Growing up with relatives in the Midlands, one of the special treats of staying with my grandparents was having oatcakes for breakfast. Lightly fried and served with a couple of rashers of bacon and a blob of ketchup, it made for a delicious start to the day.
Staffordshire oatcakes are like a savoury pancake, made using oats, flour and yeast. (Years later I discovered Scottish oatcakes, which are completely different – they’re the small circular hybrid of a biscuit and a cracker, made mainly from oats which most people are familiar with.)
Oatcakes can be served with a number of toppings, and in Stoke-on-Trent (their birthplace), they’re often topped with cheese (which is also nice, but doesn’t beat bacon and ketchup). Some folk put sweet toppings on them (my son says they’re great with chocolate spread, for instance) but this is usually frowned upon by the natives.
A blend of wholewheat flour and plain flour would normally be used alongside the oats. I simply substituted the whole quantity of flour with Dove’s plain flour, and they were good, but may try using half brown rice flour next time to see if it adds anything to the flavour. I’ve also swapped the regular milk for lactose-free so it’s all low FODMAP.
- 130g oats, whizzed in a food processor
- 100g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp quick yeast
- 225ml warm water
- 225ml warm lactose-free milk
- Mix all the dry ingredients together
- Add the warmed milk and water and whisk until combined
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 40 minutes for the yeast to activate
- Heat a frying pan with a little oil
- Stir the mixture through and then add enough mixture to cover the pan (think pancake thickness) – tilt the pan around to spread it evenly
- Fry until the edges dry out and the underside is golden brown
- Turn over and cook until golden on the other side
- Repeat to use up all the batter (I think this makes about 6-8, depending on pan size)
They freeze well and are almost better when refried (I only add a small amount of oil) so if you find you like them, it’s worth making a batch or two for your freezer. (Separate them with greaseproof paper before freezing.)
It’s also worth mentioning that the first time I tried making these, I realised at the last minute that I’d run out of yeast. So I swapped the yeast for a generous heaped teaspoon of baking powder instead (and if you do that, there’s no need to warm the milk or let it sit for 40 minutes – you can get frying right away). It didn’t affect the taste nearly as much as I’d expected, so is a perfectly good substitution if you’re out of yeast or short on time.