Help with scones spreading out too much
Posted: 29 August 2010 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I?m from the Bay Area in California, and we have this amazing cheese shop and bakery?Cheeseboard?in Berkeley that makes the best scones I?ve ever had. (I?ve hated every scone until I had theirs.) Their most popular flavor is the corn-cherry scone, and I obtained the recipe from their cookbook. Trying it at home, I?ve run into the problem of the scones spreading out too much in the oven (I see the butter melting and leaking out the dough sometimes.), and the end result is a little flatter than it should be. I try to work as fast as I can in making the dough to avoid softening the butter, and I refrigerated the dough for at least half an hour before I bake it (to ensure that the dough is cold when it goes into the oven). This has helped to reduce some spreading out, but the scones are still flatter than what I get at the bakery.

Here is the recipe, posted on someone?s food blog. It is the exact same one in the book.
http://www.mycookingblog.com/post/1-cookie/14248/Corn-Cherry-Scones?Arizmendi?Cheese-Board-Collective

I usually make a half recipe, and I notice that the batter seems a bit too wet when you use the full amount of buttermilk (1/2 c. + 2 Tb for half recipe). I still can mold the scones, but they stick to my hands a lot. I?m not sure if that is how it should be. Another detail, if it?s relevant, is that I use whole milk buttermilk. (The recipe doesn?t specify what kind, so I opted with the fatter one.)

Can someone help me problem solve? Should I maybe use a baking stone and put the cookie sheet on top of that? I?m thinking the baking stone will cook the scones more quickly before the batter has time to melt and spread out, but I don?t want to burn them.

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Posted: 29 August 2010 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hey Michael,
That is quite a large amount of leavening between the baking soda and the baking powder. The recipe doesn’t specify the type/brand of baking powder. If you search this forum you should find previous discussions of baking powder. There is a great deal of difference between the different brands/types. Also, there is room for variation in the acidity of the buttermilk. The combination of acid and soda provides this recipe with some initial lift. Technically buttermilk should be low fat. Historically buttermilk was made with the whey left over after making butter.
I would start with the leavening as first suspect. Try a batch with half the leavening you are currently using.

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Posted: 30 August 2010 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Is this recipe overleavened? How does the leavening affect the spreading out? It seems like you want more of a rise to counteract the spreading.

But anyhow, I use Rumford aluminum-free baking powder (not double-acting). It is still active. I test it in water before I use it in recipes. As for buttermilk, I use Berkeley Farms Bulgarian cultured buttermilk (which is made from whole milk and is called Bulgarian, I presume, because of the L. bulgaricus culture).

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Posted: 30 August 2010 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Scones do not have much structure. I believe the leavening is overcoming the weak structure. I think that proofing the Rumford is counter productive. Do the search I recommended and read up. Rumford definitely should not be used that way. This may be your problem because the timing of when the leavening does its work is critical during baking. By proofing you destroy that timing. Your buttermilk is probably delightful. But, it is not traditional. To produce what the bakery does (which may not be possible) you need to first duplicate their ingredients as closely as possible.

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Posted: 30 August 2010 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Ok. I will look up the discussions about baking powder. What do you mean by proofing destroying the timing? I simply sprinkle a pinch of baking powder in water to see if it fizzes, just to be sure that it’s still good. Then if the baking powder is still active, I add the prescribed amount to the recipe as specified by the instructions.

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Posted: 30 August 2010 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Okay. When one proofs yeast for baking one mixes it with small amount of water,flour,sugar and waits for it to bubble. Then uses the result.

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