Traditional Scottish Oatcakes

We love these traditional Scottish oatcakes as they are so easy to make yet so delicious with a slice of cheese and fresh jelly from the garden. I always thought that traditional Scottish oatcakes were difficult to make but they are acutally pretty easy. It just takes a little patience and careful preparation to make sure they don’t break. The warmth and smell that these traditional oatcakes bring to the kitchen is worth the little extra effort to make them fresh.

I have a lovely memory from my childhood of visiting this farmhouse museum close to us in North East Scotland where the little old lady, dressed in authentic old fashioned Scottish farming clothing, sat around the fire baking fresh oatcakes for the visitors. I still remember how good it smelt in that room and how delicious they tasted. I’m not sure what kind of fat she used but they were soooo good.

Cooking Method…

I cooked these on a flat cast iron pan. Traditionally, Scottish Oatcakes were cooked on a gridle over the open fire or on a traditional range. They were traditionally finished off in front of the fire to dry out. I personally put mine in the oven on a low heat to finish off the drying process and found this worked really well for them. If you want to cook these oatcakes using the traditional method then I would recommend investing in a flat cast iron pan and you can use this for a variety of other things like pancakes and omlettes or even for eggs and heating up bread etc. They are worth the small investment and clean up really really well!

Butter or other fats…

I have used good old fashioned traditional butter for this recipe. You could also use lard or another fat of choice. I think it works really well with the butter and its easy to source being in every shop local to you. So for that reason I recommended butter in this recipe but feel free to experiment with other fats to make these traditional Scottish oatcakes.

Tips for making this recipe…

  1. Use a medium heat and a flat cast iron pan or large flat frying pan. The surface has to be flat otherwise there will not be even heat ditribution throughout the bottom of the oatcakes.
  2. Keep the butter to hand for greasing the pan. A well greased pan reduces any chance of your lovely oatcakes burning.
  3. If you’ve added in too much water add in a little more oatmeal and maybe a dash more salt if you need to add in a lot.
  4. The dough is slightly crumbly but should hold firmly together. Try not to worry about the shape too much as long as you get it rolled out pretty evenly.
  5. You want it to be 1/4 of an inch thick.
  6. Use additional oatmeal on the chopping board before adding in your oatcakes. This stops the oatcake mixture from sticking to the chopping board.

Kitchen Equipment you will need:

  1. Cast iron gridle pan or other flat frying pan so that the oatcakes cook evenly on each side. If you have an open fire and traditional setup feel free to use that too 😉
  2. A wooden rolling pin and wooden chopping board to roll the oatcakes out flat.
  3. Wooden utensils for mixing and some plates for serving up.

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Scottish Oatcake Recipe

450g of oatmeal

1tbsp of melted butter

1tsp of bicarbonate of soda

1tsp of fine sea salt

Boiling water

Recipe Instructions

  1. Add the oatmeal, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix through.
  2. Melt the butter in the pan to grease and pour it into the bowl. Mix through well.
  3. Boil up some water and add in just enough water to create a stiff dough. It should be firm.
  4. Roll out the dough on a chopping board with a wooden rolling pin.
  5. Use oatmeal on the board to stop it from sticking.
  6. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. Draw a large circle out of the dough using a plate and cut into four large quarters.
  8. Cook the oatcakes on a medium heat turning frequently.
  9. Once browned and hard transfer to another pan or dish for the oven.
  10. Bake the remaining oatcakes in the oven on a low heat for 20minutes until completely dried out.
  11. I also used the remaining oatcake dough to cut out small circular ones as in the photographs. They were cooked in the same way.
  12. Serve warm with cheese, jellies, jams, crowdie, the list is endless.
  13. Enjoy!

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