Welcome to The Baker’s Dozen, a series of posts that will be looking at the world of baking and sharing with you a traditional recipe.
When you start talking about food and culinary experiences, the UK doesn’t generally come out very well. If you mention British food most people here would tell you how awful it is, but why do we have such a bad reputation when you consider that the UK has a tradition for baking. A good recent example of this tradition is the hit TV show The Great British Bake Off, where contestants battle it out to become the best baker in the series. It’s the same as Masterchef but the focus is only on food that is baked…..breads, biscuits and cakes…………..Mmmmmmmmmmm
To understand how old this tradition of baking is you only have to consider that the Great Fire of London started in a baker’s shop in Pudding Lane in 1666. This fire swept through the City of London, as many of the buildings were made of wood, and since then no wooden building within the City limits has been allowed, with the only exception being the Globe Theatre.
To go back to baking, my family has an obsession with scones. The first thing to consider is how to pronounce this word and that varies in my family. Is it scone (it rhymes with gone) or scone (it rhymes with cone)? For me it’s the former but for my husband it’s the latter. The Guardian has an article which focusses on this pronunciation issue for those of you who want to read further. There is no correct answer, it generally depends on where you’re from so choose the one that’s easier for you and go for it.
I am always surprised when people here mention scones and wax lyrical about how wonderful they are and comment on how difficult they must be to make. I agree they are very nice but in no way are they difficult to make. My children make scones on their own and that just shows how easy they are! Here is our tried and tested recipe to be shared with you. But what do we mean by ‘tried and tested’? Well it’s very easy, we’ve tried the recipe (we’ve made it numerous times) and we’ve tested it (yes we have eaten our own body weight in scones to test the recipe) and we can confirm that they are very nice indeed!
- Preheat oven to 180ºc
- 350g Self Raising Flour
- 110g Sugar
- 110g Butter at room temperature, cubed
- 2 Eggs
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the butter
- Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and mix well.
- Whisk up the eggs in a small bowl, and add the whisked eggs gradually to the flour mixture and use a knife to start bringing it together.
- When a dough starts to form, get your hands in and start kneading to make a soft ball. Try not to knead too much as the dough will become tough and the scones won’t taste good. If the dough feels very wet add a little flour, if it’s very dry add a little milk.
- Place the dough onto a floured worktop and start to roll it out.
- When the dough is about 2cm thick, cut it into rounds. You can use pastry cutters that are about 4-5cm wide and these give you a good size for a scone.
- Place the cut scones on a greased baking tray and gather together the leftover dough and roll again. Cut out rounds and continue until you have used all the dough. Brush a little milk over the top of the scones to get a nice brown top when cooked.
- Make sure that there is plenty of space between each scone on the tray and bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Don’t be scared to leave it a little longer if you think that they need it, up to 15 minutes is fine.
- You can check if the scones are cooked by lightly tapping the base of the scone, if it sounds hollow, it’s cooked!
Leave to cool and enjoy with butter, jam or whipped cream. Scones are best eaten on the same day or within 1 day of being made as they go stale quite quickly.
Wax lyrical: to talk about something with a lot of enthusiasm
Self-raising flour: flour that already has the baking agent added to it (harina de bizcocho)
Cubed: cut the butter into the shape of a cube!
Rub in: an odd phrasal verb. Rub out is easier (to eradicate) but to rub in? In baking terms it’s the action of taking a small handful of flour and butter and rubbing it between your fingers and thumbs. The action is continued taking up new handfuls until there is no flour left and the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. At this point the fat is rubbed into the flour.
Knead: to work into a uniform mixture by pressing, folding and stretching. It’s a similar action to make bread. Amasar
Floured worktop: flour that has been shaken over a work surface so that the dough doesn’t stick.
Pastry cutter: a device, usually made from metal, for cutting shaped forms from dough. They can be of different shapes, such stars, circles, trees, bodies etc.
Tapping: to hit something lightly
Whipped cream: nata montada
Stale: food that is not fresh, hard and unpleasant to eat.