The Home Economics Bit

Did you know?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, *oats, barley and rye. Gluten plays a key role in baking because it gives bakes elasticity and flexibility, which allows dough to stretch and rise in the oven. Gluten also acts as a binding agent so it holds baked goods together and prevents crumbling.

For those of us following a gluten free diet, therefore, an alternative binder must be used in gluten free baking. Xanthan gum is an effective alternative that is gluten free, and is a key ingredient in most of my gluten free bakes. Xanthan gum also helps to improve the texture of gluten free bakes, and gives some elasticity which allows gluten free baked goods to rise in the oven.

*Although oats themselves are gluten free, they are often processed in the same facility as wheat, barley and rye. This can cause oats to become contaminated with gluten. Oats labelled gluten free are oats that have been processed in a gluten free facility, so there is no risk of gluten contamination.

According to oats contain avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten. Research has shown that most people with coeliac disease can tolerate gluten free oats no problem, but a very small number of people with coeliac disease may still be sensitive to gluten free oat products.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Scones

Golden and beautifully risen, with a soft and sweet interior; no one would ever guess that these scones are gluten free.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 scones


  • 450 g gluten free self raising flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  • 100 g hard butter cubed
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 235 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
  • Sieve the flour into a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (or use a food processor).
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl/measuring jug, mix together the buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, egg and vanilla extract.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture.
  • Use a knife to quickly mix together to form a dough – take care not to overmix.
  • Tip onto a floured surface and lightly knead (bring together with your hands) a couple of times.
  • Press out gently to about 4cm thick and cut out rounds with a 7cm or 8cm *scone cutter.
  • Re-shape the trimmings, until all the dough is used.
  • Place the scones on to a lightly floured flat baking tray. Add a splash of milk into the buttermilk bowl/jug, and use this to glaze the top of each scone.
  • Bake for 14-15 mins until golden and well risen.


* I use a 3 1/16 inch (78 mm) round scone cutter
Tip: I like to turn my scones upside down (once baked) and return them to the oven for 1-2 minutes. This ensures that the bottom of the scones are firm rather than soft, and that the scones sound hollow when the base is tapped.
Keyword gluten free, gluten free scones