One of the things I’ve been enjoying about my nutrition course is learning about various different dietary theories. A few weeks ago one of our modules covered traditional diets. I found this quite an interesting approach, similar to paleo and primal style eating, but including dairy (with a key focus on raw dairy) and grains and legumes that are properly prepared.

Some schools of thought are very anti grains, suggesting that grains contain anti nutrients such as phytic acid that prevent the absorption of some minerals, enzyme inhibitors and hard to digest proteins, the most well known of which is gluten.

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The approach within traditional diets is to eat them when they have been properly soaked or better still, fermented. A good example of this is sourdough breads. They explain that this is how our ancestors within ancient civilisations would prepare their grains for ease of digestion and maximum utilisation of vitamins and minerals.

I was browsing The Chalkboard Mag and came across this recipe for fermented buttermilk biscuits and was curious to try the fermentation process out for myself. The idea here is that the natural friendly bacteria within the buttermilk / yoghurt will ferment the grain based flour. I put my own twist on the recipe adding some chopped dates and walnuts, a hint of cinnamon and some yoghurt instead of the buttermilk. What I ended up with was a batch of delicious buttery scones with no need for added sugar due to the natural sweetness of the dates. I can’t be sure if the fermentation process resulted in a better flavour or texture, all I know is they taste damn good!

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Fermented Grain Date and Walnut Scones (makes 10 scones, refined sugar free)

  • 2 Cups / 240g of wholegrain spelt flour
  • ¾ cup / 200mls of plain yoghurt (I used full fat)
  • ¼ tsp of bicarb
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • 10 dried dates (chopped)
  • 50g of chopped walnuts
  • 50g of butter

The night before making the scones combine the flour and the yoghurt in a bowl until the mixture becomes crumbly. Leave at room temperature covered with a tea towel to ferment overnight or up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake the scones pre heat the oven to 450F or 230c and grease a baking tray. Add the bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, chopped dates and walnuts to the mix. Chop the butter up into pieces and work it into the dough. It will seem tough to begin with but kneed it well until the butter has disappeared and the mixture has turned into a ball of sticky dough. On a floured surface lightly pat or roll out to ½ – 1 inch thick and cut into desired shape (I just used the top of a glass). Brush the tops with milk and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until risen and golden.

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Enjoy warm from the oven with melty butter…

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I took these into work and my colleagues really enjoyed them and one even asked for the recipe! I’m always extra happy when people who aren’t used to ‘healthy’ baked treats like my recipes :-)

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To be honest you could probably make these skipping the fermentation process and still end up with some very tasty scones. You could also experiment with various add ins – I’d love to try a savoury version with cheese…

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What do you think of the idea of fermentation? I have to say I love a good scone at this time of year, I will definitely be giving the cheese version a try! Do you like scones? What is your favourite kind of scone?