What exactly is buttermilk?
Today I spent a bit of time researching on buttermilk. I had never used it before because it’s only sold in one-litre (4-cup) containers and I often wondered, what I would do with the rest, if a recipe required only 150ml (⅔ cup), and anyway it costs 3-4 dollars. I often argued, if I added 2 dollars, I could buy 4 litres of milk, so you guessed right, I just used milk and added some lemon to curdle it. According to Wikipedia, this is called Acidified milk.
When I started blog baking I decided to try buttermilk. That week all the recipes that called for milk, yoghurt or sour cream just got doses of buttermilk. I hate wasting food, so my three dollars was used to the last cent. The result? buttermilk, does make a huge difference in baking. The scones I baked here are fluffier, better looking and very tasty. Now I happily buy buttermilk and just make sure I use all of it before it goes bad.
What exactly is buttermilk? according to the World English Dictionary, “it’s the sourish liquid remaining after butter has been separated from milk, and often used for making scones and soda bread.”
I also discovered that nowadays it’s very difficult to get the traditional buttermilk described above, in North America, although it’s is still common in many Indo-Pakistani households. Most, if not all, of the buttermilk we buy in North America is commercially cultured by adding the bacteria Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis (old name Streptococcus lactis) to pasteurized skim or lowfat milk to give it the acidic flavour (innovatewithdairy.com). Some dairies add flecks of butter to give it the yellowish colour and now you can even find condensed or dried buttermilk mostly used in the food industry. The cultured buttermilk is more viscous and the good thing is you can actually make your own cultured buttermilk
Today I want to share the buttermilk scones, recipe, of course, hope you enjoy making them!!!
Buttermilk Scones with Strawberries and Cream
Preparation time: 10 minutes; Baking time: 12-15 minutes; Makes: 8-10
- 250g (2 cups, 9oz) self-raising flour
- Pinch salt
- 60g (¼ cup, 2oz, ½ stick) butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- 1 egg, beaten, lightly
- 120ml (½ cup) buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Buttermilk or egg, for glazing
- Preheat oven to 425℉ (220℃). Brush baking sheet with melted butter or oil or just place parchment (greaseproof) paper if preferred.
- Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add cubed butter and rub into the flour briefly, and lightly, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
- Add egg and almost all the buttermilk to the well. Mix with a flat-bladed knife, to soft dough, adding more milk, only if necessary.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (use self-raising flour) and knead briefly and lightly, folding it back over itself, and pressing down (about 20 seconds). The dough should just lose its stickiness. (Do not over handle the dough otherwise you’ll have tough scones)
- Press or roll out dough to a flat round, 2 cm thick, circle. Cut dough into circles using a floured, 5 cm cutter. Pile the scraps together and press or roll out. Cut more pieces (do not re-knead).
- Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet (baking tray). Glaze with buttermilk or if preferred glaze with egg for a shiny crust. Bake 10-15 minutes or until well-risen and golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm.
- For cup measures: spoon the flour into the cup, heaping it up over the top, then slide a knife across the top to level off the extra. Be careful not to shake or tap the cup to settle down the flour or you will have more than you need. I use a 240ml American cup.
Points to note:
- Please note that oven temperatures are given as a guideline only. You may need to add or reduce the suggested temperature depending on your oven. I baked at 430°F (220°C) for 12 minutes.
- The secret to light fluffy scones is ‘very light handling of the dough.’ Over handling will result in tough scones.
- I prefer to brush my scones with egg because it gives a brown and glossy finish, but I just brushed these ones with buttermilk..
- You can cut the scones into squares or any other shape you desire.
- Scones are best eaten while they are still warm and fresh, but can be frozen up to three months.
- For soft scones, wrap in a clean tea towel while still hot. For a crisp top, place on a wire wrack to cool.
- Last Updated: 11 February 2019
Step By Step Photos
Remember to assemble all ingredients before you start.
Sift flour, sugar and salt into a bowl.
Add the cubed butter
Rub in the butter into the flour, using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
Add the egg and almost all of the buttermilk.
Mix with a flat bladed knife, to a soft dough, add more buttermilk, only if necessary.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly and lightly for about 20-30 seconds.
Press out or roll the dough to a flat round, 2cm thick . Cut dough into 5cm circles using a fluted cutter, or if preferred, just cut into the shape you want.
Place scones on the prepared baking tray (sheet) and glaze with some buttermilk. Bake 425℉ (220℃) 10-15 minutes or until well risen and golden brown
Transfer to a cooling rack.
Serve with whipped cream and strawberries or any other filling or fruit of your choice, or just eat it plain, the old fashioned way.
I really enjoyed eating these scones, warm.
Hope you enjoy eating the scones.
These scones have been made by:
- Confessions of a Cookaholic Click here to see her heart shaped buttermilk scones
Last updated 11 February 2019