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Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Using your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add sugar and stir with a spatula.
Add sultanas if using and stir again.
Form a well in the centre of the mix with your spatula.
In a small bowl beat the egg and buttermilk (or yoghurt and milk) and pour into the centre of your scone mixture.
Quickly pull the mix together - I tend to start mixing with the spatula and then go in with my hands to form the mixture into a ball.
The scone dough should be slightly sticky and soft. Add a little extra buttermilk if you find the dough a little dry.
Keep mixing to the absolute minimum.
Turn your dough onto a floured board.
Pat out your dough gently, maintaining a thick dough of 2.5 cm (1 inch)
Cut out your scones using a circular pastry/cookie cutter. Push down your cutter quickly using the palm of your hand and don't twist the cutter.
For large scones use a 70 mm (2 ¾ ins) cutter or 58 mm (2 ¼ ins) for smaller scones.
Bring the trimmings back together and cut the rest of your scones. Don't over work or you will end up with tough scones.
Place your scones onto a greased baking tray.
Brush the tops of your scones with milk or egg wash.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (large) or 12 minutes (standard) at 220 °C, 200 °C fan, 425 °F, gas mark 7 until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
Serve with jam and cream or butter.
For the perfect soft scone, keep mixing to the minimum.Scones are best eaten the same day, freeze any leftovers.