Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

As someone born and bred in the Potteries, but now very much rooted here in Texas, one of the things I miss most of all are the wonderful, freshly made, oatcakes that I enjoyed back in Staffordshire. I don't mean the commercially made things that have now apparently found their way on to the shelves of Sainsbury's or Tesco in some of the less sophisticated parts of the UK (e.g. London). I mean real warm oatcakes, fresh from the griddle, making a perfect breakfast or fast meal.

These wonderful alternatives to toast or bread for breakfast were the staple diet of potters, miners, steel workers and pretty much every working family in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding area. It used to be impossible to drive more than a mile or two through the city without seeing an oatcake shop where, especially at weekends, the delightful smell of the griddle would filter outwards into the street. There are still many left and some good ones, too, I believe. Even writing this message is making me hunger for one.

Oatcakes, for the uneducated, are rather like crepes or galettes made from a batter that is based on oatmeal and cooked on a large griddle. The ultimate whole grain breakfast, they are either wrapped around bacon and egg, fajita-style, or grilled with cheese.

My question is, has anyone successfully made oatcakes at home and if so, are there any tips, recipes, etc. that can be shared with other ex-pats from the Six Towns?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're fortunate here in North Cheshire that, whilst we can't get warm oatcakes, we're near enough to Stoke for a number of local outlets (often on markets) to stock them, so I'm not reliant on the Sainsbury version (which is very claggy).

As you say, sprinkle with a good Cheshire or Lancashire, grill and wrap round bacon . A favourite Sunday brekkie.


John Hartley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny you should ask.

I came across this site last year and dug out my National Trust cookbook to look for a recipe.

The above site led me to this site and I tried that recipe and was hooked. Oops forgot to include this site for oatcakes.

It also led me to purchase several more cookbooks. :rolleyes:

A couple of days ago I was thinking about baking something to take along on a trip next month and pulled up that recipe as I found that the "cakes" keep and travel well.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does this get you close?

http://www.breadsecrets.com/blog/?p=16

Being a native of North Staffordshire (UK), I was brought up on these, and make a batch every week or two (the ones you can get from the supermarket are OK but not as good as those from a proper oatcake shop, or home made, of course). So, imagine my surprise when, having made a batch this morning, my wife pointed out the “In praise of Staffordshire Oatcakes” editorial in today’s Guardian newspaper. However, they didn’t include a recipe, so here’s mine. ...

Its a yeasted savoury pancake batter, using 50/50 water and milk, and half the flour weight is fine oatmeal, the rest is 50/50 wholemeal and plain ("all purpose") flour.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just posting from Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in support of the noble oatcake!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just posting from Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in support of the noble oatcake!

Ay up duck! :) This time next week I shall be hoping to partake of the very same when my wife and I visit the Mother Country for a few days. The most convenient oatcake shop to where we are staying will be on London Road just outside 'Castle (if it's still there?). Do you patronise the famous "Hole in the Wall" in Hanley?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hiya Tony!

Yep, the Hole in the Wall Website is still a great place to get them, but for my money, the best I've tasted have been from High Lane oatcakes, Website & Google Maps which were also featured on the Rick Stein Food Hero program as being the best.

Hope you have a fantastic time duck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am surprised that nobody has found a way of vacuum packing them to ship by air overseas. These days UPS and FedEx get things here almost as quick as they can to some remote Scottish islands, so it ought to be possible.

I might swing by High lane Oatcakes on my way to and from Vale Park.

But I am still interested in knowing what experience others have had actually making them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andiesenji, can you share some tips and experience? Is it as simple as it seems?

My original recipe was for a batter that required the use of "muffin rings" to keep the batter contained but for the past few years I have been using this recipe from Recipezaar:

Oatcake recipe

It's very easy and they are very good. However, I bake them on a griddle instead of in the oven.

Because I don't plan to store them, I brush one side with melted butter as soon as they come off the griddle.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

andiesenji, the recipe you mention that required muffing rings was possible closer to a staffordshire oatcake than your current oatcake recipe.

The linked recipe above is for scottish oatcakes which are more like a dry biscuit/cracker whereas the staffordhire oatcake is more like a pancake.

Can anyone tell me how Derbyshire oatcakes differ from staffordshire oatcakes?

lapin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
andiesenji, the recipe  you mention that required muffing rings was possible closer to a staffordshire oatcake than your current oatcake recipe.

The linked recipe above is for scottish oatcakes which are more like a dry biscuit/cracker whereas the staffordhire oatcake is more like a pancake.

Can anyone tell me how Derbyshire oatcakes differ from staffordshire oatcakes?

lapin

You are correct. I just want something that will hold cheese and egg or sausage and egg. Brushing them with butter keeps them from getting too crisp.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The recipe above is for Scottish Oatcakes, which is an entirely different animal - more like a cookie.

Staffordshire Oatcakes do not get crisp unless overdone. Typically they are pretty much the same as a crepe when cooked on a griddle or in a skillet, as far as I am aware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dug out my old recipe that was passed along to me by one of my Brit friends, his mum's recipe, modified for me as the original recipe specified cake yeast and wholemeal flour. I think they used honey because his dad kept bees.

I have always used fine pinhead oatmeal because the one time I tried US type oatmeal I had a soggy mess.

Staffordshire oatcakes

Makes about 15 using muffin rings.

3 1/2 cups milk and water -half of each

1 generous tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dry yeast

1 cup pinhead oatmeal (fine)

1 cup unbleached AP flour (can also use whole wheat flour)

1 teaspoon table salt (I use 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)

Warm milk and water gently - no more than 98 degrees F.

Stir in the honey

In a cup dissolve the yeast in a little of the liquid and add back into the rest.

Set aside covered until the mixture is bubbly. (About 30 minutes.)

In a large bowl mix together the oatmeal, flour and salt.

Combine the liquid with the dry ingredients and mix well.

Cover and place in a warm area for an hour.

Bake on a hot griddle - I use muffin rings to keep the batter from spreading too much.

When you see holes appear on the surface, use a spatula to flip to the other side and

cook until done - about 4 minutes each side, depending on how hot the griddle.

Wrap in a tea towel to keep warm.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As it happens I have just been corresponding with somebody that make these for many years. He is what they have to say:

"50% fine oatmeal, 25% wheatmeal, 25% white flour together with a small amount of yeast, a 'mix' for say 40 dozen, in a dustbin sized plastic container,was proved over about 6 hours until the yeast had risen to the top when it was further stimulated by a small amount of bicarbonate of soda."

I've used a similar recipe and they always turn out well.

gallery_1643_978_17550.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As it happens I have just been corresponding with somebody that make these for many years. He is what they have to say:

"50% fine oatmeal, 25% wheatmeal, 25% white flour together with a small amount of yeast, a 'mix' for say 40 dozen, in a dustbin sized plastic container,was proved over about 6 hours until the yeast had risen to the top when it was further stimulated by a small amount of bicarbonate of soda."

I've used a similar recipe and they always turn out well.

Is there any specific type of white flour that is best? I avoid bleached flour like the plague, so I would be looking for the best combination of flours to ensure the maximum amount of whole grain.

How quickly does the batter have to be used after the 6 hour period? Will it then keep in a fridge?

Great picture!


Edited by Tony Boulton (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does this get you close?

http://www.breadsecrets.com/blog/?p=16

Its a yeasted savoury pancake batter, using 50/50 water and milk, and half the flour weight is fine oatmeal, the rest is 50/50 wholemeal and plain ("all purpose") flour.

Looks good and authentic in the photo. Again, I would choose my flour carefully, but it seems straightforward enough, otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just made some oatcakes using a scribbled down recipe from The River Cottage Bread book.

I didn't have wholemeal flour so I used a small amount of rye with strong white flour and I could only find medium oatmeal so I sieved it to get the larger pieces out. I think I should have used a softer flour as the otcakes were a little elastic but tasted really good. I was nervous about the amount of liquid but the batter thickened up as it sat. I cut down the salt, only adding as much as I wanted by tasting rather than weighing. I left the batter for about 3 hours to prove by which time it was very frothy.

I am cooking them on an old welsh griddle pan that had been rusting in the garage for a while so it took a bit of cleaning up and seasoning but worked really well once it was clean and hot. It would be good to cook with 2 pans at once so you could turn these out a bit faster.

Sorry about the poor picture, I was trying to show them being cooked but the griddle is as black as the stove top so not very clear.

gallery_47057_6380_26485.jpg

The original ingredients were:

225g wholemeal flour

225 g oatmeal

500 ml water

500 ml milk

5g yeast

10g salt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tony brought a personal supply of Stratfordshire Oatcakes back to Texas from his recent trip, evading watchful US Customs agents assigned to Oatcake smuggling. A true friend, he shared a stack of these with me and advised me on the prep. I found a good mature English Cheddar, but lacking a source for lean English bacon had to settle for the usual. Everyone liked them much, so I'll have to work up a recipe that will work here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I began researching oatcakes about fourteen years ago. Long story short: came across the website of a guy from Stoke-on-Trent who waxed poetic about North Staffordshire oatcakes. He invited me to visit his family when next I was in the UK, which I did, not knowing that he had arranged with the local bbc radio to take me around to several shops early the next morning, broadcasting all along the way! It was great fun. We went to Hole in the Wall where they put a Pinny on me, gave me a ladle and let me fry away. Then off to Hamil's Oatcake Shop in Burslem (Home of the Whopper) and while there, the bbc sent over reporter and cameraman and I was on the evening news! Then The Sentinel sent over a reporter and I made it into the next morning's newspaper. Such fun, great memories, and great traditional food of The Potteries.

And now I'll go grab Elizabeth David as I have always made her version and they are quite acceptable!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had one for breakfast only yesterday.

Readily available in supermarkets near me - but then I'm in North Cheshire so only a few miles north of Stoke. These were actually Derbyshire oatcakes - same beast, different county.


John Hartley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Resurrecting this thread.....the other day, over here,  @liuzhou shared a link to this article: The best books on Baking Bread recommended by Chris Young. One of the 5 books recommended was The Staffordshire Oatcake: A History by Pamela Sambrook about an item I'd never heard of but which was apparently the source of happy childhood memories for Mr. Young.

 

My curiosity piqued, I browsed this thread and decided to try a recipe from The Guardian's "perfect" series: How to make the perfect Staffordshire oatcakes even though the first step, "Heat the milk with the same amount of water in a pan until about blood temperature," was a bit off-putting.   I had to add a good bit more liquid to get the batter thin enough to spread properly in the pan and may have made the m a bit too thin. 

 

In the pan, ready to flip:

IMG_2042.thumb.jpeg.f94e45a2c604b1a9c059a10942666bae.jpeg

 

Flipped:

IMG_2041.thumb.jpeg.b7bf94ff68432aa2a04ac6412b1e3a72.jpeg

 

Out of the pan:

IMG_2047.thumb.jpeg.8627a03868382462c8efbb04c6e70276.jpeg

 

The stack:

IMG_2048.thumb.jpeg.1ef089b81f8b6e7d88ae854b852a5a4d.jpeg

 

Breakfast:

IMG_2045.thumb.jpeg.8070b62da13b66fa7152bf3ba2497f83.jpeg

A bit of sharp cheddar, sautéed spinach & onion, scrambled egg with diced country ham.

 

My modifications, based on what I had:  I used buttermilk instead of milk. I blitzed oatmeal in the blender, leaving some texture and used that for the finely ground oats. I used stone ground whole grain Glenn wheat flour for the strong wholemeal flour and used King Arthur bread flour for the strong white flour.  I mixed the batter and put it into the fridge overnight. It had risen almost double the original volume.  I needed to add more liquid and chose to let it sit again for about an hour to start rising again before I cooked them.
My 25 cm Darto skillet has a 21 cm/8 inch inside diameter and I ladled in a little more than 100 ml (~ 1/2 cup) for each cake so they're about 8 inches in diameter. 

 


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
  • Like 5
  • Delicious 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

My curiosity piqued, I browsed this thread and decided to try a recipe from The Guardian's "perfect" series: 

I can take even less of Felicity Cloake than I can of Christopher Kimball!  But your oatcakes look so good I am going to grit my teeth and read the linked article. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 2

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

My curiosity piqued, I browsed this thread and decided to try a recipe from The Guardian's "perfect" series: How to make the perfect Staffordshire oatcakes even though the first step, "Heat the milk with the same amount of water in a pan until about blood temperature," was a bit off-putting.  

IMG_2047.thumb.jpeg.8627a03868382462c8efbb04c6e70276.jpeg

 

 

Those are so enticing. I think "blood temp" is the same as what you dab on your wrist when checking a baby bottle. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Nn, M.D.
      I'm very excited to share with you all a recipe that I developed for a double crust apple pie.  I had been inspired a few weeks ago to come up with a series of 3-ingredient recipes that would focus on technique and flavor but still be simple enough for the unseasoned chef.  I decided to make an apple pie as a challenge to myself--never having made one before--and as a way to show those who might find pastry intimidating how easy and adaptable it can be.
       
      Basic Shortcrust Pastry
      Ingredients:
      - 300g flour
      - 227g salted butter, cold
      - 2 lemons, zested with juice reserved
       
      1. Cut butter into small chunks.  Beat butter, zest of the 2 lemons, and flour together with an electric mixer OR combine with pastry blender OR rub together with fingers OR blitz in a food processor until it resembles sand.
      2. Add just enough water to bring the mix together into a dough (about 20g for me).  You'll know your pastry is ready when you can press it together and it stays in one piece.
      3. Divide dough in two and wrap tightly with plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
      4. When ready to use, roll out each portion to 13 inches in diameter. (I do this between two sheets of parchment paper.  Don't worry too much if the parchment sticks to the pastry. I periodically placed mine in the freezer to help keep everything cold, and the butter will separate from the parchment when frozen.)
      5. Take 1 portion of rolled dough and place it in a 9-inch tart tin with a removable bottom.  Gently press into the sides to ensure even coverage.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Freeze the other portion of dough in-between the parchment pieces.
       
      Apple Filling (and Assembly)
      - 1 kg apples (I used about 7 apples for this recipe.)
      - 220g dark brown sugar, divided
      - 1 egg, separated
       
      Making the apple butter: 
      1. Cut and core 500g of your apples, but do not peel.  Add cut apples, juice of the one lemon, about 100g or so of water, and 170g of sugar to a large saucepan.
      2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let the apples cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
      3. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
      4. Return puree to saucepan and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for an hour.  Color should deepen and the mixture should thicken slightly, but do not allow it to scorch.
      5. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
       
      Apple filling:
      1. Peel, quarter, and core the remaining 500g of apples. Slice on a mandolin to about 1/8th inch thickness. Place sliced apples in a large bowl of cold water while slicing remaining apples.
      2. Once apples are sliced, drain water and add the juice from the remaining lemon, as well as the remaining 50g of sugar, over the apples. Stir to coat.
       
         
       
      Assembly:
      1. Remove pie base from the freezer.  Dock with a fork and brush on egg white.  Place back in the freezer and allow to set for for about 5-10 minutes.
      2. Pour the entire recipe of apple butter into the pie base and even out with an offset spatula.
      3. Arrange apple slices over the apple butter.
      4. Remove remaining pie dough from the freezer and cut designs in while still cold. Transfer to the surface of the pie and seal overhanging edges.  Trim excess dough.
      5. Brush top pastry with egg yolk (beaten with any remaining egg white) and bake in a 365˚F oven for 60-70 minutes.  Crust should be shiny and golden brown.
      6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.
       
      Some notes:
      The reason for using salted butter is I think the flavor incorporates a little better into the mix than if I were to use unsalted butter and added salt.  That being said, you could do that instead, though your recipe would then have 7 ingredients The addition of apple butter here takes the place of the normal apple pie filling, which is usually thickened with cornstarch and is typically quite sweet.  By using the apple butter, I push the flavor of apple forward beyond what you would find in a typically apple pie.  Also, the apple butter acts as a glue of sorts so that my slices are always clean, so no need to resort to adding thickeners or extra sweeteners. I'm always looking for a way around blind baking, and using an egg white seal has worked out very well for me. The egg white creates a water-tight layer between the crust and the filling, so no matter how wet my filling is, the crust will always bake crispy and won't get soggy for as long as the pie is around. Feel free to change this up as you see fit.  Obviously you can spices to this (I recommend cinnamon, clove, and cardamom) but the beauty of this pie is that it's really not necessary.  Although at first blush it may seem one-noted, the harmony between the flaky, almost savory crust and the bright and refreshing filling is one that doesn't need any help, in my honest opinion.  

       
      So there you have it! My 6-ingredient apple pie, sure to become a go-to for me, and hopefully for you as well!
       
    • By ResearchBunny
      Posted 6 hours ago Dear EGulleters,
      ResearchBunny here. I've just found you today. I've been lolling in bed with a bad cold, lost voice, wads of tissues, pillows, bedding around me. I spent all of yesterday binge-watching Season 2 of Zumbo's Just Desserts on Netflix from beginning to grand finale. I have been a hardcore devotee of Rose Levy Beranbaum since the beginning of my baking passion -- after learning that she wrote her master's thesis comparing the textural differences in cake crumb when using bleached versus unbleached flour. I sit up and pay attention to that level of serious and precision! While Beranbaum did study for a short while at a French pastry school, she hasn't taken on the challenge of writing recipes for entremets style cakes. That is, multi-layer desserts with cake, mousse, gelatin, nougatine or dacquoise layers all embedded in one form embellished with ice cream, granita, chocolate, coulis. After watching hours of the Zumbo contest, I became curious about the experience of designing these cakes. Some of the offered desserts struck me as far too busy, others were delightful combinations. I was surprised that a few contestants were eliminated when their offerings were considered too simple or, too sophisticated. So I'd like to hear from you about your suggestions for learning more about how to make entremets. And also, what you think about the show. And/or Zumbo.
      Many thanks.
      RB
      ps. The show sparked a fantasy entremet for my cold. Consider a fluffy matzo ball exterior, with interior layers of carrot, celery, a chicken mince, and a gelatin of dilled chicken broth at its heart!
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By pastrygirl
      Anyone have a favorite recipe for chocolate cake using semisweet chocolate?  My usual chocolate cake recipe uses cocoa, but I have some samples of chocolate I want to use up for a workplace party.  Yes, I could make brownies or ganache frosting, or chocolate mousse or chocolate chunk cookies, just feeling like cake this weekend ...
    • By onemorebitedelara.com
      Has anyone used Valrhona Absolut Crystal neutral glaze particularly to thicken a coulis or to glaze a tart?  If so, how did you like it and is there another glaze you think worked as well but is less expensive or can be purchased in smaller quantities?  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...