It has been an epic journey. I am sick of scones. I am sick of jam. I do not want to eat any more whipped cream.
But it has been enlightening. Here are my conclusions and my final recipe.
- 500g bread flour
- 125g butter (cold)
- 75g caster sugar
- 4.5 tsp baking powder
- 150ml cold milk
- 2 eggs
Sift the flour and baking powder at least once. Grate the chilled (even frozen) butter into the flour (which can also be chilled beforehand). Rub in the until it is like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar. Whisk milk and eggs together and add to the mixture. Cut through the mixture as you turn the bowl, using a pastry scraper or spatula. Turn the mixture over the get the dry bits from the bottom. When all ingredient are combined and it’s just coming together, turn it out and press it together very gently. Give it one or two folds if necessary to make a dough. Pat it into a round between 2.5 and 3 centimetres high. Cut out rounds using a floured cutter (don’t twist). Place on buttered baking tray quite close together. Brush with milk (don’t let it run down the sides) and bake at 220C/220C fan for between 16 and 20 minutes depending on size. Remove when golden brown. Eat warm.
Some things are crucial to good scones. A light tough, a hot oven.
Some things are a matter of taste. Cold butter rubbed in quickly will give a more open-textured scone, while warm butter will make the texture closer. Leaving flakes of butter will make it a bit bouncier. Bread flour works for me, but you might like something else, just remember to adjust the liquid accordingly — less liquid if you use lower protein-content flour. I like my scones quite open in texture, but you can use a little less liquid and again make them a little more biscuit-y. it is worth chilling the dough for at least 30 mins (up to 2 hours) before baking.
Some things seem to make no difference. For me, that’s buttermilk. For you it might be something else.
Make the scones you like best. I hope this helps you do just that. And put the jam wherever you like. It’s your scone, after all.