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The Benefits of Resting and Refrigerating Dough for Scones

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2012

Refrigerate your dough overnight for more symmetrical and attractive pastries.

Recipes for scones sometimes provide a make-ahead option that involves refrigerating the dough overnight so it can simply be shaped and then popped into the oven the next day. But now we’ve found that resting the dough overnight has another benefit: It makes for more symmetrical and attractive pastries. Rested dough is far easier to shape cleanly than unrefrigerated dough is, and it bakes up noticeably taller, smoother, and with crispier edges. The explanation is simple: As with other doughs, including pizza dough, resting lets scone dough’s gluten relax completely, so that it doesn’t snap back during shaping or baking. Does this mean that from now on we’ll always rest our scone dough? Not necessarily. But it’s nice to know that when we do, our scones will only improve.

NOT RESTED: Squat and not as professional-looking.

RESTED: Taller, with well-defined edges.