Scones are probably the easiest and quickest of breads. Once you get the ingredients assembled, most recipes only require ten minutes of prep time and another ten minutes or so of baking time. A mix is even quicker.
There are some keys to making those flakey, tender scones that you’ve been dreaming about.
Key #1: Use the right flour. Use a soft, low protein flour—we use a quality pastry flour. You want soft, tender scones and too much protein leads to too much gluten which makes your scones chewy.
Key #2: Keep your ingredients cold. Temperature is critical to buttery, flakey scones. Start with very cold butter—it should chip when you cut it into chunks and your liquids should be ice cold. Before you start, measure your milk or water and put it in the freezer for ten minutes. Consider chilling your mixing bowl before mixing.
Why do your ingredients need to be cold? The objective is to keep the butter a solid and not let it melt into a liquid. If your dough is kept cold, it will have little bits of dispersed butter. In the heat of the oven, that butter melts into the dough but leaves pockets and layers in the scones.
Work with the dough quickly to keep it cool.
Key #3: Don’t work your dough too much. Kneading converts the protein to gluten. Mix only until the ingredients come together into a combined mass.
Key #4: Use a folding technique. For flakey, layered scones, use a folding technique. Roll the dough out to about 3/8-inch thick. Fold the dough in half and in half again and again. Roll the dough out to about 3/4-inch thick before cutting the scones.
Key #6: Leave the cut edges of the scones alone. Patting the edges with your fingers melds the edges so that the scone will not rise as nicely or have a flakey, layered structure.
Key #7: Don’t over-bake your scones. Over-baking for even a minute or two will dry your scones out. As soon as the edges begin to turn brown, remove them from the oven. Immediately, place the scones on a wire rack—the hot pan will continue to dry the scones.
How to Make Your Scones, Biscuits, and Shortcakes Last a Month!
Our mixes may be too big!
A lady came in the store yesterday and wanted to know if she could freeze her leftover scones. You can (and then reheat them in a 300-degree oven) but here’s a better idea:
Make your mix per instructions but only bake what you need this morning. Put the rest in a large plastic bag and freeze them. Then this weekend, take out what you need and bake those. Save the rest for later. Use them all over the course of a month.
If your mix has frosting–most do–mix that and keep the remainder in the refrigerator.
This works for biscuits and shortcakes too.