Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Breakfast Scones

I made scones for breakfast again...this time I didn't forget the baking powder ;)

I tweak the same basic scones recipe a little, and added in some bacon and rosemary to turn them into savoury scones. I took home some rosemary sprigs from the States last summer, and one of the sprigs has rooted and has since call this place home. Although I wouldn't say it is growing extremely well, I am just as pleased that I can have a constant supply of this fresh herb all year round :)

Instead of cutting the dough into rounds, this time I made them into wedges. Simply because, with my limited knowledge and for being a culinary idiot, I have long since developed this 'mental block'. I like to associate those rounded ones with biscuits...and I feel more comfortable to call them scones if they are shaped into triangular wedges.

The scones were really really good when eaten warm and fresh out of the oven...soft, fluffy and flaky. On the next day, I warm them in the oven before serving...the texture was a little dry. I don't remember having this problem the first time I made the basic scones. It was only while writing up this post, I learned that since scones contain little fat, they dry out pretty fast and are best eaten on the same day. Another finding...apparently triangle wedges will yield crunchy edges but tend to dry out more quickly then rounds.

So how can one have freshly baked scones in pajamas without sacrificing the extra hour of sleep just to get up to prepare them? Here's a useful tip I have learned, the dough can actually be made ahead, cut into rounds or triangles and refrigerate overnight, then bake them the next morning. The shaped doughs can even be freeze ahead.

What a great way to get your scones and your sleep ;)

The recipe I have posted here may look very long, complicated and even intimidating to some, but these scones are really not hard to make. I have had a couple of failed attempts trying to make biscuits/scones, so I added in as many tips as possible in this recipe so that anyone who are keen to give it a try will get it right the first time.

Happy home baking!

Rosemary and Bacon Scones

(makes 6)
250g cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 egg plus enough fresh milk to make up 140ml
3 strips of bacon, chopped into small chunks
1 sprig fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
*egg wash (mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon fresh milk)

  1. Pan-fry bacon chunks over low heat, until brown and crisp. Drain off any excess oil and set aside to cool. Remove leaves from the rosemary sprig and roughly chop them.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and add enough fresh milk to make up 140ml of liquid. Leave to chill in fridge.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add in salt and sugar and whisk the dry ingredients together. With finger tips rub the COLD butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (It is important that the butter be cold so when it is cut into the flour mixture it becomes small, flour-coated crumbs. Due to our hot weather and my warm hands, I use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. If the butter starts to melt away during this process, stop and place the mixing bowl (with the mixture) in the freezer for 10-15mins to prevent the butter from melting further. Continue the process when the mixture is well chilled.)
  4. On hot days, you may want to chill the mixing bowl (with the mixture) in the fridge for 30mins before you proceed to the next step. On cooler days, you may skip this step, if you are as impatient as I am.
  5. Mix in the bacon and rosemary. Add the egg & milk mixture all at once and stir with a fork until just combined. The mixture will be sticky, moist and lumpy. Gather up the mixture and place it on a lightly floured surface and give it a few light kneading (not more than 10 seconds) so that it comes together to form a dough. Do Not over work the dough. (Only mix the dough until it comes together. Too much kneading will cause gluten to develop, and the resulting scones will turn hard and chewy. Mix only until the ingredients come together into a combined mass.)
  6. Place dough in a plastic bag or cover it with cling wrap. Keep dough in fridge for about 30mins. (The objective here is to keep the dough cold to prevent the butter from melting so that there will be little bits of dispersed butter in the dough. During baking, the heat will cause these tiny bits of butter to melt into the dough and leaves pockets and layers in the scones for them to rise nicely. If the butter melts or softens before baking, the resulting scones will be hard and flat.)
  7. Remove dough from fridge and set it in the centre of a baking tray (lined with parchment paper). Dust hands with some flour and pat out into a round disc about 1 inch thickness (avoid using too much flour or pat the dough too flat). Dip a dough scraper in flour and cut the dough into 6 wedge-shaped pieces, press down firmly without twisting or sawing. This will help to shear the dough cleanly allowing the scones to rise higher. Do not pat the cut edges of the scones, otherwise it will not rise nicely. Dip scraper in flour after each cut.
  8. For soft-sided scones, move the wedges slightly apart leaving just a small gap in between so that the sides are almost touching. For crisp-sided ones, place them 1 inch apart, these will not rise as high as those that are baked close together. Brush the tops with the egg wash.
  9. Bake at preheated oven at 200degC for about 13 - 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scones comes out clean. The texture of the interior should be light and soft (Note: over baking will cause the scones to become dry). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Serve warm, with butter if you like.

    Recipe source:adapted from 爱上做面包, 德永久美子

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