Buttermilk Scones

Eve 27/07/14

Simply great scones! Buttery, soft and fluffy, you will never want to buy scones again!

I think I have created my most favourite scone recipe yet! Tall, fluffy and uber buttery, they taste like a puffed-up sugar cookie!

Have you ever gone to your favourite coffee shop and bought a scone to be given a dry, heavy scone that sticks to the roof of your mouth? I have countless times and it is an experience I wish I have never had. Since those days, I started to make scones, and boy, am I glad I did! These are a million miles better than the ones you can buy at the supermarket, bakeries and at coffee shops {unless you go to an amazing, artisan coffee shop!}.

These scones are easy and fun to make. Six basic ingredients makes these scones quick to whip up anytime! Butter, flour, sugar and the three magic ingredients - buttermilk, cream of tartar and baking soda. The three ingredients just listed are what gives these scones such a good rise and a soft and moist interior.

The main reasons why scones sometimes don't work and have a bad rise is down to two elements - the temperature and the thickness. Scones should be made with butter which has just come out of the the fridge or even the freezer. I used cold butter which was chopped into tiny cubes for the scones pictured here. Also, to keep the butter and scone mixture cold, once I have rubbed the butter into the flour and sugar, I freeze the whole mixture. 

Call me crazy, but "ya gotta do it" for amazing scones!

The dry mixture is only in the freezer for fifteen minutes, so your can prepared the ingredients of the next step.

Science lesson!
{nerd alert}

There are two factors which cause scones to rise with science involved! Buttermilk is acidic as well as the cream of tartar used. Baking soda is an alkali so, when the baking soda reacts with the tartar and buttermilk, a gas is given off and bubbles may appear. When baking, the milk, tartar and soda begin to react again, causing the gas given off to rise and "lift" up the dough, giving the scones and airy interior. 
The second factor is the cold butter. Cold butter is what allows puff pasty to puff and scones to rise. As the butter is worked into the mixture, it coats the flour and sugar, giving a crumbly texture and appearance. In the crumb, pieces of flour, sugar and butter are clumped together as well as there being little lumps of butter. Once the cold butter comes in contact with the hot oven, the butter melts rapidly, producing steam. When the steam tries to escape from the scone, it travels up through the scone, lifting it even more, hence giving the scone a buttery, flaky and crumbly texture. 

I visited Glasgow yesterday to see the Commonwealth games attractions and stalls. I bought the blue plate above and the little cake stand at a vintage homeware stall, so cute!
Ready to make scones? Sure you are!

Buttermilk scones
Posted by Eve
Makes 8
  • 50g butter, chopped into tiny tubes or grated
  • 220g plain flour 
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar 
  • 110ml buttermilk, ice cold

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºc/ 200ºc fan/ gas mark 5 and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar until crumb-like. Put the mixture into the freezer and chill for 15 minutes until ice cold but still granular and crumbly.
  3. Remove from the freezer and add the baking soda and cream of tartar and stir well with a round-bladed knife. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a light dough is formed. Knead lightly on a clean surface until uniform in texture.
  4. Shape into a round which is 3cm thick and cut into 8 slices, as is you would a cake.
  5. Place the scones on to the prepared baking tray and dust with a touch of sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and risen. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.


The scones are best eaten on the day of baking but can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Buttermilk scones
1 scone, plain ( 8 scones)