Which? got in touch to tell me about their new guide showing how important oven temperatures are. I decided to do a little experiments to see how oven temperatures affected scones!
Scones are normally baked in a very hot oven to ensure they rise and turn out light and fluffy. I made some scone mixture using this recipe and, using the same baking tray and oven, baked it in three batches at three different temperatures to see how much difference the change of temperature would make.
Batch A was cooked at the recommended temperature of 220c, B at 190c (30c under recommended temperature) and C was baked at 160c (60c under the recommended temperature).
The three batches do not differ that much in outward appearance. I cooked them all until they were a golden brown colour.
Batch A: 8 minutes at 220c
Batch B: 12 minutes at 190c
Batch C: 15 minutes at 160c
As would be expected, the time that it took to cook the scones decreased as the oven temperature increased. The scones baked in the hottest oven (batch A) reached a taller height than those on a lower temperature. This is because a hot oven turns the moisture within the mixture to steam and makes for a more risen scone. Cooking at a too-low temperature slows down the chemical reactions that happen while baking, so each stage of the process takes longer, and you end up with heavier, more dense scones.
There was no real difference in the taste of the scones (they were all delicious). Thus the only way that the oven temperature affected the scones was the time it took them to bake and the height of rise that they achieved.
I enjoyed doing this little experiment, and I am now intrigued to see how much changing the oven temperature can affect other baked goods!