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Perfect plain scones recipe

Perfect plain scones recipe



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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • Scones

These scones are far from plain! They are lightly sweetened, soft, fluffy and delicious. Serve with lashings of clotted cream and jam for a superior afternoon tea.

504 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 375g self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 250ml milk

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C / Gas 7. Dust a baking tray with a little self-raising flour.
  2. Sift the 375g flour into a medium bowl and add the caster sugar. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Gradually add the milk and use a blunt knife to mix until the dough begins to come together (reserve a little milk for brushing). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to form the dough.
  4. Flatten dough with palm of your hand until about 2cm thick (or use a rolling pin). Use a 5cm round cutter or a drinking glass to cut out your scones. Arrange on the prepared baking tray 1cm apart and brush with the leftover milk.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown and risen. Remove from the oven and serve warm, or allow to cool and serve cold.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(34)

Reviews in English (34)

really pleased with how they came out very easy to make thank you-19 Sep 2011

this recipe was easy to make and delicious definitely a recipe to keep thankyou-02 Sep 2012

lovely scones and very simple recipe to follow. I've never made scones before and was pleased with my first attempt. Thanks for sharing this recipe.-02 Apr 2013


How to make plain scones

The joy of scones is that you can make them from storecupboard ingredients and they're ready in half an hour.

Requiring very few ingredients, and ones that you will most likely have already in either your storecupboard or fridge, scones are the perfect go to bake. Best enjoyed with clotted cream and your favourite jam.

&bull Sifting your flour will aerate it and help make a light and fluffy scone.

&bull It's very important to use cold butter when making scones. This will result in a light and fluffy finish because the butter will melt in the oven creating layers in the dough, rather than melting during the rubbing in process, resulting in a greasy and doughy finish.

&bull Pat or roll the scone dough to at least 2.5cm thick. If you overwork it or make it any thinner, the scones will be dense and heavy.

&bull When cutting out your scones, it's important not to twist the cutter, but rather press down, lift up and push the dough out. This will result in a more even rise when cooking.

&bull Arranging you scones around 2.5cm apart on the baking tray will help keep them moist during the cooking process because the steam released when cooking will stop them from drying out.

&bull You can make a cheat's version of a scone using self-raising flour, double cream and lemonade. And you can use either cloudy or clear lemonade.

self-raising flour, plus extra to dust

2-ס tbsp buttermilk or milk, plus extra to glaze

Preheat the oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan oven) mark 7. Sift the flour into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix. Add the butter, cut into small cubes, then lightly rub in with fingertips until mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add sugar and stir in.

Put the egg into a jug, add 2tbsp of the buttermilk or milk and beat together. Make a well in the centre of the crumble and add the egg mixture. Using a round-bladed knife, mix the egg gradually into the crumble. As the dough forms, bring it together with your hands it should be soft but not sticky. If it feels dry, add extra buttermilk or milk, 1tsp at a time. Shape the dough into a rough ball, then pat into a round.

Lightly flour a clean worksurface and a rolling pin. Gently roll out the dough to at least 2.5cm thick. Dip a 5cm cutter in flour. Cut out each scone by placing the cutter on the dough and giving it a quick push down-wards. Don't twist the cutter just lift it and ease the dough out. You'll get five or six scones out of the round. Gather the trimmings, re-roll to the same thickness and cut more, repeating until you have a total of eight.

Dust a large baking tray with flour and arrange the scones on it. Lightly brush each one with buttermilk or milk, then dust with a little more flour. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 10-12min, or until well risen and golden. Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool for 5min or until just warm. Slice them in half and serve with unsalted butter or with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

If you can&rsquot find buttermilk, use the same volume of whole milk, add 1tsp lemon and leave to curdle for 10min before using.


2. Scone Recipe

Ingredients (for 8 scones):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream plus more for brushing the tops
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Glaze:

Directions:

  1. As the first step, preheat oven to 200 C, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Then, add the cold cubed butter and use a fork to cut it into the dry ingredients until you have pea-sized crumbs.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk the heavy whipping cream, egg, and vanilla extract until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them well. The scone mixture may be a little crumbly at this point, but that is okay.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface and work it in a ball and then flatten into a circle (7 inch). Cut the scone dough into 8 equal pieces and place on the baking sheet, leaving a little room between them. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Bring the scones out and brush their tops with a little heavy whipping cream. If you do not add glaze, top them with coarse sugar if you like. Bake in the preheated for 18 to 22 minutes until the tops are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Vanilla Glaze:

  1. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk and if the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  2. Top the scones with the glaze and let harden for 10 to 15 minutes, and then serve.

3. Farmhouse Scones Recipe

Like Devonshire scones, these are perfect for a morning snack or afternoon treat.

Ingredients (for 8 servings):

  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 50 g low fat spread
  • 75 g sultanas
  • 1 tbsp. heat stable
  • 2 tbsp. low fat yogurt
  • 90 ml skimmed milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C. In a mixing bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the low fat spread and rub it in until mixed. Then add the sultanas and heat stable. Stir in the yoghurt and enough milk to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  2. Transfer onto a floured surface, knead lightly and roll out to 2 cm thick. Using a 5 cm fluted cutter, cut out as many scones as possible. Gather the trimming, re-roll and cut out again.
  3. Glaze with a little extra milk. Place on a greased baking tray and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen. Serve warm with jam.

THE PERFECT SCONE: 8 tips to make the best, plus my favourite recipe.

Some years ago I became obsessed with baking perfect scones. Light, airy scones topped with clotted cream and jam were my idea of a great afternoon treat, and still are. I’ve spent some time perfecting my technique and here are eight tips I’ve collected over the years from different sources.

● If your recipe calls for milk rather than buttermilk, then add an 1/8 teaspoon of lemon juice to the milk before adding it to the rest of the scone mixture. This acid reacts with the raising agents to help the scones rise.

● Don’t overwork the mixture as this will make it tough. Knead the dough a couple of times so it becomes smooth and then roll or pat it to the desired thickness.

● Delia Smith is clear on what that thickness should be – at least 3cm/just over 1”. I find 2.5cm/1” is enough but it certainly shouldn’t be thinner than that.

● Beaten egg or milk are commonly painted on top of scones to give them a light brown, cooked appearance. Beaten egg is best. Paul Hollywood mentions that any glaze shouldn’t dribble down the sides of the scone as this will inhibit an even rise.

● Preheat the oven and the baking tray together so that the shaped dough scone is dropped straight onto a hot surface.

● Once you’ve made your dough, aim to get it into the oven as soon as possible. This is because the raising process starts the moment the ingredients are combined and you want this process to happen in a hot oven.

● Scones are wonderful eaten while still just warm from the oven. My God-mother produces great scones that she bakes in large batches, stores in her freezer and warms just before serving.

● Finally, the Leith’s Techniques Bible says you should only cut downwards when shaping the dough mix. A twisting action results in uneven rising and therefore uneven baking of the scone.

Now you know how to make the perfect scones, have a look at my go to scone recipe which comes from BBC Good Food – an amazing resource. Then you just need to decide which goes on first – clotted cream or jam!


Scones Tips:

What if my dough is too sticky? As noted above, it’s normal for the dough to be a little bit sticky, but it should still be workable. If it’s not workable, this is probably either because there’s not enough flour, or the butter got too warm. So first, try to weigh the flour if possible. There is already so much variation between cup measuring and brands, and weighing the flour will help ensure proper proportions. Next, try to assess if the dough needs more flour, or if it’s too warm. For example, if the butter you used is softened above 70 degrees F (or if you used the microwave softening feature for a bit too long), the butter may be too warm by the time you’re working with it. Popping the dough into the fridge will firm the butter slightly, and may help you roll it out. Or, you can add just enough flour to the outside to roll it out, then cut the pieces.

How to reheat scones: Bake in a 300F oven for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through. You can also cut them in half and toast them.

Can scones be made ahead? Yes. Like any baked good, these are best fresh, but they’re still fantastic the next day. Reheat them per the instructions above, or bake from frozen.

How to freeze scones: You can either freeze scones baked or unbaked. To freeze baked scones, let them cool to room temperature, then freeze in an airtight bag for up to 2 months. To freeze unbaked scones, make the recipe up to cutting the dough circles, then bake the circles straight from frozen for 5 extra minutes, or until cooked through.

Why did my scones not rise as high as yours? First, make sure you’re using fresh baking powder, one that has been opened less than 6 months ago. Also, if you knead the dough too much, the scones won’t rise as tall. Knead gently, and just enough to bring the dough together. Adding more flour also prevents the dough from rising as high, so only dust lightly.

How long will scones keep? At room temperature, for a few days. In the fridge, for a couple weeks. In the freezer, a couple months.

What to serve with scones: Jam, clotted cream, and butter are my favorites.

Here’s a video I made for the scones, if you’d like some more visuals on the process:


Recipe Summary

  • 4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup light cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mixing lightly with your fingers, add heavy cream just until dough holds together. Wrap in plastic and chill about 1/2 hour before rolling out.

Butter a large baking sheet set aside. Roll dough into a circle, 1/2 inch thick for small scones and 3/4 inch thick for larger ones. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut dough into various shapes. Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet.

Combine egg and light cream in a small bowl brush tops of scones with mixture. Bake until golden brown and puffed, 13 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.


How to make English Scones:

Start by placing all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a food processor, then add softened butter:

That’s the first difference between English style scones and both biscuits and American-style scones. Biscuits and American scones both use cold butter that’s rubbed or “cut” into the dry ingredients.

Pulse the food processor ingredients until the softened butter is well incorporated into the flour.

You see that unlike a pie crust, we don’t have big pieces of butter in the flour.

Rather, it has a sandy, soft texture:

Dump this mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together milk and an egg, save 2 tbsp for the egg wash later, then add the rest to the dry ingredients:

Stir together with a spatula, then when it’s roughly combined, dump it onto the counter:

The mixture will be wet, but resist the urge to add too much excess flour, since this will make the scones drier.

Lightly flour the dough, then knead it until it smooths out a bit, just a few times:

You can see that it’s still sticky, and there are bits sticking to my counter. Again, this is important for a hydrated dough, a soft texture, and good rise.

As with anything involving flour, try not to knead too much, or excess gluten will develop and make the scones tough, and also prevent them from rising as high.

Roll the dough about an inch thick:

Use a 2.5″ cutter to cut circles, then place them on a silicone mat lined baking sheet. Make sure not to twist the cutter at all when cutting the circles. Push straight down, otherwise they won’t rise as tall.


How to make perfect scones every time

It’s hard to beat a warm scone, served straight out of the oven with a dollop of jam and (preferably clotted) cream on top.

A traditional tea-time favourite, the classic scone recipe is all about honest, simple ingredients that requires a light touch.

So what else does it take to make the perfect scone?

We’ve rounded up the top 18 secret tips from the best bakers and celebrity chefs around the world, so you can whip up your own perfect dozen.

1. “Don’t twist!” says Better Homes and Gardens food editor Sarah Murphy. “When you’re cutting out your scone dough, don’t be tempted to twist the cutter as you push into the dough, simply push firmly straight down into the dough.”

2. Sarah also suggests using “light hands”. “When a scone recipe says to knead the dough, it’s not meaning with nearly as much force as when you’re kneading bread. Use light, delicate hands to gently bring the dough together on the bench to give you best results.”

3. Use enough flour (but not too much, cautions Sarah). “The bench should be well-floured before you turn your dough onto it, but don’t be tempted to start working in extra flour as you shape the dough as this will change the end result.”

4. No cutter, no worries, adds Sarah. “If you don’t have a round cutter (or have lost it like I always do…), you can still make delicious scones, simply shape your dough to a 3cm thick square and use a large floured knife to cut into even 4cm squares. The bonus is it’s also faster as you won’t need to re-shape any of the dough!”

5. Crunchy or soft? “Scones are great whichever way you have them,” says Sarah, “but if you prefer a slightly softer outside, as soon as they come out of the oven, turn your scones out of the pan straight onto a clean tea towel, then cover with another clean tea towel to cool. If you prefer slightly crispier edges, remove scones from their pan and turn onto a wire rack, uncovered, to cool.”

6. “If the mixture is a little dry, add more of the remaining milk gradually," says the Queen’s former chef Darren McGrady. “You don’t want the mix too dry, or too set that it sticks to the rolling pin,” he says.

7. Jamie Oliver suggest keeping the butter in the fridge right until you need it. “Because you will be rubbing in the butter with the flour (or blitzing in a food processor), you don’t want it to be too warm and turn to a mush!”

8. Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood recommends using strong bread flour, like self-raising flour, for a light and fluffy texture.

9. "Always sift the flour," says Country Women’s Association scone judge Margaret Primmer. "Use full cream milk and cream at room temperature," Margaret adds.

10. And “don’t fall into the trap of making them too big as they can lean or flop over,” she cautions.

11. “The secret of a good moist scone that is also light is in the proportion of raising agent to flour,” says legendary Australian baker Dan Lepard. “Use too much leavening and your scone will stand tall, but it will taste horribly of the baking powder chemicals.”

12. The secret ingredient in Better Homes and Gardens scones recipe is cream, which adds richness to the milk in the dough.

13. “Check that your baking powder (or your self raising flour) has not expired. This is the major leavening agent in your scones,” says Australian baker Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella.

14. “If you have hot hands (like me) use a food processor to mix in the butter with the flour which helps to keep everything cold. If you have cold hands then you can mix in the butter by hand,” she explains.

15. “Buttermilk makes for tender baked goods. The acidity in buttermilk breaks down the gluten strands so that they are softer,” she adds.

16. “Place the scones close together on the baking tray so they rise upwards, not outwards,” suggests CWA memer Gloria Hyatt. And “cook them in the hottest part of the oven,” she says.

17. Celebrity chef Mary Berry’s advice? “The scone dough should be slightly sticky to give the best results,” she says.

18. "Don’t be tempted to roll it out too thinly or you won’t get good deep scones," she adds.


How to make perfect scones every time

It’s hard to beat a warm scone, served straight out of the oven with a dollop of jam and (preferably clotted) cream on top.

A traditional tea-time favourite, the classic scone recipe is all about honest, simple ingredients that requires a light touch.

So what else does it take to make the perfect scone?

We’ve rounded up the top 18 secret tips from the best bakers and celebrity chefs around the world, so you can whip up your own perfect dozen.

1. “Don’t twist!” says Better Homes and Gardens food editor Sarah Murphy. “When you’re cutting out your scone dough, don’t be tempted to twist the cutter as you push into the dough, simply push firmly straight down into the dough.”

2. Sarah also suggests using “light hands”. “When a scone recipe says to knead the dough, it’s not meaning with nearly as much force as when you’re kneading bread. Use light, delicate hands to gently bring the dough together on the bench to give you best results.”

3. Use enough flour (but not too much, cautions Sarah). “The bench should be well-floured before you turn your dough onto it, but don’t be tempted to start working in extra flour as you shape the dough as this will change the end result.”

4. No cutter, no worries, adds Sarah. “If you don’t have a round cutter (or have lost it like I always do…), you can still make delicious scones, simply shape your dough to a 3cm thick square and use a large floured knife to cut into even 4cm squares. The bonus is it’s also faster as you won’t need to re-shape any of the dough!”

5. Crunchy or soft? “Scones are great whichever way you have them,” says Sarah, “but if you prefer a slightly softer outside, as soon as they come out of the oven, turn your scones out of the pan straight onto a clean tea towel, then cover with another clean tea towel to cool. If you prefer slightly crispier edges, remove scones from their pan and turn onto a wire rack, uncovered, to cool.”

6. “If the mixture is a little dry, add more of the remaining milk gradually," says the Queen’s former chef Darren McGrady. “You don’t want the mix too dry, or too set that it sticks to the rolling pin,” he says.

7. Jamie Oliver suggest keeping the butter in the fridge right until you need it. “Because you will be rubbing in the butter with the flour (or blitzing in a food processor), you don’t want it to be too warm and turn to a mush!”

8. Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood recommends using strong bread flour, like self-raising flour, for a light and fluffy texture.

9. "Always sift the flour," says Country Women’s Association scone judge Margaret Primmer. "Use full cream milk and cream at room temperature," Margaret adds.

10. And “don’t fall into the trap of making them too big as they can lean or flop over,” she cautions.

11. “The secret of a good moist scone that is also light is in the proportion of raising agent to flour,” says legendary Australian baker Dan Lepard. “Use too much leavening and your scone will stand tall, but it will taste horribly of the baking powder chemicals.”

12. The secret ingredient in Better Homes and Gardens scones recipe is cream, which adds richness to the milk in the dough.

13. “Check that your baking powder (or your self raising flour) has not expired. This is the major leavening agent in your scones,” says Australian baker Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella.

14. “If you have hot hands (like me) use a food processor to mix in the butter with the flour which helps to keep everything cold. If you have cold hands then you can mix in the butter by hand,” she explains.

15. “Buttermilk makes for tender baked goods. The acidity in buttermilk breaks down the gluten strands so that they are softer,” she adds.

16. “Place the scones close together on the baking tray so they rise upwards, not outwards,” suggests CWA memer Gloria Hyatt. And “cook them in the hottest part of the oven,” she says.

17. Celebrity chef Mary Berry’s advice? “The scone dough should be slightly sticky to give the best results,” she says.

18. "Don’t be tempted to roll it out too thinly or you won’t get good deep scones," she adds.


1. Preheat oven to 210°C (190°C gas). Brush an oven tray with melted butter or oil. Sift the flour and salt (if using) into a bowl. Add the chopped butter and rub in lightly using your fingertips.

2. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Add almost all of the combined milk and water. Mix with a flat-bladed knife to a soft dough, adding more liquid if necessary.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface (use self-raising flour). Knead do ugh briefly and lightly until smooth. Press or roll out dough to form a round 1–2 cm thick.

4. Cut the dough into rounds using a floured round 5 cm cutter. Place rounds on prepared tray glaze rounds with milk. Bake 10–12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve scones with jam and whipped cream.


Back to basics: How to make the perfect Irish scone

For a quintessentially Irish treat, nothing beats a freshly baked, fluffy scone. It was “Sally O’Brien and the way she might look at you” that used to attract the tourists. Nowadays tourists are flocking to experience wild coasts, ancient ruins and Irish food. Though subtle culinary differences do exist between us and our close neighbours in Britain. Rather than high tea, Irish scones conjure images of a farmhouse kitchen, a wooden table and a ginormous pot of tae.

When I worked the morning shift in a kitchen, the scones were in the oven within 10 minutes of my arrival. All I had to do was crack some eggs, then pour them, along with milk, into the dry scone mixture (which I had prepared the day before). Every B&B in the country might make a fresh batch each morning if they knew how easy scones are to make.

Truly Irish scones are made in the fashion of white soda bread combining plain flour, bread soda, salt and buttermilk. While delicious and fluffy when fresh, they are not as light and crumbly (and don’t stay as fresh) as a scone made with butter.

Bakers are divided on what constitutes the best scone recipe. Each ingredient can be substituted with an alternative, but with varying results. Once, while eavesdropping on two ladies swapping tips on scones, I was surprised to hear them agree their success was due to the use of strong flour. Both agreed a very hot oven (220 degrees) gave the scones a good start. In true jeopardy style, they monitored the scones, reducing the temperature as soon as a tiny frill developed around the foot (before the lids burned). With a hot oven, these scones do pop nicely. The raising agent used is baking powder, which reacts with the milk and egg to give a wonderful rise (not the lopsided Tower of Pisa that occurs when buttermilk is used in this recipe).

The most important thing to remember when making scones is to handle the dough with the lightest touch. Never ever knead the dough or the scones will be tough. Chefs dip the scone cutter in some flour before stamping out each scone. It’s a handy trick when the moist scone dough might otherwise get stuck inside the cutter.

Basting scones with egg yolk gives a glistening finish (but you can leave them bare or use milk or an egg/milk glaze). And yes, scones do freeze. Once defrosted, give them a short blast in the oven to soften them up. Delicious served with freshly whipped cream (or butter) and jam.

PLAIN SCONES

Makes 8 large scones
350g Strong white flour (or plain flour)
1tbs baking powder
Generous pinch salt
60g cold butter, diced small
200ml milk
1 egg (plus an extra yolk for glazing)

1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees (fan). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or dust well with flour).

2. In a large mixing bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt).

3. Rub the butter in by hand until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (I prefer to use a food processor for this step).

4. Mix together the egg and milk.

5. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture, then pour in three-quarters of the liquid, lightly stirring in both directions to combine. Add the remaining liquid, using it to draw in any excess flour from the sides of the bowl (avoid overmixing).

6. Flour your hands and tip the soft, raggy dough on to a very well-floured work surface. Shape and gently pat the dough to an even 2cm thickness.

7. Use a 7cm round scone cutter to stamp out scones, transfer them to the lined baking sheet and brush the tops with egg yolk to glaze.

8. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, first at 220 degrees for eight to 10 minutes (for large scones) until they rise upwards, without burning, then immediately reduce the heat to 160 degrees for another 10 minutes to bake fully.

9. Once baked, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Variation

For sweeter scones, add four tablespoons of sugar to the dry mixture, or a handful of sultanas or frozen raspberries.