I have been eating oatcakes all my life. It’s only recently that I started to make my own.
These aren’t Scottish oatcakes, which are more of a biscuit to eat with cheese. These are Derbyshire oatcakes and by saying that I am prepared to incur the wrath of anyone from Staffordshire claiming oatcakes as their own. They are a yeasted pancake made of oatmeal and wholemeal flour.
We have always bought them from my Uncle’s Butchers shop. They are so well loved in the area that even other local butchers buy them in from Howarth’s. In his later years uncle Jerry used make these himself as he told me he found it quite a relaxing task.
Now when I make a batch of a weekend I can see the appeal. Pouring ladle after ladle of the unassuming looking batter, watching as the bubbles form and pop, then flipping them over and hearing the steam cook them through as they start to turn golden and crispy.
I mix up a batch of oatcake batter in the evening then let it sit in the fridge overnight to let the oatmeal plump up. It just needs a bit of a stand and a whisk in the morning to bring the yeast back to life. There is no absolute need for these to be ‘overnight’ oatcakes. I just have a penchant for things that I can prepare in an evening ready for relaxed cooking the next morning. If you want to make them with just an hours notice I’d use fine oatmeal not medium.
George loves an after school oatcake, grilled with butter. They are very good topped with ham and melted cheese but Ed and I like an oatcake as an edible plate for a fry up as they are excellent at soaking up runny fried egg.
Yesterday we had a lucky dip of sausages from Howarth’s: one ‘standard’, one tomato and one black pudding sausage – plus an egg from one of our own chickens.
Not too shabby a breakfast, brunch…or lunch.
Derbyshire Overnight Oatcakes
Makes 16 – once made you can store them in zip lock bags in the fridge or freezer.
225g wholemeal flour
225g medium oatmeal
500ml hot water
500ml cold milk
7g sachet fast action yeast
10g/1.5 tsp salt
a little oil to fry them
In the evening…
Mix the hot water and cold milk to make a lukewarm liquid.
Stir together the flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt then gradually whisk in the liquid.
Leave out for an hour or so then cover with cling film and put the batter in the fridge overnight.
In the morning…
Get the batter out of the fridge and let the yeast wake up for an hour (it will look a bit grim!)
Give it a whisk and bubbles should start to appear again.
Lightly oil a pancake pan* and get it hot.
Spoon in a scant ladle full of batter, tipping to spread thinly and evenly.
It should be thin enough for bubbles to appear straight away.
When the oatcake sets and browns at the edges flip it over.
Cook on the other side until browned.
Eat then and there or chill until needed then dry fry or grill when you need one.
You can also save the batter for a day or two and cook as you need them.
I freeze them 6 at a time in zip-lock bags in batches for quick access on a rainy day.
*if you make pancakes more than once a year a non stick pancake pan with shallow sides is well worth having. Don’t let it go near the dishwasher though. It needs to be seasoned i.e. a bit dirty.
Let me know if you can get oatcakes near you, or if you have a go at making your own.