Staffordshire, right in the middle of England, is a county famous for the invention of bone china, cute bull terriers. In harsh winters of years gone by, farmers in the area would grow oats rather than wheat and so the oatcake was born.
They have a delicious natural malty sweetness that is traditionally topped with melted cheese and bacon and were traditionally sold directly from kitchen windows, how idyllic! You can literally top them with anything but I prefer a savoury finish and one of my favourites is roasted pumpkin with a fried egg, soft goat’s cheese and crispy bacon.
The beauty in preparing this yeasty batter is that its minimal fuss. You can get on with something else or even better, go back to bed for an hour or two.
- Yield: 8 oatcakes
- Difficulty: Medium
- 1 packet rapid yeast* or 10 g of *fresh yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 cups oat flour* If you can only find regular oats then you can use a food processor to blitz it into a finer oat flour
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- Oil for frying, flavorless
- In a bowl or jug, add the yeast, warm water and sugar, stir until dissolved and leave for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and stir until you have a smooth batter, add in the yeast and combine well.
- Cover the batter with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave it for a minimum of an hour in a warm draft free place or until it has doubled in size.
- Once the batter is ready, give it a stir through two or three times.
- Preheat your oven to 200F.
- In a heavy frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil until very hot.
- Add a ladle of the batter to the pan and swirl so you have a thin layer like a crepe. After about 90 seconds it should be golden brown on the bottom, carefully flip the oatcake and cook on the other side for a further minute.
- Remove the oatcake from the pan and wipe down the pan with some paper towel before repeating with the next.
- Keep the oatcakes warm in the oven whilst you work through the batter. My personal favourite topping is a fried egg, sunnyside up, some grated cheese, preferably something like a crumbly Cheshire and a few rashers of bacon.