THE DARING BAKERS' JANUARY, 2012 CHALLENGE: BACK TO BASICS: SCONES (A.K.A. BISCUITS)
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!
I never knew that scones were actually biscuits or maybe I should say that biscuits are actually scones.
The challenge this month was lots of fun. The ingredients were not unusual and the method was fairly straight forward. As a girl raised in the South, I was always a bit embarrassed by my biscuits. I knew from my upbringing in Alabama what a biscuit was supposed to taste like...I just could not make mine taste that way. When I moved up North, I was constantly asked to make biscuits or give biscuit advice. It was not pretty.
With the sound advice of Audax faraway in Australia, I now feel capable of turning out a really great biscuits/scones. He made many batches of biscuits, tweaking here and there to give us not only a great recipe with variations, but some terrific advice as well. I am sure I will be quoting him next time I am asked about making light biscuits.
I serve them at almost every meal now and really keep them quite basic. I may venture into a more exotic biscuit/scone but for now I am relishing the notion that I still have a bit of the South at my fingertips.
Thanks Audax. You are a fine gentleman!
Scones / Biscuits
Ingredients:1cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (1/3 oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
Approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
Optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones
|Frozen grated butter-Genius!|
Directions1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. 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 baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
|Ready to Bake|
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm