Crunchy Scones

Joined Oct 14, 2005
Hi Everyone!

I'm wondering if you can help me figure out how to replicate my favourite scones from Quantum Coffee in Toronto. They mix up the flavours and add-ins regularly, but the base scone recipe is really what I'm after.

These scones are incredibly crunchy on the outside, which is my favourite part. The crust is fairly brown and a quite a bit thicker than your typical scone. The inside is moist, flaky and not too dense. Not traditional, but awesome nonetheless.

The things I'm wondering about are:

1) How do they get the crust to crisp up so nicely and brown so evenly? I've tried to just increase baking temp and time, but my scones just get unevenly browned such that there are only crusty bits at the edges (or burnt edges if i push it too much). These scones are consistently brown and crusty everywhere though. I also thought that maybe they had added sugar (either in the dough or brushed it on), but the scone is not noticeably sweet and their savoury scones are just as crunchy.

2) How do they get the surface so scraggly? At first, I thought maybe they just use a really wet dough and scoop it onto the tray, but they also manage to get some nice parallel flaky layers. That means that they must be folding the dough at some point, right? So would they make it smooth?

3) What's with the blistery crust? If you zoom into the bottom right of the scone in the photo, it looks like the crust has a really bad rash (not so appetizing to look at but delicious :p) Is this of any significance (e.g. some sort of wash, temperature indicator, special ingredients)?

Thanks for the help!
Joined Aug 4, 2000
And your recipe is?????????   Recipe please.  What flour(s) are you using??

My speculation is that flours having a higher starch content (and therefore lower protein) may brown more easily.
Joined Oct 14, 2005
Thanks for the replies.

I tried asking, but they won't tell :(

Here is the recipe that I use:

75g butter, chilled

350g  AP flour

4 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

30g sugar

150 mL milk

2 large eggs

Bake @ 425F for about 12-15 min or brown
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Sounds to me like they are probably using bread flour and not overly working the dough. Folding rather than kneading.
Joined Oct 14, 2005
I tried using bread flour today. I didn't notice a whole lot of a difference other than the fact that my dough seemed a bit drier than usual. Maybe a tiny bit crisper on the outside after baking.

I'm still perplexed by the perfectly even browning though. Could it be a pH thing? Possibly higher pH?
Joined Oct 11, 2014
Although it has something to do with the type flour, it also has to do with ratio of ingredients used and with your mixing process, I will say that they are using a more balanced recipe like a medium butter, medium egg ratio.

These guys are using cream and/or buttermilk mix to get what they are looking for as well. What they are doing is hand mixing using a very light hand technique and then just dropping it in dollops on their baking sheet (this gives it is scraggly look). By doing this there is a limited amount of gluten activity and it leaves the butter pieces fairly in tact. This also will cause the blister action you asked about.

I would change your recipe to:

350g All Purpose flour

1 TBSP baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda (only if you are using cream/buttermilk mix)

1/2 tsp salt

30g sugar

115g (1 stick) butter, chilled, cut into 1/2" pieces

175ml 35% cream (or 35% cream/buttermilk mix)

1 large egg

Preheat to 375*F

Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl. 

Add cut 1/2" chilled butter pieces in with flour and toss to coat. Lightly massage the butter in with flour mixture making sure to keep chickpea size pieces of butter. Chill in fridge for 20 mins.

Whisk wet ingredients together and chill as well. 

After 20 mins, add wet to dry and lightly incorporate the ingredients together forming a wet mixture. 

Drop by hand or TBSPs onto parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the scones with egg wash.

Bake for 15-17mins depending on size of scone, or until light brown on top.

HTHs /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif  
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
I tried using bread flour today. I didn't notice a whole lot of a difference other than the fact that my dough seemed a bit drier than usual. ..........
When using bread flour, always increase hydration to avoid both dryness and also tightness if and when gluten is formed.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Fwiw my own scone recipe follows but it ain't crunchy.



2C AP Flour  (220g)

2 1/2C Bread Flour (330g)

1+ TBS baking powder (11g)

3 TBS Sugar (35g)

2/3 tsp salt (4g)

1C Raisins (125g)

2C Heavy Cream

1 egg beaten

Lemon zest


1 egg wash for coating

1 tsp lemon oil added to cream or some lemon zest

Turbinado or maple sugar sprinkled on top of egg wash

Crystallized ginger sprinkled on top

Preheat oven to 425F.  Mix all dry ingredients.  Make well in center and add cream and beaten egg.  Mix.  Knead ten times and form into a ball.  Allow to rest  for 20 minutes.  Place dollops onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Allow to rest for twenty minutes.

Bake in center of oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until a hint of brown shows on the top of the scone.

Makes approximately one dozen scones.

N.B.   The first resting period allows the dough to fully hydrate and soften.  The second rest period will allow the scones to rise slightly before baking, resulting in a lighter scone.
Joined Oct 14, 2005
So I tired Fablesable's recipe today. (Thanks kokopuff for your recipe too. I think the scone from the bakery was too flaky to be a pure cream scone so I went with the butter).

Here's my result:

Not a bad a result. I still wonder how to get a more evenly browned crust though. It's hard to see in the photo, but there are rather pale patches in the grooves. The peaks are brown and crunchy though. I'm starting to think that it might just be an oven issue (maybe needing a convection oven?). I also need to avoid the temptation to working in the butter so much next time.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
I was reading this thread the other day and was going to suggest convection.
Got distracted and wandered off :crazy:
If it still isn't enuf add a stone into the mix.
I am a crunchy crust fan as well and found the two work great as as team (did that make sense?)

Joined Oct 11, 2014
That looks great @turtlegirl  !! 

So I did some more homework of my own and realized that they actually fold their scones into a letter fold rather than a drop scone and they slice them into square pieces after they do a letter fold and press down with a rolling pin.

They also are not uniform brown like you are focusing on. I have some pics to prove:

As you can see they brush their scones with egg wash liberally however, yours is pretty close to theirs and they have areas where there are pale patches in the grooves where the egg wash did not get. 

It also doesn't really matter on the type of oven so much as the method used. Try to not overwork the butter, big butter pieces are okay. You just want the ingredients to be JUST incorporated and then pour out onto a lightly floured surface, pat down into a longer rectangle and then fold the dough. (using a third mentality, fold the right side into the middle and then fold the left side over the right like you are doing a letter fold), then roll out with a rolling pin until about 1" thick....maybe even thicker. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares and place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Do not re-roll as you should get even square pieces by keeping the dough rectangle. Hope that makes sense now??

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