This is a recipe for traditional plain scones. No additions. No sticky, sugary glazes (American scones, I’m looking at you here). Just plain scones, best eaten while still warm and fresh from the oven. With butter and jam. Or clotted cream, if you live somewhere you can buy the proper stuff.
Scones are very traditional in Northern Ireland and plain scones are about as classic as you can get. If you want to add some dried fruit or chocolate chips, then feel free to throw a handful into the mix, but for now, this is a simple, classic, recipe for plain scones.
These are very quick and easy to make. I can have these plain scones ready to put in the oven even before it finishes preheating. And because the recipe uses regular milk, you probably already have all the ingredients you need in your house. Although if you do fancy making a scone recipe with buttermilk, I’d recommended my Treacle Scones.
You want to mix this lightly and quickly. Try not to knead the dough – although you do need to combine it sufficiently to make a nice smooth ball of dough before rolling it out – you may find it’s a bit of trial and error before you reach that sweet spot of light, fluffy scones. But once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ve never far away from fresh, hot scones.
I find that the secret to nice, tall scones, is to make sure you don’t roll the dough too thinly before you cut it out. At least 2cm thickness and then you’ll get a nice rise on the scones. I keep my scones on the small side so they bake pretty quickly, so just keep an eye on yours if they are larger than mine (I used a 58mm scone cutter) and bake until golden on top and they sound hollow when you taps the bottoms.
Traditional Plain Scones
- 8 oz or 225g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 oz or 85g butter
- 4-5 fl oz or 100-150ml milk
- 1 egg, beaten for glaze
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C (conventional).
- Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar into a large bowl.
- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Slowly add the milk until you have a stiff dough. Don't add it all at once because you might not need it all and you'll end up a sticky dough.
- Roll out the dough until it's about 2cm thick and cut into small rounds (this recipe makes about 10 scones). I used a 58mm cutter (2¼ inch).
- Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg and place the rounds on a floured baking tray. Bake in a 400F/200C oven for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.