Oatcakes An oatcake is a thin, flat, crisp biscuit made from oatmeal. Traditional recipes tend to stick closely to the traditional recipe as it is rather basic containing only oatmeal, water, salt and a little fat. Occassionally the baker may add a little wheat flour.
Oatcakes are extrememly popular in Scotland and have been refered to as the national bread of Scotland. Indeed the Scottish staple diet was considered to be porridge and oatcakes! This is more apt to the past when the word "cakes" commonly refered to oatcakes.
"Hear, Land o' Cakes and brither Scots..."
Oats have been cultivated in northern Europe for centuries, but although thy are amongst the most nutritious of all cereals (it has been proven that oatmeal reduces cholesterol), they were mostly grown for animal feed. Oats where, at one time, the only cereal that could be grown successfully in Scotland and explains why porridge and oatcakes are so popular even today.
Today oatcakes are more likely to appear on the table of a cheese and wine party than on the dinner table of the main family meal.
Oatcakes are now a popular and healthy snack, commonly eaten with cheese, it can also have a sweet topping. My favorite is to lightly cover the cake with cream cheese and maybe a very thin slice of cucmber or organic tomato. They are so popular that there are several companies that mass produce them, such as Walkers (see pic towards the bottom of the page) and the popular Nairn Oatcakes.
Below is an old traditional oatcake recipe. There are several other recipes available on the Internet but there is little variation. All that really changes is the amount of fat that is added. It is really a matter of taste as to what fat you use and how much.
This recipe is sufficient for 6 servings.
|Fine (Pinhead) Oatmeal||8 oz|
|Barcarbonate of Soda||1/2 ts|
|Pinch of Salt|
|Bacon fat or Melted Butter||2 tb|
|Hot Water||1/4 pt|
|Extra Oatmeal for rolling|
Method: Set the oven to 375F/Gas 5 or heat a gridle or heavy frying-pan. Mix the oatmeal, the bicarbonated of soda and salt together in a bowl. Add the melted fat and the hot water. Stir well until it makes a soft paste. Sprinkle some oatmeal on a board. From the dough into a round and roll it out as thinly as possible, adding oatmeal to the serface as necessary, to prevent sticking. Brush off the excess oatmeal. Cut the dough into 4 or 6 pieces.
To oven bake; place on a large ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. To gridle bake; bake on a hot gridle or frying-pan until the edges begin to curl. Turn over and cook the other side. Do not let the oatcakes brown; they should be a pale fawn colour. Put on a wire rack to cool. They are delicious served with cheese
Note: To test the correct heat of the gridle sprinkle it with a little flour. If the flour browns at once it is too hot; it sould take a few secounds to turn colour.