Bodges’ Staffordshire Oatcake Tutorial
Anybody from the Staffordshire area will know about our local delicacy ‘The Oatcake’
They have been a staple part of the Staffordshire diet for generations and (unless filled with bacon and cheese) are a healthy nutritious food which can be served anytime of the day.
I have taken Oatcakes to many of the meets I have attended and handed out samples for folk to try. These samples have usually contained bacon and cheese, but can be filled with anything you fancy really, even jam works well.
Around the Staffordshire area you will find Oatcake shops dotted around the city, some in high street locations and others in back street terraced house locations, which is where ‘the Oatcake’ was probably born.
Some shops sell just oatcakes and some sell them filled with savoury items and ready to eat as well as on their own.
Supermarkets sell a mass produced version of an oatcake, but as oatcakes are best eaten within 24 hours of baking, contain preservatives and things to extend their shelf life and thus in my own opinion could double as a shoe repair kit whilst out in the field.
Every Oatcake shop produces a different oatcake, some are thick and stodgy some thinner and lighter which I prefer.
The main ingredient in a quality oatcake is of course oatmeal. South Cheshire is the location of the mornflake mill where tons of quality oats are produced every day.
Strong plain flour comes second followed by other ingredients, ending in water.
Oatcake recipes are very closely guarded secrets and are handed down through shop owner generations and sold to new owners under cloak and dagger secrecy.
I have studied different available recipes and each one is different with different quantities and extra or less ingredients. I have recently been trialling a simple recipe and have tweaked it to make what I consider to be my preferred type of oatcake.
I tested them out at the recent Midland meet and I think everyone is still with us so here goes my tweaked oatcake recipe shamelessly borrowed from another one, with a bit of another one…..you get the idea.
10 OZS. OF MEDIUM COARSE OATMEAL.
6 OZS STRONG WHITE PLAIN FLOUR.
1.5 TBLS. DRIED SKIMMED MILK.
2 TSPS. QUICK ACT DRIED YEAST.
1 TSPS. SUGAR.
1 - 1.5 TSP SALT (ADDED LATER)
This mix should make between 15 and 18 thinnish Oatcakes.
Place all ingredients into large bowl and make well in centre. Put in 700ml warm water and mix well. (Mixture should be quite ''loose'' like pancake batter. This may thicken after standing ''loosen'' again to a batter consistency). It is fine to add a little more warm water.
Now cover and place in a warm place (airing cupboard) for about 1hour 30 mins. - 2 hours.
After standing, uncover and mix well. Add more warm water if necessary, possibly about 200 -300ml to make it into 'loose' batter. Now add 1 - 1.5 tsps salt (depending on taste) - do not do this sooner or you will kill the yeast.
Heat a skillet or frying pan on high and make yourself an oiling pad as in the picture. Once heated, pad the cooking surface with oil (I use regular olive oil) as shown. Turn down heat slightly and pour your oatcake mix from a ladle and roll the pan to thin the mixture out. Cook on the first side until the edges start to curl up slightly and the mixture on the top has all but changed to a darker shade. Turn the oatcake over to cook the other side, cook until all mixture is set. Make sure you 'roll' the pan to get an even coveridge - you'll soon get the idea of how thick you want them. Re-oil pan with your pad between oatcakes.
You will probably waste quite a few at first until you get used to the mix. You should try to avoid thick oatcakes with this mix as it is designed for a thin oatcake and will not cook right and end up stodgy and incorrect.
You are aiming for a very light golden tinge on the first cooked side and either the same but probably lighter on the second.
Cool on racks (very important as they will stick and sweat if put together whilst warm). These are now ready to do as you want with, either fill with bacon cheese and skillet them. or wrap cheese in them and warm in microwave or under grill.
You can now batch what you don't want today and pop in the freezer (remembering to put in the right amount for each meal or you wont be able to separate them while they are frozen). You can now have oatcakes just when you fancy them, enjoy them, i do…
First I loaded the ingredients into the kenwood chef bowl
I have found that oatmeal is more expensive than regular oats so I got regular oats and put them through the food processer to grind it down to oatmeal texture.
Oatmeal Morrisons 500g 53p
Oats Asda 2kg £1.00
Next I mixed in the water and let the chef do the work (it’s easy with a spoon too).
I used this yeast as it’s what I use for our bread machine.
once the mix is done and put to rest in a warm place for 90 mins it will look like this.
You will have to 'loosen' it as in the instructions before you cook it.
Get your racks out
I made an oil pad from a plate and a sheet of bounty kitchen towel and olive oil (not virgin) don’t forget some tongs or you’ll cook your fingers later on.
Stir the mix now and then.
You can see how the mixture has air in it from the yeast
You should get holes appearing as you roll the pan
Lay out the hot oatcakes in a single layer until cold, you can then start to stack them.
When they are completely cold they can be bagged and tagged or whatever
And kept for 24 – 36 hours if cool. or frozen for yonks.
They are best eaten fresh though and once you’ve finished you can get swmbo to take a photo of you looking like a nutter (swmbo said it).
She says the pinny suits me
Please post your results here to make my small effort worthwhile