North Staffordshire Oatcakes

A local speciality from the North Staffordshire area of England, this oatcake is a type of pancake made of oatmeal, flour and yeast.  At one point in history, there were oatcake shops on nearly every street corner in North Staffs, and they are still a popular breakfast to this day.  I was first introduced to oatcakes at university by a friend from North Staffs and became totally hooked on them!  They are easy to make, super tasty, healthy and very filling.  Any leftover oatcakes can be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 days, or frozen. 

Makes 6-12 pancakes (depending on pan size)
Preparation time: 5 minutes (plus 1-8 hours resting time. Best left overnight)
Cooking time: 5 minutes per pancake (I use 2 frying pans (griddles) to save time)

Ingredients
225g / 8oz / 1 1/4 cups fine or medium oatmeal
100g / 3 1/2 oz / 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
100g / 3 1/2 oz / 3/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
425ml / 15fl oz soya milk (or use water)
425ml / 15fl oz water
1 tsp quick-action yeast
1 tsp salt
olive oil, for frying

Method

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre, then gradually whisk in the liquids until the batter is well combined.
  2. Cover the batter with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave to rest for at least an hour.  The batter can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator.  Leaving it overnight actually helps the flavour to develop.
  3. Once ready to cook the batter, give it a final whisk.  Brush the bottom of a frying pan (griddle) with oil and heat on a medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, pour in a ladleful of batter and swirl the pan to cover the bottom in a thin layer of batter.  Cook the oatcake for 2-3 minutes, until the surface has a dry appearance and is covered in holes.  Flip the oatcake and cook for a further 2 minutes, until a golden brown colour.  If possible, cook the oatcakes in two frying pans to cut down on cooking time. 
  4. These oatcakes are delicious served with a savoury or sweet filling.  Our favourite filling is strawberry fruit spread and, when available, a sprinkling of fresh strawberries.  I also mix a little hemp seed oil or walnut oil in with the fruit spread to give the breakfast an omega-3 boost.
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