Making the Perfect Scone: Take your time!
Scones: we love them, who doesn’t it? Buttery, often sweet – what’s not to love? But if you’re wanting to make them at home, they often prove to be a rather poor comparison to the lovely scones found in restaurants and bakeries. So we’re here to help!
No, we’re not giving away the farm and revealing our ultra-tasty scone recipe, but we wanted to provide a few simple tips for the next time you make scones at home. The key: take your time! Making scones is not a quick process.
First, a bit of Scone History:
Scones are traditionally connected with Scotland, Ireland and England, but exactly who deserves the honor of invention, no one knows for sure. Originally, scones were made with oats, shaped into a large round, scored into four or six wedges (triangles) and griddle-baked over an open fire (later, a stovetop). With the advent of oven baking, the round of dough was cut into wedges and the scones were baked individually.
Today’s scones are quick breads, similar to American biscuits. They are traditionally made with wheat flour, sugar, baking powder or baking soda, butter, milk and eggs, and baked in the oven—both in the traditional wedge form and in round, square and diamond shapes.
How to Make the Perfect Scone:
1. Use the right flour. Use a soft, low protein flour, such as aquality pastry flour. You want soft, tender scones and too much protein leads to too much gluten which makes your scones chewy.
2. Keep your ingredients cold. Temperature is critical to buttery, flakey scones. Start with very cold butter—it should chip when you cut it into chunks and your liquids should be ice cold. Before you start, measure your milk or water and put it in the freezer for ten minutes. Consider chilling your mixing bowl before mixing. Work with the dough quickly to keep it cool.
3. Don’t work your dough too much. Kneading converts the protein to gluten. Mix only until the ingredients come together into a combined mass.
4. Use a folding technique to produce flaky, layered scones. Roll the dough out to about 3/8-inch thick. Fold the dough in half and in half again and again. Roll the dough out to about 3/4-inch thick before cutting the scones.
5. Use a ruler. For appearance’s sake (if you would like nice, neat scones), use a ruler both as a straightedge to cut against and to measure equally-sized scones.
6. Leave the cut edges of the scones alone. Patting the edges with your fingers melds the edges so that the scone will not rise as nicely or have a flakey, layered structure.
7. Don’t over-bake your scones. Over-baking for even a minute or two will dry your scones out. As soon as the edges begin to turn brown, remove them from the oven. Immediately, place the scones on a wire rack—the hot pan will continue to cook, and therefor dry, the scones.
Storage tip: can be frozen for up to three months. Reheat them at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Probe the inside of the scone to make sure that it is warm.
Ready to try? Check out this recipe from Food Network: Dried Cherry Almond Scones. They’re delicious!