Afternoon Tea, Cream Tea and eating Scones - a very British past time. But do you struggle to make tall, light scones? Do you find they're never quite big as you'd hoped they'd be when they come out of the oven? Here is my big fluffy scones recipe, with an added ingredient of clotted cream.
- The Secret to Big Fluffy Scones
- Big Fluffy Scones Ingredients/Substitutes
- Should Scones have Eggs in them?
- Big Fluffy Scones Technique
- How do you get scones to rise evenly?
- What temperature should I bake scones at?
- Big and Fluffy Scones Pro Tip
- Big Fluffy Scones FAQ’s
- If you enjoyed this recipe, you'll enjoy these other classics
- Clotted Cream Scones Recipe
- Have you Tried this recipe?
The Secret to Big Fluffy Scones
Traditional English scones, although a firm favourite for many people, can be tricky little things to master. So often they either don't rise or are tough to eat. So here are my tips to make the best scones.
The biggest thing is you should never do is overwork them. Scones don't like being handled too much. The flour gets tough and bready, and a tough bready scones is not what you want.
They can be made with an electric or stand mixer, but personally I like to make mine by hand. Electric Mixers are a great help. However, as they are machines that can work at a fast pace, it is easy to overmix your dough without even knowing it.
Therefore, I like to make mine by hand. I often use a pastry blender to make things easier. Mixing by hand gives you full control over the dough, and as it all comes together you can stop without taking it too far.
Also, don't over knead them. The best big, fluffy scones don't like to be squished and rolled around. When I make scones I get to a point where most of the dough bought together in a large mixing bowl, with a few crumbs here and there. I then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for no more than ten seconds - just to bring those stray crumbs into the bigger dough ball.
I also rarely roll my dough, but instead I press it out. However, you can lightly roll your dough, but don't roll it any thinner than 1". Once I have cut my first scones I bring the dough back together, but don't knead it again. I just squish it back into a ball and start again.
Big Fluffy Scones Ingredients/Substitutes
These are sweet scones made with added Clotted Cream. Clotted Cream is usually what is spread on a scone in the UK, but as a delicious creamy fat it can be a great ingredient inside for perfect scones.
Flour and Baking Powder
As with most of my recipes I use Plain Flour (all purpose flour) and add my own baking powder. This allows me to control the amount of raising agent I put into my scones. Sometimes you can end up tasting the Baking Powder in scones, and that is why it is very important to measure and weigh your ingredients properly.
You can use self-raising flour, without the baking powder if that is all you have.
Butter or Baking Spread
I have always made scones using a baking spread. I find it doesn’t affect the flavour or the texture but it is a good lower cost alternative. Always use either cold butter or baking spread.
This is an optional extra that gives a creamy richness to the scone. If you don’t have any clotted cream just add 20gms more butter/baking spread. If using it, use it cold
I find caster sugar is best in scones as it is a finer grain that mixes well with the other ingredients. If you don’t have caster sugar, you can use granulated. Read about the Granulated and Caster Sugar.
I use a UK large egg in my mix. There is a debate as to whether egg belongs in a scone, but I like the added richness the egg gives.
I use a semi-skimmed milk, but you can use any you have in the fridge. It's best to use it cold.
Dairy Free and Gluten Free
You can swap the butter/baking spread and milk for plant-based alternatives. If you are looking for a dairy free scone you will need to omit the clotted cream and add more plant-based butter instead.
I’m going to be very honest; I have not yet eaten a gluten free scone I would recommend. You can make these scones with Gluten Free flour, and you will need to add the recommended amount of Xanthan Gum to ensure they don’t crumble. However, I’m not going to guarantee success.
Should Scones have Eggs in them?
Personally I like to add an egg to my mix. It enriches the dough and adds extra flavour. Eggs have fat in them which is a great way to add flavour to the final product.
Eggs are not 100% necessary. There are plenty of good recipes out there that don't use eggs. But I do like the extra taste an egg adds to the dough.
Big Fluffy Scones Technique
Classic British Scones are made in a very old fashioned way. You start by mixing together you flour, baking powder and sugar together in a large bowl. You then ‘rub’ in your fats. i.e. your butter/baking spread and clotted cream into your flour mixture until you get a breadcrumb type texture
‘Rubbing In’ mean using your finger tip and rubbing together the ingredients until a breadcrumb mix is achieved. If you lift your hands up, as the mix falls, air will go through it and keep the butter cool. This stops it from getting warm and going soft.
However, I have always found that I get cramp in my fingertips when I have tried rubbing in. So I therefore use a pastry cutter and chop my ingredients together instead.
Once you have a breadcrumb texture make a dent in the centre of the mix. This is called ‘making a well’. Pour a beaten egg into the ‘well’ and either using your hands or a knife use a cutting motion to bring the dry ingredients into the centre, mixing the egg in.
Lastly, add the milk to bring everything together to a soft dough with a few crumbs here and there.
Turn the scone dough out onto your work surface and knead together for no more than 10-20 seconds. Flatten out by pressing down. You can use a rolling pin however, I find pressing with the flat of my hand enough.
Cur your scones using a pastry cutter. My preferred cutter is a smooth 2.5" round cookie cutter.
Place your scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spaced about 1 to 2" apart.
Brush the tops with milk or a beaten egg if desired and bake
How do you get scones to rise evenly?
It all very well mastering this recipe for big fluffy scones, but what happens if you take them out of the oven and they're a bit wonky?
Firstly, make sure you roll/press them out evenly. Starting with a good, flat scone means you have a better chance of having an evenly risen scone.
Secondly, cut them cleanly. I personally use a 2.5" round cookie cutter for a clean cut. But you can use a plastic cutter or even the top of a glass. Whatever you use, make sure you get a quick, even cut. Don’t twist your cutter. Just push straight down.
Thirdly, if you decide to brush the top with an egg wash or milk, make sure it doesn't drip down the side. Wherever it drips it will change the consistency of the outside of the scone and the rise may be retarded.
What temperature should I bake scones at?
Scones like to be baked quickly in a hot oven to get a good rise. Make sure you pre-heat your oven so as soon as the scones are put in the hot air can make the air inside expand quickly. This will give them that light, fluffy texture.
I bake mine at 200c in a fan oven (220c non fan, 425f, GM7) for 12 to 15 minutes. They should be golden brown on top and well risen when baked.
Big and Fluffy Scones Pro Tip
When we had a Tea Room we were often complimented on our warm, fresh baked scones. People truly thought that every scone we baked was fresh from the oven - so how did we do it?
Once a week we would make a large batch of scones using the recipe below for Big Fluffy Scones. As soon as they were baked and cooled they would be put into the deep freeze. This usually happened within 20 minutes of them coming out of the oven. The fresher you freeze them, the better they'll be.
But then what? How did we make sure that they were perfectly defrosted before serving?
As soon as we got an order we would take a scone from the freezer and defrost it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (no more as they'll go hard inside). Then they would go back into the oven.
As we had a bakery, baking cakes most of the time, there was always an oven running. By popping the defrosted scone into the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, it would dry out any condensation created by the microwave, and make the outside dry, and fresh to eat.
Try it, it works!
Big Fluffy Scones FAQ’s
Don’t overmix it. Once you add your wet ingredients mix only until everything just comes together. You shouldn't knead the dough for more than 10-20 seconds, to bring all the dough into a easy to use ball.
Yes, Sultanas are a traditional additive. However, you can also other things like glace cherries, chocolate chips, orange zest or lemon zest.
Here in the UK we don’t make biscuits. A biscuit in the UK is a very different thing. However, from my experience, I have found the difference between a scone and a biscuit is the fats used.
A biscuit is made with butter and buttermilk, whereas a scone is made with butter, milk, and occasionally egg. A biscuit is rarely sweet, whereas scones can be either sweet or savoury. And lastly a biscuit is flaky, whereas a scone is fluffy.
A good scone shouldn’t need to be cut open, they should be able to be pulled apart.
The traditional Cream Tea is a scone served with Clotted Cream and strawberry jam. I’m not going to get into the debate of what you spread first, because whichever I say there will be a whole lot of people telling me I’m wrong. However, whichever you spread first it’ll taste divine.
You can also serve scones with just butter, butter and jam, lemon curd, honey or even fresh on their own. Some people whip up heavy cream or double cream and serve them with strawberries or other seasonal fresh fruit.
Personally I like to toast mine and let some butter melt into it. Perfect with a cup of tea.
Scones will last for a couple of days in an airtight container, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Pop them back in the oven for around 5 minutes to get a nice fresh scone. That with warm them through. I wouldn’t put them in a microwave, except to defrost them, as they tend to go a bit tough and doughy.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you'll enjoy these other classics
Clotted Cream Scones Recipe
- 1 Baking Sheet lined with parchment
- 1 mixing bowl or stand mixer
- 1 Pastry Blender Optional
- 2.5" Round Pastry Cutter or use the end of a glass
- 225 gms Plain Flour
- 2 tspn Baking Powder
- 40 gms Caster Sugar
- 35 gms Butter or Baking Spread
- 35 gms Clotted Cream if you have no clotted cream, use an extra 20gms of butter
- 1 Egg
- 50 ml Milk
- Clotted Cream
- Pre-heat your oven to 200c fan, 220c, 425f, GM7
- In a bowl add the flour, baking powder, sugar, butter or baking spread and clotted cream
- Rub together using your fingertips, or use a pastry blender until it resembles the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs
- Add the egg and milk, and bring together into a thick dough. Be sure to not over mix it.
- Alternatively place all ingredients into a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment mix until just combined. With this method there is a danger of over mixing, so be sure to stop as soon as it comes together as a dough
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for no more the 10 seconds
- Press or roll out to 1" thick and using a 2.5" round pastry cutter, cut 6 rounds.
- Place on a baking sheet
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the scones are well risen and golden brown
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes
- Break in half and serve filled with Jam and Clotted Cream, or Clotted Cream and Jam (however you prefer)
Have you Tried this recipe?
I would love to see it or hear about your experience of it.
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