Leavening For Scones | Ask Nigella.com (2024)

Full question

I wonder is it correct to add 4 1/2 teaspoons of cream of tartar in Lily's Scones? I thought it's too much, or maybe I am wrong?

Our answer

Lily's Scones (from HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS) have a combination of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and cream of tartar as leavening agents. The two come in combination as bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is an alkaline and needs the addition of an acid, such as cream of tartar, to create the carbon dioxide that causes the scones to rise.

The amount of cream of tartar - 4 1/2 teaspoons - is correct. Baking powder is made from a combination of bicrabonate of soda plus an acid (usually cream of tartar) in a 1:2 ratio, so this amount is close to a baking powder mixture. Also to make the equivalent of self-raising (self-rising) flour, Nigella usually adds 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g plain (all-purpose) flour so for 500g flour you would need 6 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder (equivalent to 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda plus 4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar). The combination of the two leavening agents is traditional for scones and is useful as they act quickly once mixed together, which helps to make the scones light as the baking time is short. However, cream of tartar can be difficult to find in some places so if it is not available in your area then you could replace the cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda with 6 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.

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Leavening For Scones | Ask Nigella.com (2024)


Leavening For Scones | Ask Nigella.com? ›

The recipe uses 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. Instead you can use 3 teaspoons of baking powder (which is a cobination of cream of tartar and bicarb.) plus one teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. This should give your scones plenty of lift.

How are scones leavened? ›

Leavening: The leavening in scones is typically double acting baking powder and steam, but scones may also use some baking soda to offset acidic ingredients, such as buttermilk, lemon, yogurt, and sour cream. Sometimes cream of tartar and baking soda will be used.

What is the leavening agent in scones? ›

Scones are a type of quick bread made with chemically-leavened dough. Baking powder is the preferred leavening agent, and they are usually enriched with eggs, milk, dairy fat and sugar. Inclusions such as fruit, nuts or chocolate are often included.

Do you use baking powder or bicarbonate of soda for scones? ›

Baking powder is a convenient choice as it is a ready-mixed leavening agent, generally made of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar (usually some cornflour too). In fact, our Fruit Scone Recipe simply uses a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, as opposed to baking powder.

What is the trick in making good scones? ›

Rather than mixing the ingredients together, use a technique called “cutting”. Use a flat-bladed knife or a palette knife and cut it (or pull it) through your ingredients when you add the wet ingredients so they are just barely incorporated. Don't overwork the dough.

What raising agent is used in scones? ›

The steam produced from the milk expands, and causes the scone mix to rise. This steam evaporates and is then replaced by air. The carbon dioxide produced from the chemical raising agent (baking powder/bicarbonate of soda) expands due to the heat from the oven, and causes the scone mix to rise.

How to make scones rise higher? ›

To ensure taller scones, start with a thicker dough disc and place the scones on a tray with sides, allowing them to slightly touch one another. This arrangement encourages the scones to push against the pan and each other, promoting height.

What can I use instead of baking powder in scones? ›

Replace 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of baking powder with 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) of baking soda plus a 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) cream of tartar. Summary: Use 1/2 a teaspoon (2 grams) cream of tartar with 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda in place of 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of baking powder.

Why is baking powder the best raising agent for scones? ›

A: Baking powder is a very important raising agent for this recipe since it leavens the whole recipe mixture instead of just flour. Therefore, with all other heavy ingredients involved, it's necessary to use a lot of baking powder to give the scones a decent rise. You can reduce it but your results will be denser.

Why do my scones taste like baking powder? ›

That slightly bitter, kinda “tinny” flavor you often experience when biting into a muffin, biscuit or scone is the result of using a baking powder in high quantities — as is needed for these quick-rise treats — with aluminum in it.

What to avoid when making scones? ›

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Baking Scones
  1. Using anything but cold ingredients. The secret to the flakiest scones is to start with cold ingredients — cold butter, cold eggs, and cold cream. ...
  2. Only using all-purpose flour. ...
  3. Overmixing the dough. ...
  4. Not chilling the dough before baking. ...
  5. Baking them ahead of time.
May 1, 2019

What happens if you put too much bicarb in scones? ›

Since baking soda needs acid to work, there must be something acidic in the mixture for it to rise. Also, you can't simply add more baking soda and end up with a fluffier end result. If you add too much, your baked goods will have a metallic, soapy taste from leftover bi-carb in the mixture.

What does cream of tartar do in scones? ›

When combined with baking soda, it becomes a leavening agent (the stuff that makes baked goods puff up in the oven) by producing carbon dioxide gas. If you ever run out of baking powder, you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar for 1 teaspoon baking powder.

What type of flour is best for scones? ›

Use all-purpose flour for a higher rising scone that holds its shape nicely, both in and out of the oven. To make more delicate, lower-rising, cake-like scones, substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour.

Why are my scones heavy and dense? ›

Over-kneading your dough will result in scones and biscuits that are tough, dense, or rubbery. The longer you knead the dough, the stronger the gluten network will be. We want just enough gluten for the scones to hold their shape, but not so much that we sacrifice the light and flaky texture.

Why aren t my scones light and fluffy? ›

Avoid using a food processor to mix scones: A food processor will work, but it often overworks the scone dough. We recommend using your hands until the mixture comes together. Overworking the dough will lead to scones that are tough and chewy, rather than light and flaky.

Are scones unleavened bread? ›

The earliest scones were unleavened and typically made with oats and milk. They were often cooked on a griddle and served with butter, jam, honey, or clotted cream. Today, scones are made with all sorts of ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder etc.

Is a scone a quick bread or yeast bread? ›

Quick bread uses chemical leavening ingredients instead of yeast, so the long process of waiting for the dough to establish is eliminated. Along with biscuits and scones, muffins, cornbread, and fruit- or vegetable-based bread (like banana or pumpkin) are all examples of quick bread.

What causes scones to rise? ›

A final crucial ingredient in scones is some sort of leavening agent such as baking powder. Be sure to sieve this into the mixture evenly for a better chance of an even rise. In the oven, these leavening agents will react and form carbon dioxide, a gas.

How is a dough leavened? ›

leavening agent, substance causing expansion of doughs and batters by the release of gases within such mixtures, producing baked products with porous structure. Such agents include air, steam, yeast, baking powder, and baking soda.

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