Saturday, March 22, 2008

Buttermilk Scones

I had an urge to make something late one night. So I thought I needed something easy and something I would have the ingredients for. Scones popped into my head and I remembered about Ellie's recipe over at Kitchen Wench. However, when I looked more closely, it needed buttermilk. I was feeling too lazy to go out and get some buttermilk. Luckily, as I read the recipe more, you can do a substitute for buttermilk. I still didn't have soymilk substitute that Ellie suggested, but a quick Google search came up with another substitute, just adding vinegar to regular milk. That sealed the deal and I made the scones.

The scones are very easy to make and since you have to squish (yes that's my techical term for working the butter through the flour) the butter into the flour, you could get kids involved and have it as a fun activity. You also get to roll the dough and cut out the round shapes, so a good activity for school holidays for the kids.

The taste of these scones are very nice. And yes, they were fluffy still. I'm not sure if they would be even fluffier with buttermilk. I'll make them properly next time. Next time, I would also substitute the wholemeal flour with self raising instead. I'm not a big fan of anything wholemeal and hence am tailoring the scones to my own taste. But otherwise, the wholemeal does add an extra dimension to the scones.

Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients (makes 10)
1 cup/150g self-raising flour
1 cup/160g wholemeal self-raising flour (or wholemeal AP flour + 2 tsp baking powder)
2 tbsp/25g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
80g cold unsalted butter, diced
100g natural sultanas (or chopped dried dates or other similar dried fruit)
1 cup/250mL buttermilk

I made a substitute for the buttermilk by using 1 tablespoon of vinegar mixed into 250ml of milk and letting that react for 10 minutes before using it. The milk was definitely lumpy after 10 minutes and smelt like buttermilk with the sour smell from the vinegar.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray with some baking paper, then liberally dust with flour and set aside.

2. Sift together all the dry ingredients (both flours, sugar and salt), then rub in the cold butter with your fingertips till the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the dried fruit and toss well so it’s well coated.

3. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, then pour in the buttermilk and quickly stir together till it holds together, then tip onto a floured chopping board and knead till just combined. Pat the dough about 4-5cm flat, then dip a round cutter into some flour and stamp out the scones, carefully placing the scones closely together on the prepared baking tray.

4. Lightly dust the tops with flour, then bake for 20 minutes, or till the scones are golden and sound hollow when lightly tapped on the top. Remove the tray from the oven and tightly wrap a clean tea towel around it for 5 minutes before serving with some homemade strawberry jam and freshly whipped cream.


  1. Nice job with the scones :) As for the fluffiness, too much flour and overworking results in heavier, denser scones - just remember that a light touch and minimal flour is best, I tend to work mine on a sheet of non-stick baking paper :) If you're not so confident about bringing the dough together, one method is once the dough has just come together, pat it into a cylindrical shape then just cut off slices about 4cm thick and place them on a baking tray as is!

  2. Thanks Ellie. I think I definitely overworked the dough. I was kneading it like crazy. I will use a lighter hand next time and hopefully get even fluffier results.