This recipe for the ultimate foolproof English scones is for you, if you love scones as much as I do! They are soft, fluffy and such a wonderful treat for afternoon tea. Top them with jam and clotted cream or simply enjoy them plain. They are a winner!
This recipe for buttermilk fluffy scones is the real deal if you love cream tea, so stick around and let’s dive into the do’s and don’ts of this foolproof scone recipe so that you too can create a batch to rival Mary Berry’s scones!
”What is the dessert you have made the most in your career?” is the question that people ask me the most since I have been a pastry chef. Let me tell you that the answer is pretty easy; Scones! After all these years working in 5-star hotels and trying to achieve the perfect English style scones, I have finally done it! I am so excited to share all the tips and tricks so that you can achieve moist and fluffy scones at home. I would highly recommend that you check out the video below before starting the process.
Frequently asked questions
Why is my scone crumbly?
There is this misconception that less kneading=fluffier scone but that is so far from the truth. You need the dough to be developed slightly so that it can capture the gas created by the baking powder being activated.
What is the best flour for scones?
All-purpose flour or plain flour is ideal for scones as its medium gluten content gives some structure to the scone while still maintaining its fluffiness.
Can I freeze my scones?
Definitely! If you want, you can freeze the unbaked scone circles, and when you fancy take some out, let them thaw on a tray lined with paper, eggwash them and bake.
You can also just freeze completely baked scones, and let them thaw at room temperature when you would like to eat them. Bread and baked goods tend to freeze very well.
Can I reroll the scraps of dough?
You certainly can! I tend to only reroll my dough once as the more you roll the more flour you need, resulting in a tougher scone.
What is the correct way to put jam and cream on a scone?
This is one of the biggest debates of the nation! The fact is you can enjoy your scone as you want but the Cornish way is jam before cream as the jam is considered to be a spread and clotted cream is a topping.
Can I reheat scones?
You can reheat your scones by placing them in a microwave-safe dish and cover them with clingfilm. Microwave for 10-15 seconds until just warm. The cling film will create steam and the scones will be soft again.
Can I use other fruits for my scones?
Definitely! If you use dried fruit like raisins, sultanas or currants make sure that you soak them in your favourite hot tea for half an hour, any more would make them too soft and mushy. You can also use cranberries or golden raisins and as they are already soft fruits, there is no need for soaking.
How can I make scones rise evenly?
To make sure your scones rise evenly you should always push your cutter straight down, otherwise, they won’t rise as tall. Another trick is to use a metal cutter preferably as they are sharper and cut better. I am using a plastic one in my video but that is all I had at home!
Ingredients for the scones
- All-purpose flour: The higher the protein content, the flour the tougher the scone may be. Therefore all-purpose or plain flour is ideal as it has medium gluten content.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is one of my favourite ingredients for cakes, sponges and of course scones! Like yoghurt and sour cream, this acidic ingredient brings a pleasant tang and also helps tenderize gluten, giving the scones a softer texture and more body. You can also use half buttermilk and half milk for a lighter scone.
- Raisins or sultanas: I like adding fruit to half of my scones, but you can leave them all plain if you prefer. Remember to soak your raisins or sultanas in strongly brewed earl grey tea for 30 minutes.
- Caster sugar: You might think there is not much sugar going into the actual scone mix but remember that once the scones are baked we will top them with jam and clotted cream…Yum!
- Salt & baking powder: Salt adds depth to the flavour and the extra baking powder helps create a little more lift. Make sure your baking powder is fresh and within date.
Other afternoon snacks
For the scones
- 500g all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 85g caster sugar
- 115g unsalted cold cubed butter
- 25g baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 195g buttermilk
- 50g raisins or sultanas
- Strongly brewed earl grey tea
- Clotted cream(for topping)
- Strawberry jam(for spreading)
For the egg wash
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
How to make the scones
- Start by soaking your sultanas or raisins in some strongly brewed earl grey tea for 30 minutes. Drain the fruit and set aside until needed.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attached place all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, caster sugar and paddle for 30 seconds until everything is combined. This way you don’t have to sieve the dry ingredients. You can also make the scone dough in a mixing bowl.
- Add the cold cubed butter and paddle everything until your mix resembles breadcrumbs. It will take around 5 minutes in the standing mixer and 10 minutes if you are rubbing the butter with the flour by hand.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk and the eggs.
- Make a well in the bowl of your standing mixer and add the wet ingredients. Paddle on low speed and continue mixing until it comes together with no dry mix left.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead the dough. A lot of recipes call for little to no kneading but I find it makes a pretty crumbly scone. You need the dough to be developed slightly so that it can capture the gas created by the baking powder being activated.
- Split the dough. Roll half of the dough into a smooth ball; you want the top of the dough ball to be smooth. Add the raisins or sultanas to the other half and use a bench scraper to incorporate the fruit. Cover both dough balls with cling film and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, flip the dough balls upside down(we want the smooth side on the bottom) and roll in both directions on a lightly floured surface. We are going the roll plain ones to 2cm and the fruit ones to 2.5cm thickness. Fruit scones tend to rise less as the fruits in the dough weigh them down hence why we roll them slightly thicker than the plain ones.
- Dip your cutter in flour, shake any excess and cut straight down with a 6cm round cutter, and then carefully turn over the scone, and place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper- this gives you a nice sharp edge. I reroll my scraps only once as the more flour we add to the mix the denser the scones will be but you can keep rolling until all dough has been shaped. You should get 7 scones of each!
- Cover the scones with cling film and let them rest for half an hour. Brush egg yolk that has been whisked with a pinch of sugar and salt; this will make the top of the scones even shinier. Brush as gently as you can on the top, being careful that the egg yolk does not drip to the sides. Rest for a further 30 minutes. Resting the scones and allowing the gluten to develop will allow them to rise perfectly and evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/conventional oven. Fan setting makes the scones way too dry and crumbly.
- Brush with the egg yolk mix one more time; By brushing the tops twice you will achieve a golden top once baked.
- Bake at 190C for 12-14 minutes. It is best to check the scones after 12 minutes. Once the top and bottom of the scones have a nice golden colour and feel light when lifted then they are ready to come out of the oven!
- Serve slightly warm. To serve split the scone in half using your hands, spread some strawberry jam and top with clotted cream!
- Scones are best on the same day, but you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freezing instructions: you can freeze the unbaked scone circles, and when you fancy take some out, let them thaw on a tray lined with paper, eggwash them and bake. You can also just freeze completely baked scones, and let them thaw to room temperature when you would like to eat them.