Cheddar and chive is such a classic combination. Using really good cheddar will give these scones a delicious umami bite. We add wholewheat flour for more depth of flavour – it also improves the soft, flaky texture of the scone. These are great to eat fresh from the oven for a mid-morning snack, just as they are or with some good-quality butter.
We first made this savoury scone as an alternative to a sweet scone for our farmers’ market stall. They’ve since become a firm favourite of our bakery repertoire.
- 220 g (8 oz) unsalted butter (see Notes)
- 200 g (7 oz/1⅓ cups) wholegrain khorasan flour (see Notes)
- 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) plain (all‑purpose) flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2 tsp salt
- 290 g (10¼ oz) cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 bunch chives, snipped
- 2 eggs
- 225 g (8 oz) sour cream
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) thick cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Refrigeration time: 3-4 hours
Combine the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large mixing bowl, then whisk to combine, removing any large lumps. Tip the dry ingredients out onto a clean bench top and scatter over the cubed butter. Use a rolling pin to break the butter into the flour, gathering the flour in as you roll until you have a crumbly textured mixture with pea-sized lumps of butter still visible. Having small chunks of butter helps the scones rise, so be careful not to overmix it at this stage. Return the mixture to the bowl, add the grated cheese and chives, and toss to combine.
In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs and sour cream, then make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture into the middle. Use a spoon to gently ‘cut’ the flour into the wet mix until you have an even crumble texture.
Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured bench and use your fingertips to finish working it lightly into a firm dough. You want to bring it together into a dough, handling it as little as possible so you don’t melt the butter pieces or overwork the gluten in the flour.
Roll the dough into a slab roughly 20 × 20 cm (8 × 8 in), and 4 cm (1½ in) high. Trim the edges and cut the dough into 8 rectangles 5 × 10 cm (2 × 4 in) and place them, evenly spaced, on a tray lined with baking paper. The trimmings can be rolled back together and combined into another scone. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours to set the butter back into the dough.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Gently warm the cream if necessary, to bring it to a slightly runny consistency. Brush the scones with the cream and sprinkle a little bit of extra grated cheese on each one. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (360°F) and bake for 15–17 minutes. Turn the tray and bake for another couple of minutes, until golden.
• It’s important to start with chilled butter so that it doesn’t melt through the dough. You want to retain little lumps of butter to produce a beautiful flaky crumb. Cut the butter into 1 cm (½ in) dice, then put it in the freezer to get it really cold while you weigh up the rest of your ingredients.
• Khorasan is an ancient grain, also known as kamut, and is available in health food stores. If you can’t find it you can use any wholegrain flour, or substitute with plain flour.
Photography by Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson.
This recipe is from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $60) and is available in stores nationally.