[LMB] OT: Tea Time - Scones

James M. BRYANT G4CLF james at jbryant.eu
Thu Sep 4 18:48:57 BST 2008

athagan at atlantic.net thinks that:

 > Every scone recipe I've ever seen
 > looks like a biscuit recipe to me.

While Raye Johnsen alleges that:

 > ...a scone is a type of sweet quickbread, and so
 > are English muffins, so if muffin=biscuit, then
 > biscuit=quickbread.

Neither is quite correct so clarification is necessary.


A quickbread is a leavened bread which uses chemical
raining agents, not yeast, which takes longer to work.
(Hence "quickbread".) Soda bread, corn bread, and most
cakes, muffins, biscuits, and scones are therefore
quickbreads. They may or may not be sweetened or
flavoured with savory ingredients such as cheese. They
may also contain fruit, nuts or other discrete ingredients.

Quickbreads may be made with batter (thin - poured on/in
to the cooking surface/container), drop batter (thicker,
but still runny, which is spooned), and dough. The difference
is simply the ratio of liquids to solids. Liquids may be
water, milk, or milk and beaten egg, depending on the
desired richness, the amount of fat may also vary widely.

A muffin is a small cake, usually somewhat sweet, and
is therefore a quickbread. Muffin dough is a batter and
is poured or spooned into a baking tin or paper baking cup.

An English muffin is made with an unsweetened yeast bread
dough and is therefore NOT a quickbread.

An English biscuit is a cookie or a cracker in America
and does not need to be considered in this discussion.
(I consider such things quickbreads, but it is debatable.)

Scones and American biscuits are made from a dough made
by rubbing cold fat into self-raising flour (or flour and
baking powder), adding liquid with minimum stirring/
kneading, shaping the dough and baking. Both need salt.
The liquid may be water but is usually milk.

The difference is that the American biscuit uses dripping
(pork, beef or vegetable) and is usually unsweetened and
round in shape, while the scone uses butter, may be
sweetened, may contain dried fruit and/or candied peel,
and need not necessarily be round, although it often is.

James - who twitches when he sees recipes using volume
measures for solids since packing densities may vary so

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list