Monday, July 16, 2018

Singing Hinnies with the Bread Baking Babes

This has been a hot summer for us. Lots of days in the high 80s, the 90s, even a couple triple digits ones. As you might note if you look at other recent posts, not a lot of baking is going on. When it was time for me to select a recipe for July as the Bread Baking Babes Kitchen of the Month, I decided to go with something that didn't require an oven. I'm not the only one of us contending with high temperatures!

One of the oddly named recipes that I have been meaning to try for a while is Singing Hinnies. So for July we will be making Singing Hinnies. What on earth are those you might wonder. Well, they are a scone-like griddled bread from Northumberland in Northern England.

"There are many thoughts about the derivation of the name but I’m sure it is the noise they make as they cook.  Apparently a mother explained to her daughter that they would soon be ready as she could hear them singing.  She then referred to her daughter as ‘hinnie’ – a Northumbrian term of endearment, hence the ‘singin’ hinnie’." Thus wrote Laura Fitzpatrick of the blog Hello Eco Living

I mainly used her recipe, with a few variations, plus there are suggestions below for making your own changes. If you are going to be a Bread Baking Buddy, and I hope that you do that, the only requirement is that they are scone-like and contain a fruit like currants or raisins and that they are cooked by griddling.

They are the perfect breakfast  or tea time treat and come together in less than 30 minutes using pantry staples. You can use all butter or margarine, or use part butter and part lard if you have a good supplier of lard. You can use a food processor to pulse the cold fat into the flour mixture before adding the currants and mixing the rest by hand in a bowl, or use the traditional method of rubbing the fat in by hand or cutting it in using a pastry cutter or two knives...your choice.

Another choice is to add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the flour mixture and then add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the milk before adding it to the flour mixture after the fat is cut in. This will probably produce a slightly higher singing hinnie, but it might take longer to cook. A key element here is a cast iron skillet or a griddle or similar cooking surface that is heated on a low heat. Mine was at the perfect temperature when, as I flipped the hinnies to the second side, they 'sang' from the fat particles hitting the hot griddle. That will happen if it is too hot, also, but not if the heat is too low (which is what I had at first...that's how I know).

Do handle the dough lightly and minimally as you would a scone or biscuit mixture to keep them from being tough. Cut straight down with your round cutter and don't twist so that they will rise well. I found that I needed a full 9 tablespoons of milk to wet the dry ingredients so that they would hold together to be rolled out. I rolled them to a half inch thickness. They do puff up a bit when they cook and thicker might make it harder to griddle them fully without burning the outsides.

These are delightful, rather like a rich but thinner scone. The griddled part gets a nice browned butter flavor and the currants give a bit of sweetness. I used a small fork to split a couple of them and added more butter, but decided that I preferred them unsplit, just as they are when they come off the griddle. They are very tender on the inside and just a bit crisp on the outside. Do eat them while still warm! Jam and butter are optional. Tea goes really well with these.

Be sure to check out the other Bread Baking Babes for their take on this rich little goodie. If you go to Web View of this blog, the links to their blogs are on the right, down a little way.

If you'd like to become a Buddy and get one the beautiful badges that Elizabeth created (similar to the one above), just email me at plachman at sonic dot net with a photo and the URL of your post, plus a brief description of your experience making these. The deadline is July 29th. I'll try to post the roundup on August 1.

Singing Hinnies

225grams (8ozs) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams (4ozs) butter (or margarine)
50 grams (2ozs) currants
Milk to mix to a dough (about 6-9 tablespoons)

Sift the flour and baking powder (and baking soda if using) into a bowl.  Rub in the fat (or cut in with pastry blender or two knives) and stir in the currants.  Add enough milk to make a dough.  Roll out onto a floured tray or board and cut with scone or biscuit cutter into rounds of chosen size, usually about 3 inches wide.
Heat pan (griddle or cast iron skillet work well) and lightly grease.  Place scones onto griddle on a very low heat so that the scones can cook very slowly.  Turn once and cook on other side.  To check that they are cooked remove one of the scones and tap it gently – it should sound hollow. The top and bottom should be browned but not burnt.
Serve warm, either split and buttered, or not. Strawberry jam should be great with these.


  1. I think you must be right that the name comes from the humming of the biscuits as they finish cooking! This was so cool and unexpected. At first I thought I was imagining the humming!

    Your hinnies look so beautifully golden. Alas, I'm afraid that I didn't pay close enough attention to the instruction to use "low heat".

    I wonder if people use tricks like the one for pancakes (flicking water to see if it beads on the pan) to know when the pan is the right heat.

  2. Thank you for introducing us to Singing Hinnies. They were delicious! Yours look perfectly browned.

  3. Next Sister Down6:34 AM

    I remember singing hinnies from a novel by Mary Stewart many many years ago. The heroine asking whether they would have singing hinnies for tea was a minor plot point. I had never heard of them before, and the name stuck in my memory. I've never heard of them since either, so I read your post with great interest. I never imagined they would be so easy to make--or so they look from your recipe. I will have to try them. (By the way, the book was "The Ivy Tree.")

  4. They look just beautiful, so light and tender!

  5. Thanks for choosing this easy and oven-free bread for July! What a fun and tasty bread!

  6. OK tried to leave comment earlier.
    They are rich. Mine weren't as thin as yours and I think I like thinner better than my thicker. Also plan to cut them in smaller rounds next time ... and maybe try to save a couple for another time or two later ;-) Hard to eat just one.

  7. What a great choice for a hot summer! I want the ones with the extra butter, please....