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I've been making some scones and they are either falling away to one side or just sort of staying flat.

I'm currently just baking them on a tray in the oven at 220C

The recipe is:

450g self-raising flour
1 tbs caster sugar
80g butter, cubed, at room temperature
250mls milk, at room temperature

Are there any tips or techniques I can use to make them rise evenly?

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Could you please let us know the technique you are using, and the recipe? Thanks. –  daniel Oct 14 '10 at 13:07
    
...and the technique, please? –  daniel Oct 14 '10 at 13:26
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(and for what it's worth, my mother bakes possibly the best scones in the known universe, and hers are, as I believe is Right And Proper, always slightly lopsided. Scones do not rise in the same way that e.g. biscuits from the American South rise, and so they will be uneven) –  daniel Oct 14 '10 at 13:27
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your technique is going to be critical here. Leaning scones aren't necessarily indicative of improper technique, but flat ones are.

Keeping your ingredients cold is important when creating scones in every recipe I've read or tried. Cook's Illustrated went so far as to grate the butter and then freeze the grated pieces and use a laminating technique to provide layers. Many other recipes use cold butter (frozen or simply very cold out of the freezer) in chunks and a pastry blender to cut them in. Your milk should also be cold, not room temperature. You may also want to chill your work bowl and utensils. You don't want your butter melting before those scones hit the oven.

When your scones hit the oven and the butter does begin to soften and melt, it will leave behind layers of air in your scone which will help it to rise.

You don't want to handle finished scone dough very much. Use a light touch and minimal work.

I'd also check the date on your self-raising flour. The ingredients will lose their activity over time, causing the flour not to rise as well any more.

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Great techniques here, in particular the "don't handle it much". No point bashing the air out of it. I'd add a couple of techniques to make it flawless: use buttermilk in place of milk for extra rising, and make sure when you cut the scone shapes you cut it clean (see diane robertson's advice below). The cut will determine what direction the scones will rise in. –  Gary Mar 15 '11 at 8:31
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I would suggest switching to a recipe with All-Purpose flour and baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Also, cut in the cold butter, use cold milk and stir/knead as little as possible. Pop immediately into the oven. This is the way I make them and they always rise nicely. However, i wouldn't say they are perfectly even! I think they look cute that way!

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@Brook - why would you suggest AP flour, baking soda, and baking powder over self-rising flour? AP flour and baking powder together make a substitution for self-rising flour, and at least in some parts of the U. S. some self-rising flour brands are practically a religion for this type of baking. –  justkt Oct 14 '10 at 20:14
    
@justkt: Baking powder loses potency with time. –  hobodave Oct 15 '10 at 2:47
    
@hobodave - I'm aware of that. I'm just not sure what switching from self rising flour to what is basically an alternate would provide. –  justkt Oct 15 '10 at 12:10
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@justkt: Baking powder in self-rising flour loses potency significantly quicker than unopened baking powder. Flour typically comes in a paper bag, whereas baking powder is in a metal/plastic container with a tight lid. The question you should be asking is why use self-rising flour instead of making your own. If you're going to use a full bag of self-rising flour within 3 months or so, sure go that route. But if you're trying to use year old self-rising flour and you're not getting a sufficient rise, then your baking powder is to blame. –  hobodave Oct 15 '10 at 20:29
    
@hobodave - thanks, that clarifies it! –  justkt Oct 15 '10 at 21:36
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Of course your ingredients (except for butter) should be at room temperature before you start. But here are 2 other key things to consider:

(1) is the leavening agent distributed evenly through your dough? (i.e. did you mix the dry ingredients thoroughly? you may want to sift them together, just to make sure they're evenly incorporated)

(2) have you rolled the dough (or shaped it) to uniform thickness? If there are spots which are thicker (middle) than the ends, the scones could end up lopsided.

Hope that helps!

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another cause of lopsided scones are caused by "twisting" the dough when you are cutting them. You should always use a sharp hit and NO twisting when cutting your scone, this way you will get a lovely rise out of your scones.

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