Few things can make me homesick like the memory of an oatcake… These have nothing to do with the Scottish biscuits (except the oats): Staffordshire oatcakes are thin, savoury pancakes, cooked on a hot plate and filled with a variety of healthy, low fat ingredients like bacon, cheese, and sausage.
I’ve tried to make them a few times since moving to Australia, and each attempt has left me frustrated, and missing even the slightly dodgy mass produced versions you can pick up in a Co-op or Tesco Extra. I’ve found that the hardest part is actually cooking them- you need to be quick to get them thin enough, and the heat has to be exactly right. Finally though, I think I’ve cracked it. This is basically the recipe from The River Cottage Bread Book, with a few tweaks to the method and a touch more liquid.
Assume that things might go slightly wrong: the batter will be too thin, then too thick. The pan will be too hot, and then too cold. The first couple will end up wrecked, and you will get frustrated. But persevere. They’re worth it.
Staffordshire Oatcakes makes 10
225g wholemeal flour
225g fine oatmeal
500ml warm water
500ml warm milk
Oil, for cooking
Cheese and bacon, to serve.
1. Combine all of the ingredients except the extra water and oil. Whisk well. As the original recipe states, at this stage it will be very runny, but don’t worry.
2. Rest for an hour an a half in a warm spot, until the batter is very bubbly.
3. Heat a large, heavy pan over a medium high heat. Put a drop of oil in the pan and use some kitchen paper to spread it around.
4. Add about half a cup of water to the batter if it has thickened too much- it should be about pancake batter consistency.
5. Working quickly, put a ladle full of batter into the pan. Use a silicon spatula to spread it around until it is about 2-3mm thick. Cook for 2 minutes, flip, and cook for a further minute.
6. Remove and keep warm under a tea towel whilst you repeat. Any left over batter can be frozen.
7. To serve, cover with grated cheese and bacon and place under a hot grill until the cheese melts. Cover in ketchup.