Saturday, 16 April 2016

Buttermilk Scones (Wheat Free)

There's nothing nicer than a lovely fluffy, freshly baked scone; it's one of life's simple little pleasures.

In North American countries, I believe these are more commonly known as biscuits and are eaten as part of a savoury meal, with stew or sausages and gravy. Here, they're served for breakfast, as a mid-morning snack, or an afternoon tea treat with butter and jam, and in the UK they can be eaten with clotted cream or honey.

Scones are supposed to be light and fluffy, but here in Ireland they tend to be solid and stodgy and sit in your stomach for hours. For years I've been experimenting with different recipes, but they've always been too dense and use a load of ingredients that aren't necessary.

What is necessary, however, is the combination of baking powder and baking soda. These two raising agents work together: the baking powder is a fast acting agent, that begins working as soon as they hit the oven's heat, and once it's finished working, the slow acting effect of the baking soda kicks in to continue the rising process. This is why they're super fluffsome!

Essentially, scones are baby soda breads with the addition of butter and a little sugar. They're lovely and fluffy, and best enjoyed with butter and jam. These are made using a handful of very simple ingredients: flour, raising agent, butter, buttermilk, and a hint of sugar. These are best enjoyed on the day they are baked.

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat
☑ Nuts
☑ Eggs

☒ Gluten
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Dairy


For eight medium sized scones
  • 12 ounces (340 grammes) white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3 millilitres) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 8 to 10 fluid ounces (230 to 285 millilitres) buttermilk
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) block butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 millilitres; 15 to 30 grammes) caster sugar
If using unsalted butter, add 2 pinches of salt.


  • Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter or sunflower oil. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (450ºF, Gas Mk.9).
  • In a mixing bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar together until blended. Grate in the butter, then break it up a little with your fingertips; if you can still see pea-sized pieces of butter, that's enough breaking.
  • Add the buttermilk bit by bit until you get a soft workable dough, mixing with a knife. Don't over handle it, or the finished scones will be tough.The dough might be a little uneven, with some bits dry and some bits sticky, but that's how it should be.
  • Turn out onto a floured working surface, fold and flatten a few times to even out the consistency a bit. Flatten with your hand to a thickness of about an inch (2.5 centimetres). Using a 3 inch (7 centimetre) cutter or glass dipped in flour, cut out the scones. Do not twist the cutter: just go straight down and straight up. Twisting will make the scones turn out weird. I didn't make the rules here.
  • Gently squish together the scraps and flatten out again to cut some more. You should get about eight or nine scones.
  • Place the scones on the baking sheet so they're slightly touching. It helps as well to line them in a 3-2-3 pattern, as opposed to two lines of 4. This way, they help each other rise in the oven. Brush the tops with beaten egg or with melted butter.
  • Cook them in the centre of the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and well risen.
  • Break apart and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before eating. They're best straight from the oven, but they do keep well in an airtight box for up to a week.

THIS TIME IN 2014: No recipe

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