venta: (Default)
[personal profile] venta
Yesterday morning, I attempted to make some scones. I have, historically, not made terribly good scones so thought I'd branch out and try a different recipe.

I usually find the BBC's recipes pretty trustworthy, so thought I'd try this one of Paul Hollywood's.

My scones are prone to density, and this one promised "soft and fluffy" scones - and had not only two eggs but 5 (five!) teaspoons of baking powder in. Which seemed like an awful lot. But hey, I'm not an renowned baker and Paul Hollywood is.

I actually followed the recipe, to the letter (except for the egg glaze, because it turned out I only had two eggs). And you know what? The scones came out awful. Not just heavy and leaden, but actively disgusting - they mostly seemed to taste of baking powder.

I'm not sure what I did wrong. The recipe wasn't as specific as the BBC's recipes usually are - for example, before mixing the eggs into the flour, should I beat them? (I assumed so, possibly wrongly.)

Anyway, I hate wasting food, but they were clearly not an acceptable thing to take along to someone's birthday picnic (in Kew Gardens, no less). I broke one up and put it on the bird table, where the local blue tits appear to have been giving it a wide berth.

So, down came the trusty old-fashioned Marguerite Patten recipe book. Her scone recipe doesn't involve eggs, or "chaffing", or relaxing the dough, or any sort of messing about. Rub fat into flour, mix in sugar, make into dough with milk. (She offers several different combos of plain or self-raising, plus baking powder or cream of tartar + bicarb. I went for self-raising, cream of tartar and bicarb.)

Her recipe is also not very specific, since it doesn't say how much milk (answer: less than that) or how hot a "hot oven" is. It also has a distressing amount of free will over the quantities - which is consoling, really, as it implies it doesn't matter too much. But the scones came out not-disgusting. They weren't great, but not-disgusting was a big improvement.

Everyone is always very into warning me not to overwork scone dough. Which, yes, I understand. But no one overworks dough on purpose - if it ain't mixed/formed into a proper dough yet, it clearly needs more work. I always stop at what seems to be the bare minimum, yet somehow also pass the overworked stage. Out of terror, I merely rolled Mrs Patten's dough out, then cut it into bits with a knife to save the gather-up-bits-and-re-roll stage of cutting out. The scones didn't really rise much, and were quite crumbly (possibly a sign of underwork? I have no idea.)

Anyway, the results were acceptable when covered with enough clotted cream and strawberry jam.

If anyone wants to tell (or even better, show!) me how to make decent scones, volunteers welcome!

Date: 2017-06-19 03:42 pm (UTC)
sushidog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sushidog
That Paul Hollywood recipe is odd; strong flour, for scones? That's bound to make them stodgy! And five teaspoons of baking powder does seem like too much.
My tip is; sour the milk a few minutes before adding it, by adding a capful of white vinegar and stirring. It will go a bit clumpy and gross, but that's fine (you could cut that out and just use buttermilk or natural yogurt instead). Then use baking power but also baking soda/bicarb. The acid in the milk reacts with the bicarb to give it a bit of extra lift, and also seems to act as a sort of tenderiser for the flour, making the scones fluffier.

I also stir everything together with a knife, and until it is only just holding together in one lump, more or less; if there are a few dry bits here and there, that's fine. I pat it out flattish rather than rolling, and cut into scones with a knife; the scones have edges and corners rather than being neat and round, but it means minimal touching and more nice crunchy edge bits.

Date: 2017-06-19 05:28 pm (UTC)
lathany: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lathany
We've a kids cookery book which I love because it has simple recipes for lots of things you'd actually want to use - not just baking, but meals as well. There is a scone recipe (lemon and thyme) which I think we've tried once. I can't remember how well they turned out (so, presumably not too badly) but I'll have another go between now and when I next see you.

Date: 2017-06-19 06:11 pm (UTC)
kotturinn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kotturinn
That Paul Hollywood recipe is just, well, bizarre with strong flour and that amount of baking power! The one I use, which I learnt off Mum, goes:-

8oz self-raising flour (yes, this is against most recipes, but we've won prizes with these!)
2oz butter/marge/other similar fat
1 egg
pawful of sultanas (saves using sugar)
milk to mix - if your milk has gone slightly 'off' that's the best, otherwise you can sour it with lemon juice or cream of tartar or, indeed, just use ordinary milk.
Rub fat into flour. Break egg in and mix. Add milk (mix with knife, fork or, with a light touch, paws) until the dough is considerably wetter than you think it should be (this is the key to soft scones rather than fat biscuits!)
Pat or lightly roll out and cut (I use a crinkly-edge shape).
Cook at gas mark 6 (check after 15 minutes).

So pretty similar to [personal profile] sushidog's
Edited (b-p rather than b-o-s) Date: 2017-06-19 06:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-20 06:43 am (UTC)
lathany: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lathany
Totally off-topic, but thought you might be interested to hear that Matt Marcus will be at Glastonbury this year.

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