Scones are awesome for many different reasons, but many people enjoy serving them with coffee or tea. They’re great pastries that go well with hot beverages.
Of course, you can easily just enjoy them as snacks if you’re someone who isn’t into coffee or tea, and you’ve likely eaten them from various bakeries in the past.
You might even have people in your family that make delicious homemade scones. If this was the motivation for you to start baking your own, that might be what led you here.
Sometimes new bakers make mistakes when trying to make them the first couple of times. Are your scones coming out much harder than you expected them to be?
Keep reading to get information about why they might turn out harder than usual. You’ll also learn about other mistakes that can happen while making scones and how to avoid them.
1 – Working the Dough Too Much
The most common reason why people bake scones that turn out too hard has to do with working the dough. You have to work the dough to get things to turn out properly, but many new bakers go overboard.
If you’re working the dough way too much, you might have the scones turn out way tougher than normal. An ideal scone is going to be flaky and it’ll be easy to eat.
Working the dough with a bit of a lighter touch is a good way to try to remedy this problem. You need to learn how to work the dough just enough, and you should stop just as the dough comes together how you need it to.
It can take a little practice to get this right when you haven’t baked scones much in your life. If you have someone who is experienced that you can learn from, you could try to watch what they do so that you can see exactly how much you need to work the dough.
Remember that the dough will still have some bumps and lumpy spots when you’re done working it. You don’t need to work the dough until it’s completely smooth.
2 – Using Too Much Milk
Using too much milk can wind up making your scones tough as well. Some people make the mistake of using more milk or buttermilk than they need to when making them.
To get them to turn out flaky and nice, it’s necessary to be careful about how much milk you’re using. You want to use just enough of it to get the dough to stick together properly.
It’s actually going to be best to try to use low-fat milk for this process, too. If you’ve used the right amount of milk or buttermilk, you should notice that the dough will be a little crumbly.
If you’re using more than you need to, it’ll be likely that the scones will come out hard. This makes them less pleasant to eat, and you’ll probably not want to try to finish them.
3 – You Should Use Cold Ingredients
Some people have reported that using room-temperature ingredients has caused problems with scones. When you’re making them, it’s important to be able to keep the dough cold so that the butter that you’re using doesn’t melt.
The butter will be less likely to melt if you make use of cold ingredients. This means using cold eggs, cold milk, and other cold ingredients.
Try to remember to do this so that you can bake scones that turn out just right. It’s possible that using warmer ingredients could be one of the reasons why they aren’t turning out properly.
Another handy tip is to try chilling the dough before you start baking. This makes it much less likely that the butter will melt before the scones finish baking.
A simple way to do this is to cut the scones into wedges and then place them on a baking sheet. You can put them in the refrigerator while you’re waiting for the oven to heat up to the right temperature.
This will be enough time to chill the dough before you get started. It’s worth taking the extra bit of time to do this.
4 – Use Pastry Flour
Using pastry flour could be the secret weapon that will allow you to enjoy light, fluffy scones. Most people wind up using standard types of flour such as all-purpose flour because it’s what they happen to have.
While it could be okay to use all-purpose flour when baking scones, it isn’t necessarily going to be ideal. This is because all-purpose flour has a higher protein content than many other types of flour.
You could try using pastry flour instead since it’s very light on protein. Using this type of flour prevents the scones from turning out to be too dense.
There are some scone recipes that call for a mix of two different flour types as well. For example, you might be asked to mix all-purpose flour with cake flour to make the dough.
Consider looking for a simple recipe that will allow you to make scones with pastry flour. It’ll likely help you to get the results that you want.
Remember That Baking Scones Ahead of Time Makes Things Easier
Finally, you should remember that making scones ahead of time can make your life a lot easier. Generally, you want to have them when you’re having people over for lunch or when you’re getting together to drink coffee with friends.
It’s not necessarily easy to bake them in time for these events unless you do some things ahead of time. You don’t want to try to rush making them because it’ll be more likely that you’ll make mistakes.
Instead, you can prepare the dough ahead of time so that you can bake the scones just a bit before your friends arrive. Scones are best when they’re served hot and fresh, but you can prepare so that everything will be ready for you.
Make your dough and shape it however you want to. Then, store the dough in the refrigerator overnight so that it’ll be ready to be baked when the time is right.
This means that all you’ll have to worry about is putting the dough into the oven at the proper temperature. It takes the pressure off and it allows you to have a great brunch with some of your closest friends.
The advice above should make it so much easier to make scones that are soft and tasty. These pastries are meant to be light and fluffy when things turn out properly.
Just do your best to avoid the common mistakes that people make. Try not to work the dough too much because this will often make them turn out way tougher than normal.
Use cold ingredients and remember to chill the dough before you bake the scones. It’ll ensure that the butter doesn’t melt too fast.
You also need to consider the type of flour that you’re using. To enjoy the lightest scones that you can, it’s best to use pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour.
Knowing all this will make your experience baking scones much easier. You should be able to enjoy great results and you’ll be proud to have people come over to taste what you’ve baked.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.