👴 jdcard

Sourdough Oatcakes

The appeal of this recipe is that it describes small loaves of bread similar to dinner rolls, unlike the flatbreads produced using most other recipes -- and even more unlike the Rutherglen Sour Cakes described below. It also describes a lengthy process using natural sourdough, and offers a shortcut version using packaged yeast (or ale barm). The original instructions are confusing to me so this will be an attempt to untangle them in the hope of developing an oat-based dinner roll.

Ingredients

1 cup milk

1 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. sugar

1 Tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

6 cups Scottish oatmeal (oat flour)

1 packet of yeast - OPTIONAL

Instructions

1. Scald milk; add butter, sugar, salt, & cinnamon while still hot. Add 1 cup of water. If using yeast: mix yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water, then proof it by adding butter, sugar, milk, water, cinnamon and salt to the yeasty mixture. If it is active, it will froth up.

2-a. If using yeast: mix (3/4 cups?) yeast and water mixture with 6 cups Scottish oatmeal. (You can substitute 4 cups unbleached flour, 2 cups oatmeal if you don't have finely milled Scotch oatmeal.)

2-b. For the natural sourdough method, mix 1 cup plain butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, milk and water mixture with 1 cup oatmeal. Mix and put in warm place for 7-10 days, stirring daily. (If an alcoholic liquid forms on the top, pour it off.) The morning of the baking, add 1 1/2 tsp. sugar, dissolved in a little water, and 1 cup unbleached flour. The mixture should bubble and rise. Add the remaining (5 cups) oatmeal.

3. Knead for fifteen minutes; let rise until doubled.

4. Punch down; form into manchet sized rolls and let rise until almost doubled.

5. Bake in preheated 450º F oven for 10 minutes; reduce heat and bake at 350º F for about 10-15 minutes longer, or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.


Source

This recipe, with its confusing instructions, was originally found at

This receipt makes 20 2" by 2" cakes. Multiply by 5 for 100 cakes. They also freeze well. These are based on Rutherglen Sour Cakes; the sourdough is a period method of raising dough, but if your kitchen is not yeast-laden by frequent baking, substitute a cup of ale barm for every 50 oatcakes or 4 packages of dry yeast.

2 cups milk

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

Scald milk; add butter, sugar, salt, & cinnamon while still hot. Add 2 cups water (if adding barm or dry yeast) with the barm or yeast mingles with 1/2 cup of warm water. If using barm or yeast, proof it by adding butter, sugar, milk, water and salt to the yeasty mixture. If it is active, it will froth up.

In any case, mix 1 1/2 cups yeast and water mixture or 2 cups plain butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, milk and water mixture for the sourdough with 12 cups Scottish oatmeal for barm or yeast mixture. (You can substitute 8 cups unbleached flour, 4 cups oatmeal if you don't have finely milled Scotch oatmeal.) For the natural sourdough method, mix in 2 cups oatmeal. Mix and put in warm place for 7-10 days, stirring daily. (If an alcoholic liquid forms on the top, pour it off.) The morning of the baking, add 1 tbs. sugar, dissolved in a little water, and 2 cups unbleached flour. The mixture should bubble and rise. Add the remaining oatmeal.

Knead for fifteen minutes; let rise until doubled. Punch down; form into manchet sized rolls and let rise until almost doubled. Bake in preheated 450º F oven for 10 minutes; reduce heat and bake at 350º F for about 10-15 minutes longer, or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Oatcakes is featured in Auld Alliance Royal Feast

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

Judith Carr is an expert in Medieval baking and antique furniture restoration. An active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, she is known for her love of animals, especially cats.


Other sources

I was not able to find any other references to Judith Carr's oatcakes recipe to try to untangle the confusing parts of the text on godecookery.com. Judith's text does mention that her recipe was based on "Rutherglen Sour Cakes". I found only one "recipe" for this, by F. Marian McNeill, and it is lacking any detail about the proportions of ingredients.

F. Marian McNeill

Rutherglen Sour Cakes

Preparation info

Difficulty: Easy

Appears in

The Scots Kitchen

By F. Marian McNeill

Published 2015

A Special Cake at St. Luke’s Fair

Traditional Recipe, abbreviated from the ‘New Statistical Account of Scotland’, 1845

Ingredients

● oatmeal

● water

● sugar

● aniseed or cinnamon

Method

Eight or ten days before St. Luke’s Fair, a certain quantity of oatmeal was made into a dough with warm water and laid up in a vessel to ferment. Being brought to a proper degree of fermentation and consistency, it was rolled up into balls proportionable to the intended size of the cakes. With the dough there was commonly mixed a small quantity of sugar and a little aniseed or cinnamon. The cakes were beaten out until as thin as a piece of paper, and were toasted on a girdle.

1

The elaborate ritual with which these cakes were prepared, and which clearly derives from a pagan source, is fully described in the New Statistical Account (under Rutherglen), and in Vol. III of my own work, The Silver Bough.



Older sources

The "elaborate ritual" that Ms. McNeill mentions is described in some detail by Reverend David Ure in a book published in 1793.

The process reminds me a bit of making the bear stew for the McCleary Bear Festival. Even the hard work of preparation for a festival is cause for celebration as the community works together -- in effect, the party begins well before the party begins.

Reverend Ure's writing is presented here as it was printed: in two very long paragraphs.
    

Page 94

Another ancient custom, for the observance of which Rutherglen has long been famous, is the baking of "sour cakes". Some peculiar circumstances, attending the operation, render an account of the manner in which it is done, not altogether unnecessary. About eight or ten days before St. Luke's fair, (for they are baked at no other time of the year) a certain quantity of oatmeal is made into dough, with warm water and laid up in a vessel to ferment. Being brought to a proper degree of fermentation and consistency, it is rolled up into balls, proportionable to the intended largeness of the cakes. With the dough is commonly mixed a small quantity of sugar, and a little anise seed or cinnamon. The baking is executed by women only; and they seldom begin their work till after sun-set, and a night or two before the fair. A large space of the house, chosen for the purpose, is marked out by a line drawn upon it. The area within is considered as consecrated ground: and is not, by any of the by-standers, to be touched with impunity. A transgression incurs a small fine, which is always laid out on drink for the use of the company. This hallowed spot is occupied by six or eight women, all of whom, except the toaster, seat themselves on the ground, in a circular figure, having their feet turned towards the fire. Each of them is provided with a bake-board, about two feet square, which they hold on their knees. The woman who toasts the cakes, which is done on a girdle suspended over the fire, is called the Queen, or Bride; and the rest are called her maidens. These are distinguished from one another, by names given them for the occasion. She who sits next the fire, towards the east, is called the "Todler": her companion on the left hand is called the "Hodler";* and the rest have arbitrary names given them by the bride, as Mrs. Baker, best and worst maids, &c. The operation is begun by the todler, who takes a ball of dough, forms it into a small cake, and then casts it on the bake-board of the hodler, who beats it out a little thinner. This being done, she, in her turn, throws on the board of her neighbour; and thus it goes round from east to west, in the direction of the course of the fun, until it comes to the toaster, by which time it is as thin and smooth as a piece of paper. The first cake that is cast on the girdle is usually named as a gift to some well known cuckold, from a superstitious opinion, that thereby the rest will be preserved from mischance. Sometimes the cake is so thin as to be carried, by the current of air, up into the chimney. As the baking is wholly performed by the hand, a great deal of noise is the consequence. The beats, however, are not irregular, nor destitute of an agreeable harmony; especially when they are accompanied with vocal music, which is frequently the case. Great dexterity is necessary, not only to beat out the cakes, with no other instrument than the hand, so that no part of them shall be thicker than another; but especially to cast them from one board on another, without ruffling them or breaking them. The toasting requires considerable skill: for which reason the most experienced person in the company is chosen for that part of the work. One cake is sent round in quick succession to another, so that none of the company is suffered to be idle. The whole is a scene of activity, mirth, and diversion; and might afford an excellent subject for a picture.

* These names are descriptive of the manner in which the women, so called, perform their part of the work. To todle, is to walk or move slowly like a child. To hodle, is to walk or move more quickly.

Page 96

As there is no account, even by tradition itself, concerning the origin of this custom, it must be very ancient. The bread thus baked was, doubtless, never intended for common use. It is not easy to conceive why mankind, especially in a rude age, would strictly observe so many ceremonies, and be at so great pains in making a cake, which, when folded together, makes but a scanty mouthful. Besides, it is always given away in presents to strangers, who frequent the fair. The custom seems to have been originally derived from Paganism, and to contain not a few of the sacred rites peculiar to that impure religion: as the leavened dough, and the mixing it with sugar and spices; the consecrated ground, &c. &c. But the particular deity, for whose honour these cakes were first made, is not, perhaps, easy to determine. Probably it was no other than the one known in scripture, Jer, vii. 18. by the name of "the queen of heaven", and to whom cakes were likewise kneaded by women.

Notes

Jeremiah 7:18 - Children are gathering firewood, fathers are building fires with it, and women are mixing dough to bake cakes to offer to the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just to trouble me. (NET)

St. Luke's day: October 18th

See also:


Another item mentioned in connection with Ms. McNeill's recipe is "The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)". This document comprises 15 volumes of text, which have been scanned and made available by Google.

The portion describing Rutherglen Sour Cakes begins at page 400 of the PDF file -- which presents an image of the printed page numbered "383" -- and extends to page 402 in this file:

The account recorded in "The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)" appears to be largely the same as Reverend Ure's text.


©2023 🅭🅯🄏🄎 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

🌐 jdcard.tilde.team

Search this site at marginalia.nu