Whether served with jam or cream (or both), scones are the perfect treat to have with your afternoon tea because they’re sweet and easy to eat. However, much thought, care, and preparation go into making them to achieve that tasty goodness. It all boils down to making the right dough.
Scone dough is not supposed to be really sticky. It is made by mixing wheat flour, butter, water, and other ingredients resulting in a moist and sticky mixture. Although scone dough requires a bit of stickiness, too much can make it difficult to get the right shape for your scones.
We will look deeper into what makes your scone dough really sticky, what happens if it is, and how to fix the issue so that you can enjoy good-quality scones. Read on to learn how to make the perfect dough for excellent scones!
Why Your Scone Dough Becomes Really Sticky
Scone dough is unique in that you shouldn’t knead it too much. Taking care not to over-knead the dough helps you to avoid overworking the gluten, which creates a lack of gluten development and makes the dough sticky. Overworking the dough will make your finished product look more like bread than scones.
The proper mixing of butter, wheat flour, water, and other ingredients and the right kneading process will result in a moist and reasonably sticky dough. It may sound simple, but a lot of things can go wrong if you are new to baking scones.
Here are some reasons why a scone dough may become really sticky:
- You put in too much water. Too much water can result in a very wet scone dough that looks more like batter. Wheat flour, which is often used for scones, typically requires more water, making it easy for anyone to overestimate the correct amount of water to use.
- You didn’t knead the dough enough. Scone dough doesn’t require much kneading, but you have to knead it enough to make the ingredients come together. Not kneading the mixture at all can leave you with a dough that is too sticky.
- You kneaded the mixture with heavy hands. Light-handed kneading for roughly 30 seconds to a minute should be enough to mix the ingredients properly so that the dough can hold its shape. Kneading and spreading the mixture with heavy hands will result in a very sticky dough.
- You used wholemeal flour or rye flour. Wheat flour is the most common ingredient for scones, but some people may prefer using wholemeal or rye flour. These flours can also make great scones. However, they tend to be more sticky and require you to knead the dough a bit more to reduce that stickiness. It can be tricky, though, since too much kneading can be counterproductive for your scone dough.
If you are looking for flour to use in your next scones recipe, try the King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour (available on Amazon.com). It is gluten-free, making it safe for people who have Celiac disease. It also contains essential nutrients like vitamin B, iron, and calcium.
What Happens if Scone Dough Is Really Sticky?
Ideally, scone dough should be wet and sticky. It means that you mixed the ingredients well enough to come together but not so much that you see a smooth outer layer. Such appearance means you worked it so much that the gluten network formed, and you are likely to end up with bread instead of scones.
Some people worry that they might over-knead their scone dough, and they settle for one that is a bit too sticky. The main challenge is determining if your scone dough has the right level of stickiness.
If the scone dough is really sticky, it can stick to your fingers or the table and will be pretty challenging to cut through. It will also be difficult for the dough to retain its shape.
That said, you’d know that your scone dough is sticky enough if it does not stick like glue to your fingers, the cutting board, or the knife when you cut through it.
What To Do if the Scone Dough Is Really Sticky
Now that you know how to tell whether or not your dough has the right amount of stickiness, you may wonder how to deal with a scone dough that is too sticky for your liking.
Below are some things you can do if your scone dough is really sticky.
Knead the Scone Dough Light-Handedly
Luckily, scone dough is made by initially mixing flour and butter before adding water. The butter can help prevent or delay gluten development. This mechanism makes it less likely to over-knead your scone dough.
Nonetheless, be sure to knead the dough light-handedly. As discussed, heavy-handed kneading can result in a very sticky scone dough.
Add Some Flour
If your scone dough sticks too much to your fingers or the kneading table, you may need to put some flour on your hands before kneading the dough again.
Always remember to knead the dough lightly and stop when all the ingredients have already come together, forming a moist, sticky lump that can hold its shape as you spread it before cutting.
What To Do if the Scone Dough Is Not Sticky Enough
If you are new to baking scones, it can be easy to overdo the kneading process, resulting in a smooth mass of dough. If that happens, it may be almost impossible to undo the damage and still hope to make the perfect scones.
However, your scone dough may not be sticky enough due to adding too much flour while mending the excessive stickiness. If this happens, you can make it sticky again by adding buttermilk. The amount of buttermilk necessary will depend on how dry your dough has become. Add the liquid gradually as you mix your dough until it becomes sticky enough.
Scone dough has to be moist and sticky to rise properly during baking. Even if you know the basics or follow a tested-and-proven recipe from an expert baker, it is still easy to make mistakes. Therefore, theoretical knowledge just won’t cut it.
It can be pretty challenging to determine the right proportion of ingredients and the proper kneading techniques to achieve the correct level of stickiness in your scone dough, but practice makes perfect.