Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!
Until this challenge I didn’t realize that an Australian scone is a baking powder biscuit.
Scones in North American are nearly always triangular in shape have a slightly crisp crust usually covered in sugar and have a soft interior crumb and sometimes are laced with dried fruit (these baked goods in Australia and England are called “rock cakes” since they are usually made to look like “rocky” cakes not wedges), meanwhile biscuits in North American are a round shaped buttery slightly flaky baked good usually eaten with meals (these items in Australia and England are called “scones” and are eaten with butter and jam usually with cups of tea or coffee as a sweet snack).
Hopefully that helps straightens it all out. Scones/biscuits are made from a few simple ingredients they are inexpensive and quick to make, but can be difficult to master.
Last year I posted a Breakfast Biscuit Sandwich and I used my sweet friend Edna’s Cafe Biscuits delicious recipe. This time around I used the wonderful buttermilk version of the challenge recipe. Audax posted lots of great tips on creating tender, flaky biscuits, including using frozen grated butter, the wetter the dough the lighter the scones, not overworking or underworking the dough, not twisting the cutter, and letting the dough rest before cutting so that it’s easier to handle.
I’ve only made biscuits a couple of times and I have a long way to go before I’ve master biscuits. I had hoped to make several batches of biscuits but ran out of time. Visit the Daring Kitchen to see a slideshow of all the creative scones/biscuits the Daring Bakers created for this challenge and the original challenge recipe with all of the helpful tips on how to make fabulous biscuits.
Do you have a great tip for making biscuits?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons frozen grated butter
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, approximately
- 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones, optional
- Preheat oven to very hot 475°F.
- Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
- Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
- Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
- Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
- Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
- Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
- Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.
Thanks Audax for all of the hard work you did on this challenge, as well as all the help you so generously give on all of the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks challenges!