Tuesday, September 28, 2010

RLB's Flaky Scones

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a huge carb fan.  Carbs and fat.  They're best when combined, like in these incredibly flaky, wonderful scones by my beloved RLB.
The other day my mom bought The Bread Bible.  Amazing recipes, amazing instructions (as always).  Being eager and impatient, I didn't want to pick a recipe that required any sort of prep work, or waiting 20+ hours to be able to actually bake the glutenous wonders.  I settled on her recipe for flaky scones, and they, like all things RLB, did not disappoint.  I ate them with Devonshire cream and jam and nearly died from the awesome.

I substituted raisins for currants, and used half-and-half instead of heavy (whipping, for my fellow Canadians) cream.  They were rich and soft, without being too heavy.  If you end up making them with a heavier cream, please let me know how much more amazing they turn out!
But there is a problem with near ownership of The Bread Bible: I have a favourite bread store, Uprising Breads.  Their bread is amazing, and they give my kid cookies, so I feel a little guilty making my own bread behind their backs.  Of course, there's always the chance I'll really suck at baking bread.  It might fit more into the "cooking" category-- something I'm hopelessly bad at.  (Seriously. If anyone wants to rise to the challenge of teaching me how to cook, please let me know...).

I will keep you all posted of my bread baking successes and failures.  But for now, let there be scones:

Flaky Scones Recipe
available in The Bread Bible (which I strongly encourage you purchase) or also online here and a few other places 

1 cup (8 ounces/ 227 grams) unsalted butter, cold
4 ¼ cups (21.25 ounces/608 grams) unbleached all purpose flour, preferably Hecker’s
½ cup (3.5 ounces/100 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (9.6 grams) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
¼ teaspoon (1.7 grams) salt
2 liquid cups (16.3 ounces/464 grams) heavy cream
1 cup (4.5 ounces/131 grams) currants
2 half sheet pans lined with nonstick liners such as Silpat or parchment
A baking stone OR baking sheet

Oven Temperature: 400°F

1. Chill the butter. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes.

2. Mix the dough. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and with your fingertips, press the cubes into large flakes. (Or use an electric mixer, mixing until the butter is the size of small walnuts.)

Stir in the cream just until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to come together in large clumps. Stir in the currants. Knead the dough in the bowl just until it holds together, and turn it out onto a lightly floured board.

3. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F 30 minutes before baking. Have an oven rack at the middle level and set a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.

4. Shape the dough. Lightly flour the top of the dough (or use a floured pastry sleeve), and roll it out into a long rectangle 1 inch thick and about 8 inches by 12 inches; use a bench scraper to keep the edges even by smacking it up against the sides of the dough. Fold the dough in thirds, lightly flour the boards again, and rotate the dough so that the closed side faces to the left. Roll it out again and repeat the “turn” 3 more times, refrigerating the dough, covered with plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes as necessary only if it begins to soften and stick.

Roll out the dough once more. Trim the edges so that it will rise evenly. (To use the scraps, press them together and roll out, giving them 2 turns, then roll the dough into a 1-inch-thick square and cut it into 2 triangles.)

Cut the dough in half lengthwise so you have 2 pieces, each about 4 inches by 12 inches. Cut each piece of dough into triangles with about a 3-inch-wide base and place them about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. (The dough will rise but not expand sideways.) If the dough is soft, cover it well with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour before baking.

5. Bake the scones. Bake the scones one sheet at a time: cover the second sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you bake the first one, then bake the second pan directly from the refrigerator. Place the pan on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet and bake the scones for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the tops are golden brown and firm enough so that they barely give when pressed lightly with a finger (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a scone will read about 200°F). Check the scones after 10 minutes of baking, and if they are not browning evenly, rotate the baking sheet from front to back. Do not overbake, as they continue baking slightly on removal from the oven and are best when slightly moist and soft inside.

6. Cool the scones. Place two linen or cotton towels on two large racks and, using a pancake turner, lift the scones from the baking sheets and set them on top. Fold the towels over loosely and allow the scones to cool until warm or at room temperature. (Since linen or cotton “breathes,” the scones will have enough protection to keep from becoming dry and hard on the surface but will not become soggy.)


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