The Benefits of Resting and Refrigerating Dough for Scones | Cook's Illustrated (2024)

Recipes for scones sometimes provide a make-ahead option that involves refrigerating the dough overnight so it can simply be shaped and then popped into the oven the next day. But now we’ve found that resting the dough overnight has another benefit: It makes for more symmetrical and attractive pastries.Rested dough is far easier to shape cleanly than unrefrigerated dough is, and it bakes up noticeably taller, smoother, and with crispier edges. The explanation is simple: As with other doughs, including pizza dough, resting lets scone dough’s gluten relax completely, so that it doesn’t snap back during shaping or baking. Does this mean that from now on we’ll always rest our scone dough? Not necessarily. But it’s nice to know that when we do, our scones will only improve.

The Benefits of Resting and Refrigerating Dough for Scones | Cook's Illustrated (2024)

FAQs

The Benefits of Resting and Refrigerating Dough for Scones | Cook's Illustrated? ›

Rested dough is far easier to shape cleanly than unrefrigerated dough is, and it bakes up noticeably taller, smoother, and with crispier edges.

Why do you need to refrigerate scone dough? ›

This short rest relaxes the gluten, making scones more tender; and cold chills the fat, increasing flakiness. Make scone dough up to three days ahead. Shape into 3/4"-thick disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to cut and bake.

Should you let scone dough rest? ›

The resting of the dough helps to relax the dough so everything remains tender, if you kneaded the dough and baked the scones immediately the insides would be great but the outsides would be tough and chewy.

What is the secret to making good scones? ›

Baking tips for making the perfect scones

The colder the better when it comes to scones, we recommend a chilled bowl and pastry cutter too. Use pastry flour: This will create a noticeably lighter scone. However, self-raising flour works just as well and creates a higher rising scone that holds its shape nicely.

How long should you chill scone dough? ›

Keep scone dough as cold as possible. To avoid over-spreading, I recommend chilling the shaped scones for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator before baking. In fact, you can even refrigerate overnight for a quick breakfast in the morning! Bake until golden brown.

Why is it important to put dough in the fridge? ›

Firmer Dough

Refrigerating the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and helps to make the cookie dough firmer. Firm dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much, which is why chilling the dough is a crucial step for cut-out and rolled cookies.

What are the benefits to refrigerating scones overnight? ›

But now we've found that resting the dough overnight has another benefit: It makes for more symmetrical and attractive pastries. Rested dough is far easier to shape cleanly than unrefrigerated dough is, and it bakes up noticeably taller, smoother, and with crispier edges.

What makes scones rise best? ›

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.

Why do you chill scones before baking? ›

Similar to making pie crust, using cold ingredients prevents the butter from melting before the scones are baked, leaving it instead to melt in the oven and create a super-flaky end result.

Why are my scones not fluffy? ›

If your scones barely rise in the oven, reconsider the amount of water you've added. You might want to add more. Otherwise, increase the amount of baking powder/soda. If you're using baking soda, take care that you've added at least one sour ingredient (e.g. buttermilk).

What type of flour is best for scones? ›

We recommend using all-purpose flour. There is some debate as to what flour one should use to go around achieving the perfect scone. This is because within different flours comes different levels of protein.

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 do you put eggs in scones? ›

Scones can be made either with self-raising flour or with plain flour and baking powder. Sweet scones and cheese scones have an egg added to enrich them. Both will rise but whatever scone you make its important that they are handled lightly and not rolled too thinly.

Why do my scones spread out and not rise? ›

First, make sure you're using fresh baking powder, one that has been opened less than 6 months ago. Also, if you knead the dough too much, the scones won't rise as tall. Knead gently, and just enough to bring the dough together. Adding more flour also prevents the dough from rising as high, so only dust lightly.

Why are my scones doughy in the middle? ›

You may have used too little raising agent or over handled the dough before it was baked. The oven may have been too cool.

What happens if you don't refrigerate dough? ›

Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, holding onto their texture. If you skip the chilling step, you're more likely to wind up with flat, sad disks instead of lovely, chewy cookies. Cookies made from chilled dough are also much more flavorful.

When making scones Why is it important that the ingredients are cold and chilled? ›

The secret to the flakiest scones is to start with cold ingredients — cold butter, cold eggs, and cold cream. Similar to making pie crust, using cold ingredients prevents the butter from melting before the scones are baked, leaving it instead to melt in the oven and create a super-flaky end result.

Why do you need to refrigerate dough before baking? ›

The longer you chill the dough, the more flavor will develop. The flour will also absorb more of the moisture so the thicker and chewier the final texture will be.

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