Scottish Oatcakes

The damp, dark morning broke with barely enough light to see the squally bend in the trees. It was as if I'd been transported to Scotland's craggy, mossy seashore .. . the proper setting for the first time I made Scottish oatcakes.

My friend, Bob Hower, shared this recipe with me after telling about Scottish oatcakes on The Local Life, a weekly radio show I co-host with Phyllis Fitzgerald. The Local Life is a show about cooking with locally produced ingredients, and about sustainability. We invited Bob to the show because he is an avid farmers market shopper as well as an accomplished cook and maker of pies. His pies are the best I have ever eaten. Yes, it's true. The best ever .. . on to the story of the oatcakes.  

Scottish oatcakes are a revelation.

Bob brought a few oatcakes to The Local Life for us to taste, and I knew I wanted to make them as soon as I bit into one. It gave to the tooth with a snap and a crunch. A comforting, familiar flavor, but in a different form, made rich with just a hint of butter. The salt reminded me of the depth of the ocean. All of that is pulled together in a cracker that is satisfying if unadorned. Made richer with cheese. Or delightful with jam.

I texted Bob as I made my simple batch of oatcakes to ask a question about mixing them. We had a back and forth and then he sent me Johnson's Dictionary Of The English Language definition of OATS :  A grain that in England is generally used to feed horses, but in Scotland supports the people. Disdainful to say the least.

Oatcakes tell the history of Bob's ancestors who he envisions frying them in a pan using lamb fat. And while it is true that oatcakes are simple, I would not hesitate to serve them to a king and queen if they sat at my table.

To hear Bob Hower tell about his love for cooking and baking tune in here at 9:22
• 250 grams of rolled oats (about 2 1/3 Cups)
• 30 grams of melted butter (about 2 Tablespoons)
• 2 Tsp. sea salt plus extra for dusting
• Boiling water

1. Put a baking stone into the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
2. Blend/grind the oats and salt to a powder
3. Melt the butter in a large glass mixing bowl
4. Add the ground oats and salt to the butter and mix with a fork
5. Stir in boiling water a little at a time until the oats just pull together into a wet, sticky ball of dough
6. Spread the dough directly onto the granite counter top and press out with your hands
7. Use a rolling pin to roll the oat dough to cracker thinness and cut with a biscuit cutter or free form with a pastry cutter into triangles or squares
8. Gather the scraps together and form another ball, re-roll and cut more
9. Dust the tops with a few flakes of coarse sea salt
10. Load the oatcakes onto the heated baking stone and bake for 20 min. then flip them and continue baking for another 20 min.
11. Transfer to a cooling rack

I love the way the oatcakes neatly stack



Ann Swope said...

I have been searching for a good oat cake recipe, and who knew that Bob Hower holds the secret recipe! I've long mastered our family's Scottish shortbread, and can't wait to tackle the oat cakes!
Thank you Bob and Patty for the post! Listening to story next!
Ann Swope

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