Oatcakes, for the uninitiated, are a Scottish delight.
They come in various forms - some closer to pancakes, some more like crackers - but are universally delicious and comforting.
These are the cracker-esque variety, and are usually eaten with butter or cheese. Really, though, you could put anything on one.
The sourdough doesn't contribute any rise here, but its acidity may help make them extra crisp, by reacting with the baking soda.
A word of warning to Canadian friends - these are not like "Nova Scotia Oatcakes"! They are much drier, and unsweetened.
Store finished oatcakes in your cupboard, in a sealed container.
If you become hooked on this style of oatcake and want to learn more about different variations, I would recommend giving Felicity Cloake's article on "The Perfect Oatcakes" a read. She delves into their history, and offers a more traditional variation, using medium oatmeal:
Adapted from BBC Good Food: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/user/831133/recipe/scottish-oat-cakes —Stottey
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Makes 16-20
oats (rolled or porridge, not steel-cut)
sourdough starter (discard or active)
bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
unsalted butter (salted would work too, but maybe reduce the salt slightly)
boiling water (how much you need will depend on how absorbent your oats are)
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Mix the oats, salt, sugar and soda in a large bowl.
- Add the sourdough starter to the dry ingredients, mixing as best you can - I used my hands in the end - until the starter is evenly incorporated
- Cut the butter into small cubes - half an inch/1cm or so - and squidge the butter with your hands into the dough, until everything starts to come together.
- If dry spots remain - they probably will - add a tablespoon of boiling water to the mixture, and knead together again. Boiling water is important here, as it helps to gelatinise the oats slightly, and bind the mixture.
- Sprinkle your work surface with plain flour/AP flour, and dump out your dough
- Lightly flour the top of the dough, a rolling pin (and probably yourself), then roll the dough out thinly. I went for around 1/4cm here.
- If the mixture is still too try, and not cooperating, use the boiling water to seal cracks that appear, and simply press the mixture together. This is a very, very forgiving dough, so don't worry about being delicate. Just pretend it's play dough and splash with water and press together as needed.
- Lightly the rim of a drinking glass around 7cm/3inches in diameter, or a round cookie cutter of the same size. Cut out oatcakes - I got sixteen, your milage may vary.
- Re-roll the scraps and repeat, performing more hot water surgery as necessary.
- Carefully transfer each oatcake to the trays. They are a bit fragile, but won't spread, so don't worry if they are a snug fit on the tray
- Bake for around 30 minutes in total, rotating the trays after 20 minutes if necessary for even browning.
- Cool on a wire rack, and eat with mounds of sharp cheese and chutney.