Great British Bake Off Series 1, Episode Two
Technical Challenge – Paul Hollywood’s Scones
All right! After last week’s good to eat but definitely totally wrong Victoria Sponge, it’s on to Scones. In the spirit of getting better at this, I actually watched the instruction videos on how to make these _before_ I tried the recipe! A huge problem with this project is that for most of these bakes, I have never tasted a “proper” one. I can judge if I think something is good, but I can’t really speak to whether it is up to Mary Berry’s standards. But I’m not letting that stop me.
British Scones are different than US Scones. The ones in the States tend to be triangular and very sweet. The British ones are round, having been rolled and cut, and are not as sweet.
I got the ball rolling (ha!), greased and papered a pan. I could have used silicone but I went with parchment. I don’t think it makes a difference. Sonic and the Outlaw came over to play Berry and Hollywood for the day.
I knew that the handling was key. You don’t knead this dough, as you want it to stay very soft and fluffy. You “chaff” the dough, which is a gentle folding that incorporates the rest of the flour and smooths the dough without developing too much gluten. Hollywood has you use bread flour (strong flour for the Brits) (if you follow this path you will need to research both terms and unit conversions, teaspoons are NOT the same in the US and the UK). This _could_ develop a lot of gluten, so you need to be on guard! It is not kneading.
His other super pro move is to keep back 50 grams of the flour from the mix for the chaffing, to dust hands, board and dough. This ensures that you don’t screw up your ratios by adding flour during the chaffing, you have just enough.
Once the dough is chaffed and smooth, it is gently rolled out to about 1″ thick (the width of my thumb) by the enthusiastic three year old you keep in your kitchen.
(Don’t worry, to cute keeps coming next week as well). Then it is cut with a biscuit cutter. You can roll the dough a second time to cut more out without too much worry but the third roll is a bad situation. The three scones in the middle of the pan were from the third rolling of the dough. They tasted fine but they lacked height.
Martha Stewart advises (and I agree, so that’s weird) that you should just cut them out of the dough to avoid any wastage if you aren’t worried about looks. I’ll do that next time. They were very pretty, but I’d rather have more sconces than pretty scones.
I then put the egg wash over the top, taking care to keep it off the sides, as it can arrest the rise. I think when I do these again I might wait until after the rest to add the egg wash. It’s not a biggie, but I think the shape of the tops was a bit small and wonder if waiting on the egg wash would allow the tops to expand in line with the bodies.
After the rest, during which they puffed up a bit, into the oven. And…
How do they taste? They are what we in the US would call a baking powder biscuit with a hint of sweetness. They make an excellent vehicle for butter and jam and the fun sorts of cream that one can get in the UK.
This week was a victory. I feel very good about scones. We demolished most of the batch over a couple of pots of tea. A+ would bake again.
Next week, the Cob!