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Traditional Scottish Recipe - Bannocks

These are traditionally eaten on May Day in Scotland

Eat on the same day as baking.

The quantities below will be enough for two bannocks about the size of a dessert plate. If you want more, do them in batches rather than making larger quantities of mixture. Store in a tin and reheat in a moderate oven when required.

Ingredients (Makes about two large bannocks)

4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
2 teaspoons melted fat (bacon fat, if available)
2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda (bicarb)
Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoon hot water
Oatmeal for kneading


  1. Mix the oatmeal, salt and bicarb and pour the melted fat into the centre of the mixture.
  2. Stir well, using a porridge stick (spurtle) if you have one and add enough water to form a stiff dough.
  3. Cover a surface in oatmeal and place the mixture onto this.
  4. Work quickly as the dough is difficult to work if it cools.
  5. Split the dough into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking to your fingers.
  6. Roll out to around quarter inch thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the flattened mixture and cut round to leave a circular oatcake.
  7. Cut into quarters (also called farls) and place into a lightly-greased, heated pan.
  8. Cook for about three minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side.
  9. Get the other oatcake while the first is cooking.
  10. Serve warm with jam.


To knead: To work a dough by hand, using a folding-back and pressing-forward motion.

To mix: To beat or stir food ingredients together until they are combined.

To roll out: To reduce the thickness of pastry or dough by applying equal pressure with a rolling pin.

To stir: To agitate an ingredient or a number of ingredients using a hand held tool such as a spoon.

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