same rate as a loaf would.  They might be a little bit slower because they don't have the mass to keep the warmth that the yeast generates as it ferments.

Sounds like an interesting recipe let me know how it turns out, I might like to try it.

lucyd 2011 February 23

Hi LeadDog


That sounds like a good plan, pretty much what I have ALREADY done today - I couldn't wait. I have based the dough on my normal white flour sourdough which is from the Handmade Bread book and works every time. I have made the dough quite soft and it's been sitting in the cold kitchen for most of the afternoon. Shortly I am going to do the butter part and shape them, then leave them to prove for a couple of hours or so b4 baking.


I used approx

300g flour

180g water - did this roughly as I got mixed up but enogh to make soft dough

100g levain at 100% hydration

pinch salt

no sugar (I forgot)

150g butter (original recipe being 2x flour to butter)


I used roughly half the quantities for the white bread loaf but got a bit confused by the water, being careless and not reading properly, and had to add a bit more flour to get a good softish dough. It has been proving for the afternoon. I like a long prove to enable fuller digestion of the flour (for health reasons), so I would always do as long as poss (our normal loaves prove for 10-12 hours or so depending on temps etc - I did a magic sourdough spelt stollen at Xmas that had a very long overnight proving and worked very well).


Butteries are not light and fluffy like croissants but a bit more leathery - they are meant to be that way. Not hard and chewy, but not flaky, and a bit denser than a croissant. So I think a slightly shorter proving time than for a loaf will be fine. As  you can see in the pic, they are quite flat (heavy with butter!!!!).


they are gorgeous filled with bacon - I do a BLT with mine

or with butter and jam for a sweet version

people actually just butter the underside of them and eat, or eat au naturel

freshly baked butteries are heavenly!

i often taunt myself by asking if i could live without butteries or croissants - which would I choose?



Blue Northern 2011 February 24

 I'm from south of the border but I lurrrve butteries so thanks even for the original recipe - MUST give it a go. I'm not good enough to give advice but am interested to know how it went with the levain.

lucyd 2011 February 25

Well......... omg, were they good.


 sourdough butteries


They look pretty much like the shop ones. But they were subtly different. For one thing, I used all butter instead of butter and lard. For another, they were slightly less bready and slightly more crispy. Not a bad thing at all. They were lovely fresh out the oven, and lie a true scientist I left two overnight (the rest were scoffed by the family immediately) to see how they changed, as the shop ones are usually at least one day old. They did get more like the shop ones but still were a litte more pastry-like than those.


I didn't leave them long enough for the final prove. In the end, although I had planned to leave them for 3-4hrs, I cooked them after 1.5 as they seemed to have risen a lot and I didn't want big puffballs. They are supposed to be flat, about 1.5-2cm tall. I rolled them out to 1cm and they seemed to double in size v quickly despite having been in the fridge for 2x40 mins between butter treatments. Next time I will roll them thinner and leave them longer to get a more bready effect.


I am also going to use sligthly less butter next time as I feel the balance was a wee bit out. One thing I noted was that the butter seeps out during cooking, so they kind of fry in the tray, and then when I left them in the tray to cool, the butter was reabsorbed. So they do need to cool a bit in the tray before lifting on to a rack. They need a bit of rack cooling to crisp them off a bit. You need to use a tray with sides for this butter reason!


They needed a good 20 mins in a fan oven at 190-200C, and the ones on the top shelf cooked perfectly. The ones underneath had an extra few mins on the to shelf to brown off. They are meant to be a rich golden brown.


Historically these were made with butter/lard, and they would have been very rich and buttery, like my ones. Now many bakers use veg oil which is not the real deal at all (probably soy, and inedible to humans). So mine were, although a little different, probably more like the originals, I think.


I am always torn between trying to replicate something, and just finding my own unique groove, and in this case the latter probably makes for a nicer buttery. My family were overwhelmed by their niceness anyway!!!!


Next time I will do a shorter prove b4 the butter, spread the butter more thinly and roll in it more, and do a longer prove after the final buttering. The butter was probably just not worked in quite enough as there was a bit of layering going on in the final product, which is not normal in butteries!!!!


I have so many years' experience of baking and cooking (nearly 40 years, and I am 42 btw!!!), that I like to feel my way, judge by eye and touch. So, yes, mine are probably always going to be unique, and I celebrate that! My sourdough culture is unique anyhow.


Midnite Baker's picture
Midnite Baker 2011 February 25

Hi Lucy, 

 I hope you will post your Sourdough Butteries version after you perfect it on this thread.  I would love to  make these.  And I'd like to compare the yeasted vs. the sourdough versions.  M

Terz 2011 April 12

Hi Lucy,

 I was a student in Aberdeen and still remember buying butteries from the back door of a bakery on Kings Street on the way home from the pubs and clubs in the early hours of the morning.  My mouth is watering at the thought of fresh butteries and I hope you perfect your recipe and share it with us.


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