Oatcakes were an alternative to bread in Scotland for centuries, and, still very much enjoyed there. Oats are one of the only grains that grow in Northern parts of Scotland, so it makes perfect sense that it would have been a staple food in times past.
Traditionally made with oatmeal, oatcakes are a crunchy, cracker-like flatbread baked in the oven, not to be confused with Staffordshire Oatcakes, which are soft, not crunchy and used more like a wrap (check out my recipe for Staffordshire Oatcakes HERE).
One of the things I love about oatcakes is that they are excellent if you are on a budget. In their most simple form, they are made with oats, salt and water. My recipe also brings in sunflower seeds (one of the least expensive and most abundant seeds available). They are also very tasty, moorish and full of super healthy goodness. What’s not to love!
Everybody seems to love oatcakes. They can be made gluten-free if you want to avoid gluten (gluten-free oats simply means that the oats have not been processed in a plant that processes gluten grains and have not been harvested from a field that is contaminated with wheat, barley, rye etc).
You can read more about what gluten-free oats are here: Are oats gluten-free or not?
Scottish oatcakes are pretty easy to make. You will need to grind down your oats and seeds to make flour (either a fine or a rustic meal/flour is fine). A simple food processor, nut mill, magic/nutri-bullet or blender works fine to blend the ingredients down.
The next important part is getting the water ratio right. This varies from batch to batch. I measure 200ml of water in a measuring jug and use a little less than 150ml (three-quarters of it) to start with (and have the rest on hand just in case dough is too dry after adding the water).
You need to get a dough that pulls together firmly. If it sticks to your hands, then it is too wet, in which case all you need to do is add a little more oat flour, until you get the right consistency. Please see my video below for an excellent visual guide on this.
Next, we need to roll it.
You simply sprinkle a bit of oat flour onto your clean worktop surface, making sure there is flour on the bottom and on top of the dough. Without flour, the dough may stick to the rolling pin or the worktop as you begin to roll it. If it sticks to the worktop, the just slide a knife, spatula or fish-slice under it, flip over and reapply the flour before continuing to roll.
If you don’t have a rolling pin, then you can use a large glass jar with a flat surface instead.
How to get circular shapes?
Getting circular oatcakes is easy – simply use a round cookie cutter. I didn’t have one available when I made the video, so I used a round-topped drinking glass. I also rolled a batch and cut into triangle shapes. See my video below to see what I mean here.
Cut into shapes, pop onto lightly oiled baking sheets and then put into a hot oven at 425F or 220C for 20 to 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them and be sure that they don’t get too over tanned or over baked.
Once baked, put them onto a cooling rack, allow to cool a little and enjoy immediately. Once cooled you can keep them in an airtight container for about a week.
Here is my video tutorial to show you all the ins and outs of making these Scottish Oatcakes, please watch this before you make them for a great visual guide…