PART 2: NOT ALL SCONES ARE CREATED EQUAL
This is a ‘spin-off’ from the blog, “An Unforgettable Afternoon Tea at the Lake District” at The Gaddum restaurant. A simple, delicious scone with such a back story deserves its own article, and the following is former manager at The Gaddum, Michael Vanheste, own words and passion in display.
Many years of research into creating the best possible recipe for what is an essential part of an English tea has taught us (me and pastry chef Zoe Louise) that scones are in fact closer to bread in their “DNA makeup” than they are to cake. Celebrated English chef Gary Rhodes explains in his book “British Classics” that the etymology of the word “scone” could be traced back to the old Dutch for “scoonbroot” (schoon brood or beautiful - think luxury - bread).
Yet where bread requires vigorous kneading, overworking the dough would be disastrous as instead of producing light and soft scones, the result would be more akin to rock cakes.
However, bakers with a good understanding of bread making will know that the higher the protein content in flour is, the better they'll get the formation of gluten, the structure that gives shape to dough when you work it. That’s why you can buy “bread flour” in the supermarket, a product with a higher protein content (12 - 14 %) as opposed to “plain flour” (around 10 %) which is preferred for cakes and pastry.
So what we do for our scones is using part bread flour and part plain flour so that the higher gluten content helps to give structure to the scones and the plain flour its velvety softness, pastry chef Zoe just has to ensure she doesn’t overwork the dough. She therefore uses a technique that folds the dough rather than knead it. And it just so happens that we have an amazing flour mill called “Carrs” in the Lake District. Carrs imports Canadian wheat directly into the port of Silloth, on the Solway coast in Cumbria and mills it into flour at that same location. The protein content in wheat is affected by the climate of the region where it’s grown, the harsh Canadian winters and mild summers are perfect for growing wheat.
With a pedigree like this, need we say more about the afternoon tea scones at The Gaddum? The right degree of crumblyness on the outside, warm and soft like cloud inside. Wash it down with the best loose leaft tea makes a wonderful afternnoon. Click to read Part 1: Afternoon Tea at The Gaddum.