As an Irishwoman, I have sampled my fair share of scone bread – usually in loaf form and almost always made with buttermilk. This version is unapologetically inauthentic, influenced by all three countries in which I have lived – namely England, Ireland and the United States. A hybrid of sorts, it hopefully takes the best of each nation and combines them to create a light, fluffy bread that can be broken into four sections, slathered in whatever you fancy (I heartily recommend marmalade) and served alongside a cup of tea. The subtle note of orange blossom elevates what is an embarrassingly easy recipe into something really quite elegant. I’m not sure my grandmother would approve, mind, but fortunately everyone I have served it to has loved it.
1 Teaspoon cider vinegar
50ml Soy milk
3 Tablespoons agave nectar
Grated zest and juice of ½ orange
½ Tablespoon orange blossom water
175g Plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
Pinch of sea salt flakes
50g Dairy-free margarine, refrigerator-cold and cut into cubes
THE HOW TO…
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan), Gas Mark 7.
- Combine the cider vinegar and soy milk in a bowl and set aside for 5–10 minutes to let the mixture curdle.
- Lightly whisk the soy milk mixture, agave nectar, orange juice and orange blossom water together in a bowl.
- Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, orange zest, poppy seeds and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add the margarine to the bowl and work it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, pour over the wet ingredients and gently fold together to form a dough.
- Tip the dough on to a floured baking tray and shape it into a round using your hands, then cut it into quarters with a floured knife but don’t separate (the pieces will pull apart easily when baked).
- Bake for 12–15 minutes until risen and lightly golden, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before breaking into pieces and serving.