Summer is here. Bake something summery :)

February 01, 2012

The Daring Bakers' Challenge: Traditional Scones

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

All I can say is WOW! Audax has made 16 batches and browsed through more then 200 recipes!! How crazy is that? Don't get me wrong, I armire him so much! He's provided us with so many useful pieces of advice and explained everything! Literally, I swear. He made scones sound so great I had to make them the moment I read the challenge for January which was on the first of January :) I've never baked any challange recipe this soon!!


Scone is a traditional small Scottish quick bread. They are usually made of flour, baking powder, butter, milk, salt and sugar. It's a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. A cream tea is a tea served with scones. clotted cream and jam usually in the afternoon. Scones are called biscuits in North America. This pastry is very popular in English speaking countries, e.g. Australia, the UK, America, Ireland etc.


The original scone was round and flat, usually the size of a medium size plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle, then cut into triangle-like quadrants for serving. Today, many would call the large round cake a bannock, and call the quadrants scones. In Scotland, the words are often used interchangeably. When baking powder became available to the masses, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items we know today. (Wikipedia.org)


Scones (biscuits) contain only a small number of ingredients they are fast to make, quick to bake, only cost cents per batch and most importantly are super FUN to eat. In England and Australia scones are eaten with jam and butter (or clotted cream) usually with cups of tea or coffee mostly as a sweet snack, while in North America they are usually eaten with meals as a savoury side. (Audax's notes)


Since I am a bit crazy when it comes to baking, too, I couldn't resist and make a research on my own :D I browsed a huge lot of websites and even books (though I don't think it was more than 200 :D) and found out the recipes for scones don't differ too much. I made one batch of scones using my recipe and one batch using Audax's recipe. My-recipe scones didn't have the smooth look, were rather airy than flaky but raised quite a lot. On the other hand, Audax's-recipe scones had the smooth look, raised a bit more and were flaky when cut through. For the ultimate comparison see Verdict :)


Now let's move to the ingredients. Try to use plain flour rather than all-purpose - the plain is more finely ground and produces lighter and well-raised scones though you'll get good results with all-purpose flour, too :) When it comes to fat, use butter, no exceptions! Nothing makes your scones as flavorful as real butter!

So here I have for you my recipe. I think I can dare to say it's traditional :) By the way, don't forget to come back! I've prepared one more scone variation I'm about to share with you soon :) And now let's make some divine scones :)
Ingredients:
225g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour, sifted
35g (1/5 cup) caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
50g (1/5 cup) cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
150ml (2/3 cup) milk
1 egg for eggwash

Directions:
Whisk together sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Rub the butter pieces into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs. Now mix in sugar and pour in milk. Using a wooden spatula, mix until it just forms a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. Using your hands, knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 2,5cm thick. Using a well-floured 5 cm scone cutter (or cookie cutter), stamp out without twisting rounds, gently reform the scraps into another 2,5cm thick layer and cut more scones. Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the cookie sheet if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with eggwash. Bake in preheated oven to 200C for about 10-15 minutes or until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

  • Serve with either clotted cream or butter and homemade jam. The type of jam (or preserve) is completely up to you, but it tastes better with sourer types. I preffer red currant, apricot, raspberry or blackberry preserves :)
  • Eat them as soon as possible otherwise they become tough and dry. My tip is freezing the leftover scones asap and lightly reheating them in oven when you want to eat them.

Verdict:
So, I tried both my version and challenge version. Even though I prefer the smooth look of Audax's scones, I find them a little bit on the dry side. They have wonderful butter taste and beautiful flaky texture but I miss some other flavor in the dough - I'd increase salt a bit and add sugar (the lack of it surprised me). As for mine, they don't look as good as Audax's, but they have crispy crust and very soft inside. They're quite moist (which is quite strange because the recipe uses much less liquid than the challenge one) with suble salty and sweet taste that makes nice contrast. The butter flavor is awesome :D To summarize it, I enjoyed both versions but prefer the more traditional recipe which I based on my own research. Anyway, they taste divine with butter and homemade jam or even Nutella :)

16 comments:

  1. So cool of you to find the perfect scone for your taste well done on this challenge. Beautiful beautiful photos as well a great job on making scone. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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    1. Thank you, Audax! You've done such a great job on this challenge - providing us with so many tips and techniques, you truly are an amazin baker!

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  2. Catalina los scones tradicionales son una delicia de nunca acabar,me encantan lucen hermoso,abrazos hugs,hugs.

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    1. Rosita, muchas gracias por tu comentario muy amable :)

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  3. I love that you made a comparison chart! Your photos are gorgeous as always, Catalina! I agree with you, this challenge was so amazing, yet so simple we just want to keep on making more :)

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    1. Thank you :) I haden't noticed the differences until I made the comparison photo :D Exactly! I would say it's one of the best challenges ever :)

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  4. These are the scones I love the most....simple and traditional. They turned out fantastic.

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    1. Thank you :) You're right - the simpler the better though with some choc chips or raisins added to the dough makes them pretty irresistible too :D

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  5. I am not a fan of plain scones, preferring ones that have something added so they can be eaten by themselves. Very neat idea to make a side-by-side comparison. Audax wrote down a number of interesting suggestions.

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    1. To be honest, I ate a huge lot of them even without butter or anything else added, but anyway, they're great with rasins/currants or even cranberries :) Oh yes, Audax is always so creative and full of ideas!

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  6. These biscuits look delicioius! I agree with liking the smooth tops of Audax's recipe, but I found it not buttery enough. Of course, the recipe I usually use uses twice as much butter as Aud's recipe.... :D

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    1. Thank you! Wow, twice as much butter? That sounds butterlicious! Yum :)

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  7. I thought I had left a comment on this recipe before, but today I realized I just *thought* about it. Anyway, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed when I saw a biscuit here and not a scone (for me, scones are the sweet-ish ones, often baked in a triangular shape). However, your post made the realize the connection between the two -silly me, I had never realized that!
    One the other hand, I also have to admit that your biscuits look fantastic and that they have a place in my to-bake list.

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    1. I know that feeling :D Sometimes the names can be so confusing! I have a hard time - not always but sometimes - finding out what is what as many of the items I bake don't come from my cuisine :D Anyways, I really glad my scones found their way to your list :) Thank you!

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  8. I would like to invite you to join me at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week! http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/11/clever-chicks-blog-hop-10.html

    I hope you can make it!
    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the invitation. I'll join next week :) Have a nice day!

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