Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tried and True - Oat cakes

Oatcakes are easy to make

I made my first graham crackers about 32 years ago, for my oldest son who was then a baby.  That was probably the beginning of my lifelong interest in learning how to get off the processed industrial food train.  I didn't start because of any political agenda on my part.  I don't think the idea of organic food was even on my radar at the time.  I just liked how homemade food tasted.  I knew it was better because I knew what went into it.  And I liked the idea of saving money.

Anyway, I have come a long way when it comes to do it yourself food.  We make our own ketchup, mustard, pickles, horseradish, jam, sausage, pancetta, chutney, yogurt, salad dressing and creme fraiche.  And crackers.  I hardly ever buy store bought crackers anymore.  It is so easy to make them at home and they really do taste better.

I have tried many cracker recipes and I keep coming back to oatcakes. These are ubiquitous in Scotland and come in different sizes and shapes and thicknesses.  I have to admit I have never eaten a true Scottish oatcake.   I have never been to Scotland.  I did feed my oatcakes to Phil Cunningham (a wonderful Scottish musician - famous in Scotland at least) when he stayed with us one time.  He pronounced them good.  So these oatcakes have the Phil Cunningham seal of approval.

This recipe is adapted from the Time-Life Cookbooks of the World British Isles cookbook.  It makes 32 wedges.  You can eat them plain, with butter, peanut butter, jam, honey or cheese.  You can eat them for breakfast or a snack.  You can eat them with soup for lunch or a salad for dinner.   If these become a staple in your house,  just think of all the money you will save because you don't have to buy crackers.  Then you will be able to afford expensive cheese.  (Ritz crackers with Velveeta cheese are part of my past and might even occasionally be part of my future.  But I believe in diversity in all things.  So oatcakes and Stilton are part of my life too.)

Oatcakes - see below for step by step pictures.  These are very quick and easy once you get the hang of it.
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats  (plus some extra oats for rolling)
1 t. salt
1 T. walnut oil or melted butter or lard
3/4 cup water, room temperature

Process the oats in a food processor until they look like coarse flour.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until a dough is formed.  This is the only tricky part.  You want the dough damp enough to stick together but not overly sticky.  With a little practice you will get this right.
Gather the dough together in a ball.  Cut into four pieces and form each piece into a flat round.  Roll each piece about 1/8 inch thick, using whole oats to keep it from sticking.  Cut each piece into 8 pieces with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.  Place wedges on a baking sheet (ungreased) - parchment paper is optional.  Bake in a 375 degree oven 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Store in a covered container.  These can be frozen if you will not be using them within a week or so.


  1. I would love to know how you make your sausage! Can you post on that?

  2. I finally got around to making these. They are tasty but a little salty for my preference. Would lowering the amount of salt be okay or is it needed in the baking process?


  3. Morgan you can absolutely lower the salt. Should not have any effect on the baking "chemistry".