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 Burns 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 🙂
Scottish oatcakes
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Scottish Oatcakes Recipe

Bake up this easy oat-based treat, delicious with many savoury toppings or to serve with your Burns Night Supper!

Ingredients

Ingredients to make about 15 oatcakes

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

Instructions

How to make Scottish oatcakes

  • Heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to form the slightly sticky oatcake mixture.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gently transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, mix well, cover with a lid and leave to rest at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

Toasted seed soaker

  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 50g oats
  • 50g flaxseed
  • 200g cracked whole rye
  • 8g salt
  • 400g boiling water (the cracked rye doesn’t soften easily with cold water, so boiling water is recommended)

Toast the sunflower seeds and oats in a non-stick frying pan. Turn them often and watch the seeds and oats closely to avoid burning. Combine the toasted seeds and oats, the flaxseed and cracked whole rye in a  bowl, add the salt and the boiling water. Mix well, cover with a lid and leave to rest for 16 – 24 hours.

1 hour before preparing the final dough

Boiled rye berries

  • 65g whole rye berries

Place the rye berries in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and continue for about 45 minutes. Top up with more water if needed. Using a sieve, discard any remaining water. Leave to cool.

Preparing the final dough

  • 500g rye flour
  • 200g strong white wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp malted flour
  • 435g water
  • 22g salt
  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!

Best chia seed bread recipes

 

Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium and fibre, chia seeds are all the nutritious rage at the moment. I’ve been crunchifying chia seeds in my home-baked granola for a while – the best breakfast! – and recently also started working on a chia seed bread recipe. Using chia seeds in baking is a great way of integrating these little nutri-bombs into your diet and while the seeds won’t add much in terms of taste, your breakfast slice of high-energy chia bread will certainly keep you going for longer.

Chia Seed Bread
Chia Seed Bread, baked in La Cloche baking dome

My picks of the best chia bread recipes

Here are the top 5 recipes from across the web for using chia seeds in bread baking.

  1. Buckwheat & chia bread (a gluten free option) by Thehealthychef.com
  2. A life-changing loaf (muesli in a loaf) by My New Roots
  3. A simple chia crispbread by Nyoutritious
  4. A wonderful apple-blueberry-chia sourdough loaf by Bread & Companatico
  5. My own recipe for an easy and very tasty chia seed loaf with rye flour and rye flakes (see below)




Chia Seed Bread Recipe

Here is my own chia seed bread recipe which I have been using now for several years – and it still is one of my very best recipes, perfect for a nutrient-rich slice of breakfast goodness.

Chia Seed Bread
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Chia Seed Bread Recipe

My recipe adds chia seeds into the bread dough by preparing a chia gel (combining chia seeds and water). This chia gel retains water and keeps the bread nice and moist once baked.

Ingredients

Chia bread ingredients

  • 275 g white bread flour
  • 175 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 75 g rye flakes you can also use oat flakes, toasted
  • 9 g salt
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 50 g chia seeds
  • 415 g water 300g to make the chia gel and the remaining 115g to be added to the main dough

Instructions

How to make chia bread

  • In a medium bowl, combine 300g of the water with the chia seeds and stir. Immediately, the chia seeds will start absorbing the liquid and within 30 minutes you will have a thick gelatinous liquid. This chia gel will help keep the bread moist.
  • While the chia gel is maturing, combine the flours, rye flakes, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
  • Add the chia gel and the remaining water (115g).
  • Knead for 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a lid. Rest for about an hour at room temperature.
  • Deflate the dough and shape into a round loaf on a lightly floured work surface.
  • Prepare a proofing basket and place the loaf into the floured basket for its second rise. Cover with a polythene bag to keep the moisture in. Depending on the temperature in your room, the second proof may take approx. 1 or 2 hours. The fully proofed loaf will have expanded significantly.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C for about 20 minutes.
  • Turn out the loaf onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or onto the preheated La Cloche baking dome (as I did for the loaf in my photo).
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 220°C before decreasing the temperature to 200°C and bake for another 45 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
Chia Seed Gel
Chia Seed Gel

And if you really don’t fancy baking chia seed bread yourself despite all these great recipes, I would recommend to buy this organic chia and flax seed rye bread from Biona. It tastes fantastic and ticks a lot of nutritional boxes.

Best Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

 

One of my recent visits to Ireland brought me to The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore and, oh my, they do good brown bread there. Luckily, I found the recipe in The Cliff House Hotel Cookbook: Granny McGrath’s Brown Irish Soda Bread.

Some of the ingredients were rather hard to find in the UK (they are more readily available in Ireland) but I did succeed and found what I needed.

The recipe is fantastic. There is no doubt, this is the real deal.

Slice of Irish Brown Soda Bread
Look at that. What a beauty!

Brown Irish Soda Bread Recipe

A beautiful recipe for brown Irish wholemeal soda bread.

Ingredients (for 1 loaf)

  • 350g coarse wholemeal flour
  • 150g fine wholemeal flour
  • 100g wheatgerm
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 100g bran
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 735g buttermilk
Brown Soda Bread Flour Wheatgerm Bran
Brown Soda Bread Ingredients (from top left clockwise): Fine Wholemeal Flour, Coarse Wholemeal Flour, Wheatgerm, Bran

How to make brown bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C
  2. Grease a large baking tin
  3. Thoroughly combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  4. Add the buttermilk and beaten eggs
  5. Mix (best to use your hands) to quickly combine all the ingredients. The dough will need only the minimum amount of handling. Kneading the dough is unnecessary and would in fact toughen the bread.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes
  7. Remove the bread from the tin and put back in upside down
  8. Bake for a further 10 minutes
  9. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack

Enjoy! I have also got a delicious recipe for a traditional white soda bread if you are looking for a more simplistic soda bread loaf.

Recipe for sourdough bread with rolled (jumbo) oats

 

I usually use jumbo oats when making granola but they also make a loaf of bread nice and wholesome.

Sourdough bread with rolled oats - check out that moist & chewy look!
Sourdough bread with rolled oats – check out that moist & chewy look!

Rolled oats are oat groats (hulled whole grains) that have been rolled into flakes, steamed and lightly toasted.

Rolled jumbo oats before toasting and soaking
Rolled jumbo oats before toasting and soaking

Note that the oats, although quite sizeable, will ‘disappear’ and completely blend into the finished loaf.

The day before baking

For the sourdough

  • 160g wholewheat flour
  • 200g spring water
  • 3 tbsp wheat sourdough starter from the fridge

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and cover with cling film for 16 – 24 hours.

For the soaked rolled oats

  • 80g rolled (jumbo) oats
  • 220g boiling water

Toast the jumbo oats in a frying pan (no oil) for the nutty flavour to come out. Pour the boiling water over the oats and cover with cling film for 16 – 24 hours.

The day of baking

  • Sourdough (as above)
  • Soaked rolled oats (as above)
  • 350g strong wheat flour
  • 100g rye flour
  • 180g water, lukewarm
  • 4g dried yeast
  • 14g salt

How to make it

  1. Add all ingredients in a large bowl to form the dough, then knead for 10 minutes on a clean surface.
  2. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes; cover the dough ball with the bowl you used to mix the ingredients.
  3. After 30 minutes, fold the dough like an envelope. First squeeze out the air of the slightly risen dough and shape into a rectangular shape. Fold all four corners into the middle, squeeze together, then around to repeat the process another two times.
  4. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Fold again.
  6. Rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Fold again.
  8. Rest for 1 hour.
  9. Fold the dough into a round baton shape.
  10. Place into a very well floured proving basket and cover with a kitchen towel. If you don’t have a proving basket, you can just flour your kitchen towel and wrap the dough up tightly.
  11. Rest for 1 hour.
  12. After 1/2 hour preheat the oven to 250°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  13. Once the full hour is up (and the dough has doubled in size), carefully turn out the dough onto the baking tray.
  14. Make a few incisions at the top for a good-looking crust and place the tray in the lower half of your oven.
  15. Initially bake for 15 minutes at 250°C until the dough has browned well.
  16. Then reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 35 minutes.
  17. Make sure the bread is fully baked – it should sound hollow when you tap the base of the bread or in more scientific terms, the core temperature of the bread should have reached at least 93°C.
  18. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
What a lovely loaf - bread 'infused' with rolled toasted oats
What a lovely loaf – bread ‘infused’ with rolled toasted oats

And here’s my husband’s review I asked him to write 🙂

“The bouncy texture and nutty aroma just scream out EAT ME! Love it with butter, a generous dollop of strawberry jam and a cup of tea to kick-start my mornings.”