The Norfolk chef who has made more than a million scones shares his foolproof cheese scone recipe for lockdown bakers

PUBLISHED: 16:46 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:53 27 April 2020

Cheese scones at The Assembly House in Norwich (C) The Assembly House Norwich

Cheese scones at The Assembly House in Norwich (C) The Assembly House Norwich

(C) The Assembly House Norwich

Lockdown bake-off: The man of a million scones whose recipes are credited in Delia Smith’s cookery books, Mark Mitson from Norwich’s Assembly House, shares his secrets for the perfect cheese scone

Mark Mitson, 'Scone King' at The Assembly House in Norwich (C) The Assembly House NorwichMark Mitson, 'Scone King' at The Assembly House in Norwich (C) The Assembly House Norwich

He’s starred in celebrity chef Delia Smith’s cookery books, he makes more than 100,000 scones a year for Norwich’s Assembly House and now he’s sharing one of his most famous recipes.

Mark Mitson, head pastry chef at the city centre venue has opened his recipe book during lockdown to share how to make a customer favourite: cheese scones.

Read to the end if you are missing certain ingredients and for more hints and tips, including how to freeze your scones and how to use up leftover scones.

Cheese scones at The Assembly House in Norwich (C) The Assembly House NorwichCheese scones at The Assembly House in Norwich (C) The Assembly House Norwich

Mark Mitson’s (famous) Assembly House Cheese Scones


8oz/225g plain flour

2oz/55g butter

½ tbsp baking powder (so many people have asked, so yes, this is right, it’s not tsp!)

½ tbsp Colman’s Mustard Powder (ditto!)

1/4tbsp cracked black pepper

Pinch salt

Pinch chopped chives

3oz/85g grated mature hard cheese plus extra for topping

100ml milk

Beaten egg or milk for glazing, plus the extra cheese


1) Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and using fingertips rub the butter in until it is fully-incorporated into the flour.

2) Slowly add the milk to form a soft but not sticky dough, you may need more or less as stated depending on flour.

3) Turn out onto a lightly-floured work top.

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4) Using the heal of your hand, knead the dough into a small ball. Do not overwork the dough or the scones will be heavy.

5) Roll out, using little as possible flour to at least one inch thickness

6) Use a small cutter (5cm round) and push down to cut the scones, then re-roll leftover dough to use up.

7) Place on baking tray lined with baking paper, turning upside down as you do.

8) Lightly-glaze the tops only, and sprinkle over the extra cheese.

9) Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

10) Bake in pre-heated oven at 180C for 12 to 15 minutes.

11) Eat warm with loads of butter!

Hints and tips:

Don’t twist the pastry cutter when you cut the dough as it distort the shape of the scone when it rises (they still taste great, though!)

You can use cheese which has gone a little hard in this recipe – and you can vary the cheese you use, too, although the stronger the better.

Try dusting with cayenne before baking for extra flavour.

Feel free to leave out the chives or substitute with something else, such as chopped parsley or dried herbs. Or don’t use any herbs!

If you only have self-raising flour, you can omit the baking powder (or leave it in if you’re worried about rise!), equally, margarine can be substituted for butter.

These scones can be frozen after baking – allow to defrost slowly and reheat in the oven or microwave before eating.

In the unlikely case of having leftover cheese scones, use them as a dumpling-style addition to a hearty stew, like beef and ale, placing on top of the stew for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

* Find more of Mark’s recipes on The Assembly House and Richard Hughes Cookery School’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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