Why Do Scones Crumble? (3 Common Causes)

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Scones are delicious whether eaten for breakfast, lunch, or even just as a small snack in between meals. They are a popular choice due to the fact that they are less dense and more crumbly than donuts and croissants.

These baked delicacies have earned a well-deserved reputation for their flaky and crumbly texture. When they are perfectly cooked, the outside should be dry and somewhat crispy, while the inside should be dry, soft, and crisp.

However, a common question is “why do scones fall apart?” Continue reading to find out more about this mouthwatering dessert.

Are Scones Supposed to Be Crumbly?

Scones are expected to have a crumbly texture as a fundamental characteristic. However, the question remains: how fluffy should they be?

What Do Crumbly Scones Look Like?

Have you ever followed a scone recipe to the letter, only to end up with scone that fell apart as soon as they were handled? If so, this has probably happened to you at some point.

When you try to remove scones that are too crumbly from the baking sheet, they will likely fall apart. When you attempt to cut them open, they can also break apart in your hands.

If the dough doesn’t have enough milk in it, the finished product will be too crumbly to eat. Additionally, the dough won’t come together, and it’ll be difficult to form the scones into the desired shape.

The situation is the same even if there is sufficient liquid but the components are not well mixed. If this occurs, the dough will be uneven and will not be able to keep its shape very well.

What Do Scones That Aren’t Crumbly Look Like?

If you don’t get the right amount of crumbliness in your scones, the end result will be something more like a chewy bread than a real scone. This occurs when you add an excessive amount of liquid and knead the dough for an extended period of time. Because of this, the gluten in the wheat will begin to coagulate, which will result in a more elastic dough.

Additionally, the crumbliness of the scones may be reduced by allowing the butter to melt before baking them. Working with butter that has been kept in the refrigerator is necessary for producing scones that have the ideal amount of crumble.

Three Reasons Why Scones Are Soft and Crumbly

Scones are made using fat, flour, and some kind of liquid as its primary components. An experienced baker may transform them into almost anything with only a few simple steps.

However, baking scones successfully may be challenging for even the most experienced bakers if they neglect to pay attention to the following three aspects:

1 – No Gluten Networks

When the proteins in the flour join up with one another, gluten networks are created. This procedure calls for kneading, some rising time, and a significant amount of liquid.

The bread dough is become rough and chewy as a direct result of these linkages. Imagine sourdough bread that is elastic.

On the other hand, in contrast to bread dough, scone dough has a very low amount of liquid. Because of this, there ought not to be any gluten networks.

In addition, the dough is not allowed to rise until it is baked.

2 – Cold Butter

When cold butter is added to the recipe, it helps insulate the flour particles and prevents the proteins from bonding together. This is because cold butter has a lower melting point than room temperature flour.

Therefore, while you are baking scones, you need to ensure that the butter is firm and cold. After that, while the scones bake, the chunks of fat melt, leaving behind a hole in the dough where it has not fused together. This is what creates the layers, similar to how pies are made.

When you bite into a scone, the areas that contain the pockets of fat begin to crumble, a process that we refer to as crumbling.

3 – Leaveners Make Air Bubbles

When we make scones, we add baking powder or baking soda so that the finished product would rise and become more expansive. Because of the presence of this component, a chemical reaction takes place, which results in the formation of gas bubbles, which contribute to the product’s airiness and lightness.

The dough will become less thick with hundreds of tiny air bubbles as it rises higher and gets less dense. When you rip a scone in two, the areas that contain the tiny air pockets are more likely to shatter.

How to Make Perfect Scones Every Time

The recipe for scones may be adapted in an infinite number of different ways. However, regardless of whether variation is your favorite, the techniques that are outlined below will ensure that your scones are always airy and crumbly.

Mix In The Fat

It is necessary to stop the gluten in the wheat from clumping together before making scones if you want them to be flaky. In order to do this, the addition of fats will help separate the pieces of flour from the liquid.

Make sure that the fat is uniformly distributed throughout the flour once it has been incorporated. Because they are solid even at room temperature, butter, margarine, and lard are the fats of choice for this recipe.

Don’t Over-Knead

Kneading and adding a lot of water both contribute to the formation of gluten linkages. That is not what you want for your scones.

The flour should be added in increments to the combination of flour and butter, and the dough should be folded many times before it can come together. It is not necessary for it to have a smooth appearance; rather, it should be mixed in an even manner.

Everything Should Be Cold

When preparing the dough, it is quite necessary to ensure that everything stays cool. It is important to refrain from allowing the butter to melt at this point.

Therefore, you need to ensure that the milk is cool and that the butter is either frozen or chilled. Additionally, the eggs have to be taken cold from the refrigerator.

If you are preparing a large quantity, store the second baking sheet in the refrigerator until it is time to transfer the cookies to the oven.

Handle The Sides With Care

After you have properly cut the scones, you will need to move them to the baking sheet while using as little force as is humanly feasible. We recommend employing the use of a dough cutter in order to transfer them from the working area to the baking sheets.

Since scones often develop in a vertical direction, it is essential not to disturb the sides while they are baking. If you touch the edges of the batter or smear it, it will cause the batter to rise unevenly.

Troubleshooting: What Went Wrong With My Scones?

There are instances when you stick to the instructions to the letter, yet the end result is not what you had hoped for. The following are some circumstances that are less than ideal, as well as some suggestions on how you might avoid them in the future.

My Scones Didn’t Rise

There are three potential explanations for why your scones are not rising properly.

First, before to cutting the layers, you most likely made them thinner than necessary. Because of this, there would be very little area for the insides to grow and puff up.

The second possible explanation is that there wasn’t enough baking powder in the recipe. The next time, you could try adding a little bit extra.

Because baking soda has to be activated with something acidic in order to work properly, the dough will not rise properly if you used it and did not include any acidic ingredients in the dough. Because of this, recipes that call for baking soda as a leavening agent also call for buttermilk as the liquid component of the batter.

My Scones Resemble Cookies

If your scones resemble cookies in both appearance and flavor, you most likely used an excessive amount of butter. When you make this again, try cutting down on the quantity of butter called for in the recipe.

We recommend using a ratio of one part fat to five parts flour. Take flour as an example; for every 250 grams of flour, add 50 grams of butter.


How do I stop my scones from crumbling?

When you set the dough on the cutting board, if it is too crumbly, try adding a little bit more buttermilk to it. When you place the dough on the cutting board, if it is very sticky, add a little bit more flour. Flour your hands, and using the flour as a guide, form a piece of the dough into a disc. A bigger disc will result in a scone that is larger and more moist.

Why did my scones come out crumbly?

The addition of liquid after the butter is included into the mixture is essential for maintaining the cohesiveness of the dough as a whole. If there is not enough water to hold the dough together, it will break apart much too readily, and it will be extremely difficult to get it back together once it has been broken apart.

What is the secret to making good scones?

Starting with cold ingredients, such as cold butter, cold eggs, and cold cream, is the key to producing scones with the perfect flaky texture. Using cold components, in a manner analogous to the preparation of pie crust, stops the butter from melting before the scones are cooked, allowing the butter to instead melt in the oven and provide a product that is very flaky.

Is scone dough supposed to be crumbly?

Reduce the amount of the dough that you work in order to prevent too thick scones. It’s okay for things to be crumbly and messy! Mix the liquid components together using a whisk. Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients.

Should you rest scone dough?

However, we have just discovered that leaving the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight has an additional advantage, namely that it results in pastries that are more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing. When the dough has been let to rest, it is much simpler to form it into the desired shape, and when it is baked, it bakes up to be notably taller, smoother, and with crispier edges.

What temperature should scones be baked at?

Scones should be baked in an oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18 to 23 minutes, or until they have a very pale golden brown color. Be careful not to overbake; overdone scones will have a drier texture.

Final Thoughts

Even the most skilled bakers have pondered the question, “Why do scones crumble?”

To summarize, scones are prone to crumbling because they do not include the gluten networks that are responsible for giving baked foods their density. In addition to that, they have a leavening ingredient in them, which causes them to puff up while they’re in the oven.

The thing that is most essential is to stay at it. Do not give up if your first attempt at making scones does not result in perfectly formed scones.

Happy baking!

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