One of the most constantly debated bread terms in kitchens around Ireland has to be about “Scawns” and “Scones”. My granny always said that although they were spelt the same, a ‘scawn’ of bread was the big one that you sliced with your tea and that the wee ones with jam on them for treats were the ‘scones’ ! I believe she may have had a point.
I love scones! I make them every other day or so just because I can. The kids love them and when someone drops in they’re great to have at hand.
So here is a simple white Scone recipe that anyone can make and that has never let me down – famous last words says he…
500g Plain flour
125g real butter
tspn baking powder
2 fresh eggs at room temperature
200ml water + 50ml milk mixed together
1. I never sieve the flour and stuff – instead I put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl and using a balloon whisk, I whisk the dry ingredients together for a couple of seconds. This combines the ingredients well and introduces air into the mix.
2. Now add the butter and rub it into the flour with the palm of your hands so as to get it in fast with no messing about with the “tips of your fingers” as they teach you in most recipe books! Whisk it all again for a few seconds. At this stage if you want to add currants, raisins, chopped cherries, seeds or even mixed peel into your scones do it now, but make sure you sprinkle a little flour over the fruit and toss them around in it to help them to sit in the dough and not sink to the bottom of the finished scones.
Break the two eggs into the flour and pour in ¾ of the water and milk mix.
I say ¾ only because you can always add more but you can’t take it out. Making bread and pastry to a recipe that you swear by has only one real outside force that can govern your result and that, strangely enough, is the weather! Well, really it is the atmosphere and the amount of moisture in the air on the day. That is why you never add the given amount of liquid to a mix – add it as it is needed is the golden rule.
Back to the mix.
3. Using a wooden spoon or your hand pull the flour into the wet ingredients and mix it all together for a minute or so keeping your hand light so as to not make the dough heavy! Add the rest of the liquid if needed. The dough should be soft, like a pillow, to the touch.
4. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough and pull it together in the bowl with your hand. Tip it out onto your worktop with a little more flour sprinkled on it.
Making scones and all other soda-type breads is totally different to a yeast bread mix. The secret to scone bread dough is to be fast and light. When kneading this type of dough you are only pulling it into shape for cutting – nothing else. So knead for a few seconds pulling the dough to the centre from the edges until you have it nice and smooth on the bottom. Now turn it over.
5. Roll out the dough gently until it is about 3cm thick. Cut out your scones with a 70mm cutter which is about the same width as an average water glass or half pint glass. This gives you a scone of a good size not a wee picky thing!
Beat an egg with a little milk, about equal amounts, and brush over the top of the scones. What this does is to simply glaze the top of the bread which gives a lovely colour to the finished scones.
6. Place the scones on to a Baking tray. I do not grease, butter or flour the tray when making scones – it is not needed and serves no purpose! Pop the scones in a pre-heated oven at 190ºC, Gas 5 for 14 -16 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when you tap them on the bottom. Done.
|These scones have a handful of milled organic Flaxseed & raisins added
Wheaten scones and the many variations of them are nothing to be scared off! But that’s for another day.
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