Best Scottish oatcakes recipe

 

Do I like oatcakes? Until recently I was unconvinced. Oatcakes conjured up dull images of half eaten packets of stale oat crackers at the back of our snack cupboard. In my mind, they had always been much less appealing than other crispbreads. I guess I’m more of a rye girl! But… there has been a revelation. Try this homemade Scottish oatcakes recipe for a taste of oats at their best.

Scottish oatcakes
Scottish oatcakes

Prompted by an invite to a Burn’s Night Supper, I decided to bake a batch of homemade oatcakes to bring to the party. They turned out to be crunchy, tasty and altogether more elemental than the shop-bought oatcakes I’d tasted previously.

“Hear, Land o’ Cakes and brither Scots”.
On the Late Captain Grose’s Peregrinations Thro’ Scotland – by Robert Burns

Scottish oatcakes recipe

I opted to work with pinhead oats (whole oats cut into two or three pieces), fine oatmeal and porridge oats to produce a smooth textured yet substantial tasting oatcake. Replace fine with medium oatmeal if you prefer a more rugged looking oatcake.

Oatcakes for Burns Night Supper
Oatcakes for Burns Night Supper

Oatcake lovers, and oatcake doubters, try this easy recipe for wonderfully rustic oatcakes, using just oats (no other grains) and no raising agent.

Homemade oatcakes
Homemade oatcakes – smooth in texture, substantial in taste 🙂

Ingredients to make about 15 oatcakes

  • 150g pinhead oats
  • 125g fine oatmeal (plus extra for dusting)
  • 45g porridge oats
  • 8g salt
  • 10g brown sugar
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 70g water

How to make Scottish oatcakes

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to form the slightly sticky oatcake mixture.
  4. Use fine oatmeal to lightly flour your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking, then flatten the dough with your hand before rolling it to approx. 4 mm thickness with a floured rolling pin.
  5. Using a cookie cutter (I used a 7.5 mm cutter), cut out rounds of even thickness and carefully lift each oatcake onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. I use a dough scraper to help with the lifting.
  6. If you have to bake the oatcakes in batches, make sure you mix together the leftover dough (use a tiny bit of extra water if it’s gone a bit dry), storing it in a covered plastic bowl to prevent it from drying out while the other batch is baking.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then  carefully turn the oatcakes over and bake for 5 or 10 more minutes on the other side until they feel hard and dry on both sides. Prevent the oatcakes’ edges from catching by moving them around a bit after 10 minutes.
  8. Gently transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. The oatcakes are delicious and tender but sturdy enough for any topping!

Danish seeded rye bread with malted flour

 

This month’s theme for the #TwelveLoaves bakers is Malt. I have previously used malt extract for dark wholemeal breads to add flavour and as a source of sugar for the yeast. However, with malt taking centre stage this month, I wanted to do more and decided to home-malt rye grains to make my own malted flour.

Malt is created when simple grains such as rye, barley or wheat are left to germinate and sprout. When this happens, active enzymes in the grain convert the starch into a simple sugar called maltose. If the grain is then dried and toasted, the maltose darkens in colour and takes on a complex, rich caramel flavour.

In this post, I’ll show how I made malted flour at home and then used it to bake a delicious Danish rye bread loaf.

Malted rye bread
Malted, seeded rye bread

How to make malted flour at home?

  1. Germinate a handful of grains such as rye, barley or wheat – I used a germinator to do this. The process takes about 2 – 4 days depending on the temperature in your room. Germinate until the shoot is about the length of the seed itself.
  2. Dry the sprouted grains by laying them out on kitchen paper and leaving them to dry at room temperature for 12 hours. Move the air-dried grains onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and roast at a low temperature (50 – 75°C) for 2 to 3 hours. Drying the grains halts the germination process but the temperature at which the grains are roasted is important.
    • Lightly roasting the grains at a low temperature (as above) ensures that the the flour remains ‘diastatic’ i.e. the malted flour will still contain considerable enzyme activity to increase the extraction of sugars from the flours for use as food during the fermentation process, yielding a strong rise, great oven-spring and increased crust-browning.
    • More heavily roasted grains result in a much darker flour but the enzyme activity is destroyed. Flour made from such grains are used for purely for colour and flavour.
  3. Grind the sprouted and dried grains into flour. Very finely ground malted flour can sometimes also be referred to as malt powder.
Malted rye grains
Malted rye grains

And here we have it! Malted flour i.e. flour ground from sprouted, dried and roasted grains.

Rye, malted rye grains, malted rye flour
Rye berries; Malted rye grains; Malted rye flour

In bread baking, malt ingredients are used in small quantities (around 1% diastatic malt flour as a % of overall flour used) while for sweet malt bakes (e.g. for malt loaves, malted cookies and malted chocolate tarts) generous quantities of malt extract and malt flour are used to achieve the distinctive flavour, colour and stickiness.

Malted rye slice
Danish malted, seeded rye slice

How to bake Danish seeded rye bread with malted flour

16 – 24 hours before preparing the final dough

Sourdough

Combine the starter, flours and water in a bowl, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

Toasted seed soaker

  • 100g sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 50g flaxseeds, toasted
  • 50g oats, toasted
  • 200g cracked whole rye
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 400g boiling water (the cracked rye doesn’t soften easily with cold water, so boiling water is recommended)

Combine the toasted seeds, oats and the cracked whole rye in a bowl, add the salt and the boiling water. Mix, cover and leave to rest for 16 – 24 hours.

1 hour before preparing the final dough

Boiled rye berries

  • 65g whole rye berries
  • 100g water

In a small pan, add the rye berries and cold water. Bring to boil and continue until the liquid has been absorbed. Leave to cool.

Preparing the final dough

  • 500g rye flour
  • 200g strong white wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp malted flour
  • 600g water
  • 24g salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  1. Combine 400g of the sourdough, the toasted seed and oat mix, the boiled rye berries and the final dough ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix with your hands – you won’t be able to knead the dough as it’s too sticky.
  3. Cover the bowl and leave the mixture to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Butter a large loaf tin (I used a tin 33 x 10 x 10 cm).
  5. Give the dough mixture another good mix with your hands.
  6. Move the dough into the loaf tin and spread evenly. Cover the loaf tin and place the dough in the fridge overnight (approx. 12 hours).
  7. Remove the tin from the fridge for approx. 1 hour before baking to bring the dough back to room temperature.
  8. Bake for 15 mins at 250°C and for a further 50 mins at 200°C.

Danish malted rye bread

Perfectly delicious with just butter, with all types of strong cheeses, all salty food as well as pickled or smoked fish.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Heather from girlichef, and our theme is Malt. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Jewish Breads!

If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Malt Bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!