Friday, 27 January 2012

Scones for the Daring Bakers

Have you ever wondered what colour Celestial Dragon is? How do you picture him? Blue, red, green? There have been innumerable representations of dragons throughout history, but the fact of the matter is that no one has actually ever seen one (except through the Lens of Opium). Accordingly, however you may picture Celestial Dragon, chances are that you'd be wrong. Furthermore, dragons, just like their descendants the chameleon, can change colour at will - which of course does not simplify our task. There is, however, a clue as to his true colour.
A number of years ago, Celestial Dragon was walking on the clouds above a great northern isle. They were his favourite kind of clouds: permanent, heavy, grey, dreary, miserable, stiff, polite, almost infinitely long and always wet. And because he felt safe behind the black cumulus shelter, he had decided to appear in his true form. And if you had been there, and if indeed you had looked intently at the sky, you might have discerned a shining shadow behind them. However, since there are no (living) witnesses, we can't corroborate this claim. Nevertheless, something peculiar happened that day: Celestial Dragon was in an exceptionally good mood. And so it was that he decided to make the people underneath the clouds a present. He drew himself up to his full height, cracked his knuckles, smacked his lips, and began. He shook his body so violently that the scales fell off and plummeted down towards the earth. At that time, no one knew what meteors were, so the people had no name for the strange, glowing stones that came falling down from the sky. And as they looked up to see where they were coming from, they saw Celestial Dragon looking down at them, smiling. The people realised that what had descended on them like stones were actually his scales. And they were happy and grateful. So much so that this event, although unrecorded, has survived through the ages till our time in a bakery that reminds the world still of that day: the scones. The clue lies in their name: they are a dragons scales that look like golden stones. And so it is that we may deduce that the heavenly sweetness and goodness of the scones is a reflection of Celestial Dragon's colour: Oven-Baked Gold.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones Recipe from Audax Artifex (his post is very detailed, so please have a look)
-140g of flour
-10g (1tsp) of baking powder
-a pinch of salt
-30g of butter
-100/120g of milk
-45g of raisins
-15g of sugar

Preheat the oven at its highest temperature (230°C-240°C).
Sift the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Add the cold butter cut in small pieces and form crumbs  working with your fingertips the flour and the butter. Add the raisins and the sugar. Then, add the milk and mix quickly with the help of a spoon just to mix everything. Don't overwork at this stage.
Put plenty of flour on the work surface and pour the mixturewhich will be very sticky, on it. Add a little flour on the surface as well, flatten the dough and quickly knead it 4-5 times, alternatively turning and bending it.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 2cm high and cut it into 8 piecesPlace the pieces on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and bake in the oven for no more than 10 minutes (check after 8 minutes and turn the tray). The scones are ready to be enjoyed with a cup of tea, or any other liquid that's just handy!

- Audax advises to sift the flour and baking powder 3 times to improve the leavening. As I don't dispose of a sieve right now, I've mixed the dry ingredients well with a fork in order to incorporate air, and thus favour the leavening process.
- The crumbs of butter and flour should be formed quickly so as to not heat the butter. The smaller the crumbs are, the softer the scone will become. That said, irregular crumbs will also give you a good result; the scone will be flakier.
- After adding the liquid in the mixture, it will be very wet: however, the wetter the dough, the softer the scone shall beHelp yourself with a spatula and knead the flour on the work plan.
- This recipe is extremely fast- 10 minutes to mix the ingredients and another 10 minutes for baking everything. The result is a deliciously soft bun, and it's well worth a try!

Scones  Ricetta di Audax Artifex (il suo post e' estremamente dettagliato, dateci un'occhiata)

- 140 g farina
Enjoying our scone in morning sunlight...
with some cramberry and clementine
- 10 g (1 cucchiaino) di lievito
- una puntina di sale
- 30 g burro
-100/120 ml latte
- 45 g uvetta
-15 g zucchero

Accendete il forno al massimo (230°C - 240°C).
Setacciate la farina con il lievito e il sale. Aggiungere il burro freddo tagliato a pezzetti, e formare delle briciole lavorando velocemente con i polpastrelli la farina e il burro. Aggiungere uvetta e zucchero. Aggiungere il latte e mescolare velocemente con l'aiuto di un cucchiaio soltanto per amalgamare il tutto, ma senza lavorare troppo.
Infarinare abbondantemente il piano di lavoro e versare il composto, che sara' molto appiccicoso. Aggiungere un po' di farina anche sulla superficie, appiattire l'impasto e lavorarlo velocemente girandolo e piegandolo 4-5 volte.
Appiattite l'impasto formando un rettangolo alto 2cm circa e tagliatelo in 8 pezzi. Ponete i pezzi su una teglia coperta con carta forno e infornate a forno caldo per 10 minuti esatti (controllate dopo 8 min e girate la teglia). Gli scones sono pronti per essere gustati con una tazza di te'!

- Audax consiglia di settacciare la farina e il lievito ben 3 volte per migliorare la lievitazione, io non avendo il setaccio ho mescolato bene gli ingredienti secchi con una forchetta per incorporare aria.
- Briciole di burro e farina: vanno formate velocemente per non scaldare il burro. Piu' piccole sono le briciole, piu' morbido sara' lo scone, ma anche delle briciole irregolari daranno un buon risultato rendendo lo scone piu' friabile.
- Dopo l'aggiunta di liquido l'impasto e' molto umido: piu' umido l'impasto, piu' morbido lo scone finale. Aiutatevi con una spatola e farina per lavorarlo sul piano di lavoro.
- Queste ricetta e' estremamente veloce, 10 minuti per mescolare gli ingredienti e altri 10 per la cottura. Inoltre il risultato e' un panino morbidissimo, vale la pena di provarla!

And Spread the Mess