Instead of making a sourdough loaf this week I decided to make sourdough cheese scones. I have two sourdough starters on the go and I like to give them some attention, at least fortnightly, so that they don't die on me. This is based on a great recipe from the bakery bits blog. I've made the scones before and they always turn out light and moist, and they don't have the baking powder taste you get sometimes with bought scones, you know, where your teeth feel as if they are being coated with something nasty. I've adapted the recipe to make cheese scones because they are my favourite. Bakers preference applies in nearly all cases! I usually make double quantities in the hope that there will be some to freeze. Having a big family means that this rarely happens, but what is life without hope? I used Shiptons Mill white bread flour (on this occasion, but it really depends on what is to hand or if I want to make wholesome wholemeal scones). Instead of buttermilk I used a mixture of homemade plain yoghurt made with raw (unpasteurised) full fat milk thinned down a bit with some more milk. I buy raw milk every week from a farm near to where I work. The milk is absolutely delicious, all creamy and tasty, although I know unpasteurised milk might seem a bit controversial. Normal pasteurised milk and yoghurt will also make delicious yoghurt (or scones). The sourdough starter works better if it is hungry (ie unrefresehd) as the remaining starter is a fed afterwards. I've stated 50g parmesan cheese, although I only used about 30g, because that is all that I had. It was a veeerrry ripe and strong parmesan anyway as it was a reduced price bargain due to short "use by" date. I like to add a little mustard to my cheese scones as it adds an extra depth of flavour. I prefer to use Colemans English mustard powder as I think that "wet" mustards are a bit too vinegary. I think a good quality salt is also very important. I really like Cornish Sea Salt and found some garlic flavoured salt when we visited family in Cornwall and went to the Padstow farm shop. We bought a little pot for all the kids as a holiday present - makes a change from a stick of rock or box of sticky fudge!
Sourdough Cheese Scones Recipe
- 450g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 150g butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp Cornish Sea Salt (I used garlic sea salt)
- 250ml plain yoghurt and whole milk mixed (full fat milk or buttermilk would also be fine)
- 200ml unrefreshed sourdough starter
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 50g grated parmesan or other strong hard cheese
- grated cheddar for the top of the scones
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
- Mix all the dry ingredients with the butter to a bread crumb consistency. I used my Kenwood Chef.
- Make a well in the centre of your bowl. In a large jug whisk the unrefreshed sourdough starter and the yoghurt and milk and lemon juice then pour into the centre of your dry mix. Bring the mixture together to form a sticky dough. I used my hands for this so that the dough is not overworked which will make it tough. If the dough seems a bit too dry, add a drop more milk slowly just a few drops at a time. Likewise if the dough is too sticky then add a dusting of flour to handle it more easily.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and use your hands to press the dough form a round about 2.5cm in depth, but try to avoid overworking. Cut out shapes from this using your cutter and put them on a baking tray. I used a medium sized cutter which made 15 scones.
- Sprinkle grated cheese on the top of the scones. You can glaze them first with some milk, but I was too lazy and didn't bother. Bake for 18–20 minutes until lightly brown on top and firm to the touch. I needed an extra 5 minutes for mine because the temperature gauge on the oven is a bit temperaturemental.
- The scones can be frozen as soon as they are cool, which might be the only way I'll ever get some in the freezer, but will also taste nice the following day if they are wrapped in a cotton or linen cloth.
The final step is to feed the sourdough starter. This week I used my 'Derbyshire' starter which is mostly wholemeal, although it does tend to be fed with whatever is handy. This time it was white flour so I added equal quantities of flour and water (100g) to the remaining starter, stir it well and put it back in the fridge.
The freshly baked scones were perfectly timed for an impromptu family lunch at daughter J's house where some Dad DIY is underway.
My culinary efforts didn't end at the cheese scones, let me tell you. DIY Dad was going to need something tasty and preferably done by someone else after a hard day grafting so I put my thinking cap on and rustled up some store cupboard dinner (I couldn't be bothered to shop). So, based on only what was to hand I came up with a butternut squash and sweet potato risotto. I've got loads of brown risotto rice which takes an absolute age to cook so I set that cooking with some chicken stock. Not home made chicken stock because I checked and we didn't have any in the freezer, and not vegetarian because I had only had meaty stock pots thingies. I added some wild rice as well for a bit of variety and this also takes an age to cook. While this was bubbling away I fried some spices. I decided that cumin seeds and cardamom seeds were the way to go so I bashed them about a bit with the end of my rolling pin in a bowl (mortar and pestle is boxed up somewhere) and then added them to some heated oil in a frying pan. I added some paprika for a bit of heat and colour and let them toast for a little while. In the meantime I peeled and cubed some butternut squash and sweet pepper and stirred them about in the spice mix. When the rice had been bubbling for a while, I added the vegetables and spice. It did look like there was too much stock, but by the time it had simmered gently for about 50 minutes it had soaked in and reduced down. A little seasoning added and a tasty (and very easy) risotto was ready.