Yeast-raised cinnamon scones

This recipe started, oddly enough, as an enthusiastic suggestion from a coworker for yeast-raised chocolate chip cookies. They turned out, well, strange. I don’t easily dismiss homemade baked goods studded with dark chocolate, but the texture just didn’t really work.

Yeast-raised cinnamon scones |

So they became scones, then I dropped the chocolate chips, then I played with the sugar, and so on. Every weekend for the past month or so, I’ve baked a new version of this little experiment to bring to work for approval. With a final change of increased butter (I should have known), they’re ready for the big time.

(Side note: have you figured out yet why I love food science? Edible experiments, people. When else do successful scientific results involve more than a quarter pound of butter?)

Yeast-raised cinnamon scones |

Yeast-raised cinnamon scones |

To get the full effect of yeasty flavor, we mix up a sponge to jump-start the yeast. Throw a little yeast in some warm water, flour, and sugar, and it starts bubbling away to develop the great flavors of fresh bread. This extra step, plus a little rest time between mixing and baking, lets the yeast do their thing and transform this scone from simple to powerfully different.

One more thing about the timing: I followed a slightly different timeline every time I made this depending on what else I had going on that weekend. At any break in the action, feel free to cover the dough and let it hang out, or throw it in the fridge if it will be longer than about 5 hours. More rising translates to more flavor!

Yeast-raised cinnamon scones |

Yeast-raised cinnamon scones
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Yeasty scones: it may sound weird, but somehow it works. The tang of the fermenting yeast with the sweet cinnamon makes for a unique and decidedly grown-up breakfast pastry.
  • Sponge:
  • ½ c. flour
  • 6 T. warm water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. yeast
  • Dough:
  • 1½ c. flour
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ c. water
  • 8 T. butter, sliced and softened
  • Topping:
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  1. Mix together the sponge ingredients. Let sit until bubbly, about an hour.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and water, and mix until combined. Feed in the butter one slice at a time and continue to mix until the dough is smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Let dough rise for at least an hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Shape the dough into a disk about 10 inches across, and place on a baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut the disk into 6 wedges (for large scones) or 8 wedges (for more reasonably sized scones). Pull the wedges slightly apart, leaving about an inch between them.
  6. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the butter evenly over the scones, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges and the bottom. Enjoy warm.


  1. No way, 2+ hours to get a breakfast on the table. The natives would never accept the wait

    1. You and your scone complaints! If you aren’t a sunrise baker, just make the scones the day before, place the shaped scones in the fridge overnight, and bake them in the morning.

  2. […] this week to wish him a happy birthday, and he immediately moved on to more pressing issues: these scones take too long. King of the Sunday-morning scones for as long as I can remember, he hasn’t […]

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