A sturdy scone and home-made baking-powder

There’s more helpful advice from Janet Murray for bakers, especially when you run out of something quite ordinary like… baking powder. Her recipes aren’t just practical, there’s often a context going back to kitchens in the past and how ordinary housewives made and prepared their family’s food.

A scone for the oven or girdle.

I have had a letter from a listener who wonders if I never use self-raising flour or margarine. But the point is that the old Scots recipes belong to s day when the cooking fats were butter, lard, suet and dripping. And the vegetable fats are, comparatively speaking, newcomers.
It is the same with four. In most kitchens and larders there was a bin that would hold a boll of flour, and housewives made their own raising agents.
There are, in fact, several recipes for making baking powder. Bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar were favourite raising agents for scones and bannocks, and still are. But here is an old recipes for a girdle or oven scone made with a home-made baking powder and i find it good with any bought baking powder. There is a footnote to the recipe which says it is a sturdy scone and here is the way to make it:
1 lb plain flour; 2 heaped teaspoonfuls of baking powder; a good pinch of salt; 3 oz of soft brown sugar; 4 oz butter; 1 egg; ½ pint milk.
Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the baking powder, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter into this until it is as fine as you can make it. Beat the egg until it is frothy, add just under ½ pint milk to it, then pour it into the middle of the flour. Make a soft dough, out on to a floured board. Using a good dusting of flour, knead the dough into a round and roll it out fairly thick.
Cut it into triangles and bake on a hot girdle, first on one side and then on the other until it id  rather dark golden brown. If you bake it in the oven the oven must be really hot. And by the way, do not be put off by the thought of a fairly large quantity – you can always do a sum and arrive at a quantity that suits your table.

My featured image is of rather a delicate scone, not like Janet’s sturdy scone!”

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