The Paul Hollywood Baking Trick That's Royal-Approved

If we like our biscuits and scones, we're likely to pay more attention to technique to achieve the light crumb and texture we crave. We're advised to keep the butter we use as cold as possible and not to overwork the dough to keep the gluten from forming, per The New York Times. But the advice we're least likely to hear involves the type of flour we might use to make our scones. 

As humans, we're creatures of habit and are drawn to the same experts every time. So you might not have realized that different celebrity chefs have different go-tos for this basic ingredient. 

Ina Garten makes use of all-purpose flour, per Barefoot Contessa, as does Nigella Lawson, who refers to it as "plain flour." But Mary Berry reaches for self-raising flour when she makes her scones, per BBC. And Paul Hollywood leans into the use of bread flour, which he says produced what Queen Elizabeth once said "were the best scones she'd ever tasted," via Bloomsbury.

Paul Hollywood's choice of flour is a surprising one

The use of bread flour is hardly intuitive. As The Kitchn points out, flours are differentiated according to the amount of protein you find in them. Per King Arthur Baking, the higher the protein, the stronger the flour — and the stronger the flour, the tougher the dough, per The Kitchn.

With about 11.7% of protein, all-purpose flour is said to be perfect for most applications from cookies to scones. Self-rising flour, which brings together flour, baking powder, and salt, contains 8.5% protein, which virtually guarantees light, fluffy biscuits. Bread flour contains 12.7% of protein, while whole wheat contains 14%, per King Arthur Baking.

Paul Hollywood admits his preferred flour is a "surprising choice," but he also adds that professional kitchens lean into the use of bread flour precisely because "the high protein content gives the scones a real boost." But if you want light scones (as we all do), you'll need to go back to technique. As Hollywood says, "Don't overwork the dough, you want it nice and light, and don't twist the cutter when you lift it off or else they won't rise properly in the oven," via Bloomsbury.