Scones are of one of the British food imports that appeared in France just a few years ago, but is gaining in popularity very fast. The French quickly fell in love with the simplicity of these baked goods, that occasionally offers a nice change from the classic croissants or toasted baguettes.
And this delicious scone recipe incorporates one of the most beloved products from Brittany: “lait ribot”.
Similar to buttermilk, “Lait ribot” is the liquid left over from churning butter. (“Ribotte” is an old French word for “churn”, hence the name of this milk.). “Lait ribot” has always been, and remains widely consumed in Brittany (but not so much in the rest of France). This sour-tasting, thick milk is traditionally enjoyed alongside a meal of buckwheat crepes, but you can also find it in several modern French recipes, such as this one.
Here in Canada, I have never found a bottle of real French “Lait Ribot”. But when it comes to baking, I have always been very satisfied when swapping “Lait ribot” with buttermilk. Buttermilk has a slightly more liquidy texture than “lait ribot” but offers the same leavening factor.
I love how simple these scones are to make, and how simple they taste – with a distinctive delicate tartness to them.
The use of buttermilk makes the scones so soft and airy, with a slightly less buttery finish than classic scones (which is a great excuse to enjoy them with some extra pats of butter!).
I like to enjoy these buttermilk scones with strawberry jam and home-made crème fraiche.
If you do not have buttermilk, you can opt for these substitutes (at equal amount – 1 cup):
- Kefir – probably the most commonly known cultured milk available in North American grocery stores. (I like the PC Plain Kefir)
- Sweet-milk Lassi. Although not fermented, this yogurt-base drink has a slight acidic taste that will work too (make sure you opt for a plain, un-slated version).
- Skyr – Icelandic cultured dairy yogurt. (I like PC Plain Skyr)
Buttermilk Scones from BrittanyPrint This
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
Pre-heat your oven to 400F.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the cubed butter until a crumbly texture is reached. Whisk buttermilk with egg; pour over flour mixture. Using fork, stir to make soft ragged dough.
With lightly floured hands, press dough into ball. Transfer the ball onto a floured surface and lightly pat out into a 10×7-inch rectangle.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles of dough (or cut rectangle into 6 squares, then cut each diagonally in half). Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake in a 400 °F (200 °C) oven until golden – 18 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to rack, let cool.