BPA 100: Biscuits and Scones

BPA 100
Day 1, Wednesday

Biscuits and Scones

M.O.P. (Method of Production) is Biscuit method, or cutting method. We are cutting the fat into the flour, looking for layers of fat and flour. Your fat must be absolutely cold, chilled in the freezer is best, then slowly adding the liquid around the sides, having minimum contact with the flour. You don’t want to over mix.

First measure the ingredients, sifting the dry together. You are looking for large chunks of butter, around walnut sized. Today we used buttermilk in our biscuits. The milk should be poured around the side of the bowl, then gently mixed together with the bowl scraper, then mixed further with your hands. It is important to chill the dough and harden the butter again. Then roll it out, cut with cookie cutters, wash with an egg wash, and bake them off. Laminated dough needs a lot more heat initially and to have the butter melt later. Biscuits have less sugar and won’t caramelize in the oven. There is a distinction between an American biscuit and a European biscuit; an American biscuit is what a European may call a savory scone, and a biscuit is the European word for cookie.

Buttermilk Biscuits
20 oz bread flour
20 oz pastry flour
.75 oz salt
2 oz sugar
2.5 oz baking powder
14 oz butter
1lb 10 oz milk

The butter was kept in the freezer until needed

Chef’s Demo- Sift the dry ingredients together onto parchment and toss in the butter. Take the flour and flatten it with the butter. As you go rub the fat and flour together, coating both parts. Also mix in the salt, sugar, and baking powder. You are looking for large butter chunks. Pour the milk around the side and over and using the bowl scraper fold everything together. When it comes together and the milk is absorbed you can start mixing with your hands. Dump it out onto the workbench and continue mixing. You need to knead the dough a little, to give it slight texture, but you don’t want it really soft, you still want those large chunks of butter. The bowl scraper is good because it keeps your hands and table clean. Push the dough and bits back together.

Chunks of butter tossed with the dry ingredients. All ingredients added before coming together.

Fold over the dough 2-3 times to get it more laminated. You don’t want smooth dough. Flatten it into a circle and put it onto parchment; the parchment will assist you in folding it over making some more laminations. Wrap it in plastic wrap. The dough needs at least 30 minutes to rest in the cooler; this gives time for the gluten to relax, the fat to harden so it holds its shape, and for the starch to absorb some more of the milk. You can make variations to this recipe by adding cheese, bacon, or other savory ingredients.

Form the dough into a rounded mound, wrap in parchment and chill it. The dough will rise slightly and firm up after resting in the cooler.

For the rolling out of the biscuit dough: Our dough was resting for over an hour in the cooler. To begin I dusted my bench with bread flour; the higher gluten and lower starch means it is absorbed less by the dough. Because of the buttermilk and the baking powder the dough feels slightly leavened and firm. I beat the dough down a little to flatten it, this breaks the butter up a little more evenly. Then roll over the dough, not pressing it out but rolling evenly over the top. The dough is elastic and shrinks back some as you roll it, this is because of the gluten. I roll it to ¾” to 1” thick. Using a 2” or greater dip ring cutter I cut straight down. You want a smooth straight edge; otherwise the biscuit will bake and end up lopsided.

Visible chunks of butter. Use the circle ring to cut a good sized biscuit.

Be sure to chill it again and brush with an egg wash and finally bake at 425 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes.

After they came out of the oven I saw how the tops of my biscuits were uneven and it looked like the tops had slid off, Chef said my butter was probably too chunky and when it melted the layers slid over. Some peoples were very smooth on top with many visible layers; he said that these were over mixed. You want to see the lamination when you pull it apart, to see a little bit of gluten developed in the center. No matter how they looked they tasted amazing!

We had three different egg washes to compare: water and whole eggs, milk and whole eggs, and cream and egg yolks. It is a good idea to use the pastry brush first to clear off excess flour then proceed with brushing on the wash. The cream and yolk mixture gives a soft texture. If you have too much wash you will not have a nice glaze on top but scrambled eggs instead.

For the scones today we made a half recipe of the Orange-Chocolate Chip variation.

Basic Scones
17 oz pastry flour
4 oz sugar
1 oz baking powder
¾ t salt
4 ½ oz butter
5 oz cream or milk
2 eggs

Orange- Chocolate Chip Scones
Yields about 6, 2.5 oz scones
8.5 oz pastry flour
.5 oz baking powder
1/8 t salt
2 ¼ oz butter
2 ½ oz cream or milk
1 egg
10 oz chocolate chips
Zest of 1 orange
Butter, eggs, and cream kept chilled until needed

Chef’s Demo- Scaled out flour and baking powder are sifted together over parchment, then add the sugar and salt and pour into your mixing bowl. Add the cold butter and toss. You could cut in the butter like we did for the mealy dough by making the pieces of butter smaller, making the dough tenderer. You should take the butter further than hazelnuts to get a good crumb; the fat will be rubbed better and create a tender texture. The butter will be in fairly small pieces compared to the biscuits. After the butter is cut in you can add the chocolate chips and zest the orange directly over the bowl. By adding the zest now the essential oils of the zest will be strapped in the starches and the fat, carrying more flavors into the final product. Because this is a smaller recipe it is ok to add the chocolate chips now, but if you were making a very large recipe, say 10x’s, then you would want to add it later as the handling of the dough might cause the chips to begin to melt.

Cut the butter into smaller pieces than with the Biscuit dough. Zesting the orange over the flour and butter will capture more of the essential oils.

Have the cream and egg whisked together, and pour the liquids along the side of the bowl. If you use milk instead of cream, the scone will be lower in fat but it will not be as tall. You want to get as much liquid out of the bowl as possible; having less liquid can change the dynamic of the recipe. Use the bowl scrapper and stir in the cream, again being careful not to over mix. You don’t want to work the gluten too much, the less it is worked the tenderer it will be. When the dough starts to come together finish mixing with your hands.

Slowly pour the egg cream mixture along the sides of the bowl. Fold gently to incorporate all of the ingredients but don't over mix.
The color will be more yellow because of the egg, and it will be smoother, like mealy dough, compared to the biscuits. The cream is higher in fat than the buttermilk, as well as being more viscous, making stiffer dough. Line a pie tin with plastic wrap and flatten the ball of dough into the base. It should be about ½” thick. Close the plastic wrap and place the dough in the cooler. After it is completely chilled it can be rolled out.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill. The rolled dough should be between 1/2" to 3/4" thick
Before rolling out the scone dough be sure to dust the bench with bread flour. The dough has a nice shape already from the container. Roll it to an even thickness, not too much further, to about 1/2” to ¾”. It will rise to 1” after baking. I wanted 2 ½ oz scones so I measure my dough and divided it, seeing that I would get about 6 pieces. I cut the dough like a pie using my bench scrapper, cutting it in half first and then making the individual pieces. Luckily the first one I cut weighed 2.6 oz, so I could use that as a template for the rest of my scones.

I wanted my scones to weigh 2.5 oz, but I used this one at 2.6 as a judge and cut the rest slightly smaller than this.
As you cut them you can see the texture is very different from the biscuits. There are various ways you can finish these scones, with flavored sugar on top, streusel, or even rolling them thinner and filling them with jam. I finished mine with an egg yolk and cream egg wash, which will make a soft texture. Chill them after glazing with the wash. These scones bake at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes.

I was happy with my final product; my scones were a soft golden color on top and had a nice texture. I broke one in half and it had a nice crumb and a slight orange taste, I was worried it would be very strong. I would really like to try other variations of this recipe with different additives such as berries and cinnamon.

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