Whole Wheat Scones

Recently, I have been on a scone making kick. It started by trying the butter scone recipe from "Advanced Bread and Pastry" but has since progressed to an experiment to make a whole wheat lower fat scone. It started by taking the suggestion in Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for More Food" to substitute some whole wheat flour for the white flour in biscuits. Given that a butter scone is nothing but a fancy biscuit, I applied that principle by substituting a quarter of the white flour in the original recipe with whole wheat flour. I also used his method of kneading to make this version. His method results in a folding of the butter which causes a nice layering of the product when baked.

To lighten it up further, I used the USDA food database so I could calculate the amount skim milk to replace the cream in the original recipe, while keeping the moisture content constant. In the end, I did add just a touch more skim milk but I attribute that to the higher hydration needs of the whole wheat flour. So, here goes...

Whole Wheat Scones

Fat Works

11.15 oz all purpose flour
3 oz whole wheat flour
1.75 oz granulated sugar
0.75 oz baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz (one stick) unsalted butter (chilled)


5 oz chopped dates + 1 oz chopped candied ginger + 1 tsp lemon zest
5 oz chopped dried apricots + 1 oz chopped candied ginger + 1/4 tsp allspice
5 oz dried cranberries + 1 tsp orange zest

Wet Works

5.8 oz skim milk
1 oz honey
1 large egg

30 minutes before starting, place 1 stick of butter in the freezer and make room in the freezer for a large mixing bowl. Before starting also prepare any additions that need chopping. The dates or apricots should be in approximately 3/8" pieces and the ginger should be smaller than 1/8". Cranberries can be used as is.

Begin by combining the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and any additions in the bowl that you made space for in the freezer. Mix until uniform. Taking a coarse cheese grater, quickly grate the chilled butter into the bowl and then using your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients. The butter should break down into something the size of peas. Place the bowl in the freezer while you prepare the remainder of the process.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. While the fat works are cooling, combine the wet works in a separate bowl and whisk together until uniform.

On a work surface, place two 36" pieces of wax paper in the shape of a cross. If you have a silicone baking mat, place that under the wax paper to help with the kneading process later. The mat is optional but one just has to be a little careful not to poke the wax paper without it. The pictures below give a sense of the process that is coming up.

When the oven is pre-heated. Take the fat works out of the freezer and mix in the wet works with a stiff spoon. The mixture will still be fairly dry but will finally come together as we knead it. Lightly dust the area where the two pieces of wax paper cross with flour and then pour out the mixture. Using your hands, form the mixture into a square as in Picture A above.

Being the kneading process by taking the paper or silcone mat and using it to fold about 1/3 of the dough onto itself much like one would fold a letter (Picture B). When you are done, you should get something like Picture C. Repeat the process from the other side and you should get something like Picture D.

As Alton points out, this method allows you to knead the dough without heating up the butter with your hands. It also avoids all manner of dough sticking to your hands. Using the wax paper and your hands, flatten the dough out to about 3/4" thick and rotate the whole assembly by 90 degrees. When done, it should like like Picture E below.

Repeat the process again as Picture F illustrates. After the second set of folds, rotate 90 degrees again and slide the bottom piece of wax paper out and place it on top of the dough as in Picture G. Carefully flip the assembly over and separate the piece of wax paper that was previously on the bottom from the top of the dough.

Perform the folding process one last time and the end result should look like Picture H. Placing wax paper on top, flatten the dough one last time to a rectangle approximatly 7" by 9" and about 3/4" thick. Using a dough scraper, divide into 12 pieces as pictured in Picture I. Using the dough scraper to carefully separate the dough from the wax paper, transfer the unbaked scones to the parchment covered cookie sheet.

Bake for 13 minutes at 375 degrees and then rotate. Bake for approximatly 13 minutes longer until the scones take on a little color and the bottoms are well browned. Let cook for 20 minutes before eating.

This Weekends Bread

Recently I bought a new book called "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" by Jeffery Hamelman. I like this book so far. It is well written and has a good set of recipes. This weekend I took a run at his Ciabatta with Poolish. For a first go, it turned out pretty well. The loaves got a little large and the next time I will have to divide it into 4 instead of the recommended 3. I could have also left them in the oven a little longer so they took on some more color. Will have to try it again.


This weekends bread

This weekend I did three breads. There was my 12-grain bread...

And then there was cranberry-pecan cinnamon bread...

And lastly, another attempt at pane siciliano. This attempt turned out much better. The crumb had a better texture and the crust was much better.


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

A simple drop cookie that was originally inspired by the Fall holidays.

Dry Works

3 cups rolled oats (quick ones are best)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Cream Works

1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter (softened)
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Penzeys "Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix", "Baking Spice Mix" or cinnamon


2 cup dried cranberries

Before starting, pre-heat oven to 350 F with racks spaced in the center of the oven. Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper and some cooling racks for the cookies after they are baked.

Combine the dry works in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

In a second, larger bowl, combine the cream works and whisk until well mixed and uniform. When the oven is pre-heated, add the dry works and the cranberries to the bowl containing the cream works and mix well with a stiff spoon.

Using an ordinary tableware spoon, portion out the cookie dough onto the parchment covered baking sheets, using your fingers to help form a ball. Each portion should be about the size of a golf ball. Space 8 cookies to a baking sheet.

When you have the first cookie sheet filled, place on the lower rack of the oven and start a timer for 10 minutes. Proceed to portion out the next cookie sheet but wait until the first one has baked for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, move the first cookie sheet to the top rack, rotating it in the process to ensure even baking. Place the second tray on the lower rack of the oven and restart the timer. Proceed to portion out the third cookie sheet.

After 8 minutes on the timer (18 minutes total), check the top cookies. They will be done when the bottoms show a little color and they have spread to about 3/8 inch thick. Note - they will still be a bit soft so use care when checking. If they aren't done, check after the full 10 minutes. If they are done, adjust the timer to 9 minute intervals.

If done, remove from oven, move the cookie sheet from the lower rack to the top rack, again rotating and restart the timer. Remove the baked cookies from the parchment and place on a cooling rack, being careful as you move them. As they cool, they will firm up.

Portion out some more cookies and repeat the process until all the dough is used up. You should end up with between 32 and 36 cookies.