Saturday, September 15, 2012

Scones 2.0

So called because I once gave Sam a different scones recipe - the main difference was that this one has double the butter. Trust me, ladies. It's the difference between "Oh cool, I made scones at home" and "THESE ARE THE BEST SCONES IN THE UNIVERSE."

So what are scones? Basically you are creating a beautiful hybrid between basic pastry (think buttery and flaky) and a leavened quick bread (think light & fluffy). You go about this by preparing as though to make pastry dough (rubbing butter into flour with salt) but adding a base (baking soda, in with the flour) and an acid (kefir, or another acidic dairy solution) so that they sort of explode into a golden delight in the oven.

So, without further delay...

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put in your baking stone right away if you have one. If you don't have kefir, prepare your sour milk now (see below).

2 c flour (about 300g whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour; probably any flour would be fine)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp xylitol or sugar (not honey - if you insist on using honey, mix it into the kefir, below), optional but recommended
1/2 c cold salted butter, cut into chunks
--> work these together as you would for making pastry, resulting in a mixture of rich, fatty flour with chunks of butter no larger than pea-sized.
--> stir in 3/4 c mature kefir*, buttermilk or sour milk (3/4 c milk + 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice, allowed to stand and curdle for about 10 minutes) until uniformly moist and holding together.

With clean hands, make the dough into a ball, then halve, then quarter it. Tear each quarter into three pieces, then roll each piece between your palms to make elegant, sweet little balls of dough. Once you have a dozen balls of dough, you're ready to go! Either pop them directly onto your baking stone (and really, if you don't have one yet, what are you waiting for?), spaced a couple of inches apart, or line them up 3 x 4 on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake about 25 minutes on the stone, or roughly the same time on a sheet. They can be dark gold like in this picture or a bit lighter.

Enjoy fresh, slathered with even more butter, and maybe some Crofter's fruit spread, and certainly a hot cup of tea!

*Note that store-bought kefir is not up to the challenge of sufficiently leavening these scones, as we discovered in the comments. I make my kefir so the curd and whey really fully separate before either drinking it, using it or refrigerating it. It should be quite tart. If in doubt, prepare sour milk, as described above.


  1. JUST made these.

    mine didn't quite rise as much--I shamefully admit, I used store-bought kefir because I didnt think I had enough of my own...shameshameshame...and I suspect the store-bought kind wasn't quite as fermented as the recipe calls.

    But they're amazing. AMAZING. so good. onto my third one!

    1. Ahh that's too bad! I would have guessed that about SB kefir. Boo! The same goes with yogurt - you can use yogurt IF it's home-fermented for 8-10+ hours, but no less, and certainly not SB yogurt. I occasionally buy SB yogurt (well I did when I was last pregnant because I was so friggin tired!) and whenever I taste it the mildness blows my mind. It's like... cold milk pudding with just the slightest hint of tang. Where's the lactic acid at?? No wonder commercial yogurts have to use added thickeners and so on... to mask that they probably ferment it for like 3-5 hours, sheesh! Okay end rant. :) I'm glad you're enjoying them!!

  2. So I was kinda bummed today because my dad made it to the oven before I did this morning.

    I had fluffy images of scones in my head as I woke up "yay I will rub butter into flour today wheee!"...but then...I smelled baking. zut.

    He made chocolate chip banana muffins. and I wanted to make scones.

    I had to pretend I was happy.