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Traditional Irish White Soda Bread Scones

One of the most constantly debated bread terms in kitchens around Ireland has to be "What's the Difference between a "Scawn" and a "Scone"? My late mum always said that although they were spelled the same way but pronounced differently, a ‘Scawn’ of bread was the big one that you sliced with your tea and that the wee ones were the 'Scones'

I love scones! We make them every other day or so just because the kids love them and when someone drops in, they’re great to have at hand.

So here is a simple White Scone recipe that anyone can make and that has never let me down!

My Ingredients:

500g Plain flour
125g butter
15g baking powder
10g sugar
3g salt
1 egg
200ml water + 50ml milk mixed together

My Method:

1. I never sieve the flour and stuff – instead I put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl and using a balloon whisk, I whisk the dry ingredients together for a couple of seconds. This combines the ingredients well, breaks down any lumps and introduces air into the mix.

2. Now add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingers. Whisk it all again for a few seconds. At this stage if you want to add currants, raisins, chopped cherries, seeds or mixed peel into your scones do it now, but make sure you sprinkle a little flour over the fruit and toss them around in it to help them to sit in the dough and not sink to the bottom.

Break the egg into the flour and pour in ¾ of the water and milk mix. 

I say ¾ only because you can always add more but you can’t take it out. Making bread and pastry, to a recipe that you swear by, has only one real outside force that can govern your result and that, strangely enough, is the weather! Well, really it is the atmosphere and the amount of moisture in the air on the day. That is why you never add the total given amount of liquid to a mix in one go – add it as it is needed, is the golden rule. 

Back to the mix...

3. Using a wooden spoon or your hand mix the flour into the wet ingredients and pull it all together quickly, so as to not make the dough heavy! Add the rest of the liquid if needed. The dough should be soft, like a pillow, to the touch.

4. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough and tip it out onto your floured worktop.

Making scones and all other soda-type breads is totally different to a yeast bread mix. The secret to scone bread dough is to be fast and light. When kneading this type of dough you are only pulling it into shape for cutting – nothing else. So knead for a few seconds pulling the dough to the centre from the edges until you have it nice and smooth on the bottom and don't over knead it. Now, turn it over so you have a nice smooth top.

5. Roll out the dough gently until it is about 3cm thick. Cut out your scones with a 70mm cutter which is about the same width as an average water glass or half pint glass. This gives you a scone of a good size.

Beat another egg with a little milk (about equal amounts) and brush over the top of the scones. What this does is to simply glaze the top of the bread which gives a lovely colour to the finished cooked scones.

6. Place the scones onto a lightly-floured Baking tray. Pop them in a pre-heated oven at 180ÂșC, Gas 5 for 12 -14 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when you tap them on the bottom.

Irish Scones and the many variations of them are nothing to be scared off, so use your imagination! Enjoy!


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