People dropping by unexpectedly? All you need is self-raising flour, milk and 30 minutes to whip up a batch of scones, though if you have buttermilk (thanks Pepe), they’ll be even lighter! The first time I tried to make scones, they turned out more like rock cakes, then I discovered the golden rule: handle the dough as little as possible. A light touch and a hot oven are the secrets to light fluffy scones, so I prefer this Method of making one large round cut into segments, rather than shaping them into rounds then reforming the dough to use the offcuts. Buttermilk scones are one of the quickest and easiest sweet treats to make, and perfect with a cup of smoky Russian Caravan tea.
- 300g self-raising flour (about 2 cups), plus extra for dusting
- 50g cold salted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing and serving
- 220ml buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
- Jam, for serving
- Preheat oven to 250°C.
- Sift flour into a bowl.
- Add butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until there aren’t any more lumps.
- Make a well in the centre, add buttermilk and use a pastry scraper or hard spatula to cut it into the flour to form a soft sticky dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured bench, dust your hands with flour, and pat into a 3cm-thick round.
- Place in a lightly greased and floured round cake tin (springform is easiest).
- Use a pastry scraper or hard spatula dipped into flour to mark the round into eighths, pressing all the way through.
- Brush top with buttermilk.
- Place in oven, reduce temperature to 240°C and bake for 15-20 minutes, until well-browned.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little.
- Break the round into individual buttermilk scones and serve warm with jam and butter.
How do you make self-raising flour?
No self-raising flour? No worries. Just add 1? teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. But be sure to check the baking powder is fresh or you’ll have rock cakes instead of scones.
Does baking powder go stale?
Yes, baking powder does lose its effect after 12 months or so. To test if it’s fresh, stir a little into hot water – if it fizzes it’s still fresh enough to use; if it doesn’t, it’s time to buy a fresh batch.
What’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda?
Baking soda is another name for bicarbonate of soda. Baking powder is a mixture of 1 part bicarbonate of soda and 2 parts cream of tartare.
Are cream of tartare and tartaric acid the same thing?
Not exactly, cream of tartar is tartaric acid mixed with potassium hydroxide to neutralize the acid, so cream of tartare doesn’t have the acidic tang of tartaric acid.
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