SCONES

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 ounces by weight) (don't use self-rising flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder (be sure it's fresh; baking powder loses potency fairly quickly)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick (4 oz., 8 tablespoons) good unsalted butter

3/4 cup yogurt (or buttermilk or milk you have soured using the instructions above)

a little extra milk as needed

about 2 tablespoons heavy cream

½ cup dried currants (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 400* F.

2.  Measure the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and put it in a large mixing bowl.  Give it a stir with a fork to combine.  (Or you could sift it together if you want, but I find mixing it with a fork works just fine.)

3.  Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients.  Using two knives or a pastry blender like the one pictured at the right, roughly blend it into the flour mixture.  The mixture will resemble a very coarse meal.  Stir in the currants if you are using them.

4.  Add the yogurt and stir rapidly with the fork to combine.  Add a little milk, about a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture just comes together to form a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.  (I'm guessing you might use about 2 - 4 tablespoons of milk here, but to be honest, I didn't measure it.)

5.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands, gather it into a ball.  Do not knead it; handle it as gently and as little as possible.  Divide the dough into two smaller balls, then pat those out into two disks roughly 3/4 of an inch thick.  

6.  Place the disks of dough on an ungreased baking sheet.  (A non-stick sheet is best; failing that, line the sheet with parchment paper.)  Brush the tops of the disks with cream, as I'm doing in the photo. Then, using a knife or bench knife, cut each disk into four or six equal pieces.  (The number depends on the size scones you like.  I personally prefer making eight scones from this recipe, but this morning I made 12, because Sue was bringing them to a meeting where there were about nine people.)  Separate the pieces to allow heat to circulate between them.  Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar, if you like.

7.  Place the sheet into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the scones are well-risen and browned on the top.  Serve fresh from the oven.