Scones are a deceptive breed, as while they may seem like a simple bake without many ingredients – getting the scones to come out of the oven perfect can be challenging for even the best bakers. Scone making is an art in and of itself, and with so few ingredients they rely on technical precision and quality to really shine.
Don’t get scared though, we’ve come up with the ultimate tips to help get those perfect scones every time.
1. Keep it Chill!
Cold butter important for rubbing butter into the flour mixture. It creates pockets of butter throughout the dough that melt in oven creating an overall crumbly texture. It also helps prevent gluten development when you add the milk/ liquid . When the butter is not cold your at risk of getting a chewy bread like texture, resembling damper.
2. Don’t skimp on the liquids.
Because you have so few ingredients, the quality of your ingredients is important, and this especially applies to the liquids. Never use skim-milk as it will affect the texture of your scones, at the very least use full cream milk or cream. However, many experienced scone makers use buttermilk as their liquid of choice, citing that it helps make the scones really light. This is because buttermilk can assist in leavening, as buttermilk produces carbon dioxide which will help your scones rise.
2. Do not over knead!
Over kneading is the death of a good scone, the delicate creatures that they are. You want to handle your dough gently and as little as possible, otherwise your dough will become tough and won’t be as fluffy. We wouldn’t recommend using a food processor to prepare your scones as you’ll be more at risk of overmixing, so you might want to stick to the good old-fashioned handmade dough this once.
3. Careful on the cutting!
Make sure to dip your scone cutter into plain flour to avoid it sticking onto your mix. You also want to make sure that when you’re cutting your scones that you cut straight down, and don’t twist the cutter. Twisting the cutter can make the dough stick together and prevent it from rising to its full potential. Fun fact: really good scone dough makes a little puff or air when you cut them (that’s how you know you’re onto something really good).
4. Closeness is key!
Make sure to keep your scones close together on the baking tray. This helps for multiple reasons. One, when they help butt each other up it helps keep the moisture in and stops them from drying out. Secondly it will help them rise a little bit higher, because they’re supporting each other and there’s no room for them to go anywhere but up. The ladies at the Country Women’s Association may consider this tip cheating, but we promise we won’t tell.
Sometimes all it takes is a few tries. We learn from our mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make them and improve on them next time. When you feel like a pro you can start adding fun additions such as herbs, spices, fruit, cheese, or chocolate chips.
Now go forth without fear in your hearts and make those scones!