Staffordshire Oatcakes

Staying with the theme of the approach of Lent, these would work very successfully as a variation on a theme for pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. These oatcakes are little known outside of the county and indeed, are facing difficult times at home. It is believed that the Staffordshire Oatcake has its origins back in the 17th century when it was an important part of the diet for workers in the potteries. Traditionally it is cooked on a large flat stone and served with cheese, bacon or other ingredients that give you either a warming breakfast or an easy carry away lunch.

Oatcake shops were often set up in the front room of a house and the oatcakes sold through the open front window. Sadly, there is now only one surviving ‘Hole in the wall’ shop, which over past years has been supported by many petitions to keep it open. It being situated in an area where the terraces are being demolished (all in the name of progress!). As far as I can make out it is still hanging on, and long may it do so.

These oatcakes make a substantial snack being a cross between a pancake and a plate sized crumpet. We tried ours with bananas, and also simply spread with butter and my home made damson and sloe gin jelly.

Ingredients - makes about 4

8fl oz warm milk 4oz plain flour
8fl oz warm water ½ teaspoon salt
4oz fine oatmeal (you can make this yourself by blitzing porridge oats in a food processor)  
½ teaspoon sugar ¼ - ½ oz fresh yeast


  1. Mix together the warm water and milk.
  2. Mix the flour, oatmeal and salt into a large mixing jug (or bowl).
  3. Cream the yeast with about a quarter of the warm milk and water and mix in the sugar.
  4. Mix the yeast mixture into the flour, oatmeal and salt mixture.
  5. Gradually mix in the rest of the milk and water until you have a batter.
  6. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for about an hour (make sure your jug/bowl is big enough for the mixture to almost double in size).
  7. Butter a frying pan and when warm pour in a quarter of the mixture and cook until the surface look dry (approx 2 - 3 mins), turn and cook other side for 2 - 3 mins. Re-butter the pan before cooking each oatcake.
  8. Although these oatcakes can be cooked in advance (frozen, or in an airtight container for up to 4 days) they really are best savoured hot and fresh. The chances of keeping any in an airtight container in our household are pretty slim!

So that’s my store cupboard cleared for lent.



Porrage Oats