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Oatcakes with Yeast

I've refined this recipe some; when I want plain yeasted oatcakes now I use the Date Cranberry Oatcakes recipe and just omit the fruit, spices, and honey. It is easier to make, but does include wheat flour.

Ingredients

Instructions

1. Measure 330 g rolled oats into mixing bowl, add 380 g water; set aside to allow the oats to soak up the water, stir occasionally.

2. While the oats are soaking, mix yeast with about 80 g warm water; set aside and let it rest for several minutes.

3. While the oats are soaking and the yeast mixture is resting, put 240 g rolled oats and the cinnamon into a food processor or blender and process until the oats are ground fine like flour. Set aside.

4. Add the 60 g oil and 60 g honey to the soaked oats in the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

5. Add the yeast mixture to the oats in the mixing bowl and stir well.

6. Add the oat flour with cinnamon from the food processor into the mixing bowl. Stir well to make a ball of stiff, sticky dough.

7. Add the 30 g dry rolled oats to the mixing bowl and mix the dough until all the dry oat flakes are incorporated into the dough. This step makes the dough less sticky and leaves a few bits of whole oats in the dough to add some texture.

8. Place the dough on a 12-inch round baking stone. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out flat leaving just a small margin along the edge of the dough all around the baking stone.

9. Use a knife to slice the dough into wedges or bars. The dough will still be slightly sticky, so you'll probably need to wash the edge of the knife after making each cut before beginning the next cut.

10. Set the baking stone with the dough on it in a warm place, cover it with a kitchen towel to help keep it warm and prevent the dough from drying out. Let it rest for several hours to let the yeast work its magic. The dough may expand slightly, but do not expect to see the dough puff up like when baking with wheat flour, there is not enough gluten in the oats to form the air pockets that wheat bread develops.

11. Bake at 350℉ for 65 minutes; after 30 minutes turn the baking stone around halfway so the front side is toward the back of the oven so your bread bakes more evenly.

12. Store immediately (while still hot) into airtight storage containers; this helps retain the moisture so the bread doesn't dry out too much.

Notes

I like to store these oatcakes in the freezer. I find that I like both the taste and the texture slightly more after they have been frozen, surprisingly, even compared to eating them still warm from the oven.

Serve warm by heating in a microwave oven on low power (20%) for about 2-3 minutes from frozen or for about 1-2 minutes from room temperature for a 100 gram serving. Trying to heat bread quickly in the microwave using its full-power setting is likely to result in bread with an undesirable rubbery tough texture -- but, it will be hot.

Oat Bread

To make a loaf of oat bread, rather than the flatbread oatcakes, change step 8 above by shaping the dough and placing it in a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Skip step 9 and let the dough rest in a warm place to continue the process at step 10.

I baked the loaf until it reached an internal temperature of 200℉ (it had started at 90℉), which took about 70 minutes. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container; it should keep for about 3 days at room temperature, or for a week or more if refrigerated. As expected, the loaf was dense but the crumb was soft, and the flavor mild and nutty as is typical of oats.

Rustic Oatcakes

Though this recipe as written above might well be described as a rustic form of bread, there is an even simpler version described by George MacDonald in his book "Sir Gibbie":

Nothing but oatmeal made into a dough with cold water and dried over the fire.

For this version omit all but the first two ingredients, but follow the same method: soak the whole rolled oats for a while, grind up some oat flour to mix in, and then add a few dry whole rolled oats at the end to reduce stickiness and make the dough more manageable. Increase the amount of water to 500 grams because the oil and honey are missing.

This results in a very dense and chewy -- some might even describe it as "tough" -- cake. It is indeed quite durable and withstands the rigors of transport and other indignities quite well. It is not my favorite form of oatcakes, but definitely tastes like oats (of course!) and is not totally unpleasant to eat. Survival food.

Adapted from the "House Barra" and the "All Oats" recipes

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