Sunday, 29 September 2013

Paul Hollywood's plain scones

Last Sunday we celebrated my nephew Max's 11th birthday with a traditional afternoon tea. I tried the recipe for plain scones from Paul Hollywood. I froze the  leftovers on the day of making them. Taking them out yesterday to defrost and not getting a chance to eat them, I expected them to be a bit past their best today. Maybe it's because everything tastes wonderful with clotted cream that they still tasted pretty good today. It seems like a rather long method for making scones, but it's quite straightforward.

Makes around 12 scones
500g strong bread flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
80g softened butter, plus a little extra to grease the baking tray
80g caster sugar
2 eggs
25g level tsp baking powder
250ml milk
1 free-range egg, beaten with a little salt (for glazing)

Weigh out the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Lightly butter and line a flat baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper (not greaseproof).
Put 450g of the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers to create a crumble/breadcrumb-like mixture.
Add the sugar, eggs and baking powder and use a wooden spoon to turn the mixture gently. Make sure you mix all the way down to the bottom and incorporate all of the ingredients.
Now add half of the milk and keep turning the mixture gently with the spoon to combine. Then add the remaining milk a little at a time and bring everything together into a very soft, wet dough. You may not need to add all of the milk.
Put most of the remaining flour onto a clean work surface. Tip the soft dough onto the flour and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top. The mixture will be wet and sticky.
Lightly chaff the mixture - use your hands to fold the dough in half, and then turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. By folding and turning the mixture in this way, you incorporate the last of the flour and add air. Do this a few times until you’ve formed a smooth dough. If the mixture is too sticky use some extra flour to coat your hands or the mixture to make it more manageable. Be careful not to overwork your dough.
Next roll the dough out: sprinkle flour onto the work surface and the top of the dough. Use the rolling pin to roll up from the middle and then down from the middle. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat until it's about 2.5cm/1in thick. Relax the dough slightly by lifting the edges and allowing the dough to spring back.
Using a pastry cutter, stamp out rounds and place them onto the baking tray. Once you’ve cut 4 or 5 rounds you can re-work and re-roll the dough to make it easier to cut out the remaining rounds. Any left-over dough can be worked and rolled again using a rolling pin, but the resulting scones won’t be as fluffy.
Place the scones on the baking tray and leave them to rest for a few mins to let the baking powder work. Then use a pastry brush (or your finger if you don’t have a brush) to glaze them with the beaten egg and salt mixture. Be careful to keep the glaze on the top of the scones. If it runs down the sides it will stop them rising evenly.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 mins, or until the scones are risen and golden.
Leave the scones to cool, then split in half and add butter, jam and clotted cream to serve.

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