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oatcakes-msg – 9/5/09

 

Period oatcakes.

 

NOTE: See also the files: bread-msg, flour-msg, brd-mk-flat-msg, grains-msg, Scotland-msg, fd-Scotland-msg, utensils-msg, ovens-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: shafer at ferhino.dfrc.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer)

Subject: Re: bread (was Re: meadmaking help.....)

Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 04:10:41 GMT

 

Elizabeth David, in her book "English Bread and Yeast Cookery", has a

chapter titled "Manchets and Mayn and Payndemayn", which includes the

recipe posted about two messages back from this, plus one from Gervase

Markham, "The English Hus-wife", 1615, and a modern version.  (Mostly

scaled down, since the posted recipe wanted half a bushel of flour and

David notes that a bushel was 56 to 60 lb, which makes somewhat more

bread than many of us are interested in).  Scattered throughout the

book are information about how bread was cut in c. 1508 (from "the

Boke of Kervynge) and a number of period and near-period recipes

(Kendal Oatcakes from 1698, for example).

 

If you want to know everything to know about English bread and yeast

cookery, buy this book.  It's really excellent--it tells you

everything from which stone to use in your mill onward. It's in print

in a US version and is ISBN 0-9643600-0-4 (the original, British

edition has a different ISBN).  Even if you never bake a single thing

from it, you'll enjoy reading it and you'll learn a lot from it.

 

This book finally explained to me why English supermarket white bread

is so dreadful (even worse than Wonder Bread)--it contains, quite

legally, a great deal more water than does its US counterpart.

--

Mary Shafer                                              

SR-71 Chief Engineer   NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA

shafer at ferhino.dfrc.nasa.gov  

http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 21:55:10 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - oat recipe

 

L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt wrote:

> While these are not documented recipes, Cheese and other food was potted in

> late period, and oatcakes are so simple to make that I am unaware of an

> historical example of their recipe, although I have read accounts of their

> existence.  Somewhere on a disc in Word Perfect I have a paper about

> Scottish food. It's such an old version that my 'puter can't interpret it

> now. Sigh.

 

Aoife, check out Giulielma Penn's Receipt Book. I believe she died in

1694. There's a recipe in there for Oatcakes (two, actually) that may

predate her marriage to William Penn bt a generation or two, which would

make it nominally acceptable as period, more or less. This version is

more like a North English havercake, though. Flat and thin but made from

a batter of pats and spring water. Maybe some salt. Kinda like a cross

between dog biscuits and matzoh. Actually, quite good, especially with

Slipcote cheese. The T.I. article I did a couple of years ago on

preserved travel foods, "The Pilgrim's Picninc Basket", is webbed at

this URL, and has a redaction:

 

http://www.adelphi.edu/~sbloch/sca/cooking/ppb.html#oatcakes

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 09:17:35 -0400

From: "LHG, JRG" <liontamr at ptd.net>

Subject: SC - Lindow Man's Last Meal

 

Hallo!

I am no longer recieving the list, but thought I'd pass this along anyway.

I have been working on an event menu from the time of Colum Cille (St.

Columba, or approx 500 AD) . Here are my bread choices thus far. I hope you

enjoy them. Send any comments directly to me in addition to the list, since

I cannot otherwise read them.

 

Aoife

_______

 

Oatcakes--sadly, like raised bread recipes, this one was undoubtedly the

'No Brainer' cooks felt no need to write down, particularly in Early Celtic

Society,  where no early cookbooks survive or were probably ever written.

In fact, the earliest published Scottish Cookbook (Mrs. McClintock's

Receipt Book for Cookery and Pastry Work, pub. 1736, and again by Aberdeen

University Press. 1986) contains an oat-recipe (oat-meal pudding) but no

oat-bread. In fact, the only bread recipe it contains is for French Bread!

Following the oatcakes recipe is the product of several experiments to

discover if the addition of rye and wheat flour improve the oatcake, making

something similar to Lindow Man's Last Meal.

 

Based on the recipe in Recipes from the Country Kitchen (see bibliography)

 

"One of the first people to hear about the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie

at the battle of Culloden, in 1746, was an old woman living in a nearby

cottage. Immediately she took a small table, her griddle, and a bag of

oatmeal down to the  road. There, lighting a wood fire, she  set about

baking oatcakes, which she handed out the the Young Pretender's

soldiers...."

 

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes ((exactly as in the analysis of Lindow Man's last

meal))

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 F) ((see  Lindow Man's meal  again))

 

Ingredients for 4 oatcakes ( or farls)

 

8 ozs. fine oatmeal

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp melted butter or bacon fat (recommended)

1/4 pint boiling water

 

Mix all ingredients together, stirring very well to moisten. Turn out onto

a board dusted with rolled or whole oats, and lightly knead until it forms

a smooth ball (it will be hot!). Re-dust the board with oats as needed and

roll or pat thinly out into as neat a circle as can be made, mending breaks

as they occur. Cut this into 4 triangles (farls), or cut out rounds (cakes)

with a cutter. Transfer these to a baking sheet or stone. Bake in a

pre-heated oven 20 minutes or until pale fawn, or bake on a griddle or

bakestone, turning once when underside is speckled brown. Sprinkle

generously with salt while warm. Keep airtight if intended to be served

crisp.

 

Excerpts from The Life and Death of a Druid Prince, How the Discovery of

Lindow Man revealed the Secrets of a Lost Civilization, by Anne Ross and

Don Robbins.

"The remains of the cereal grain in Lindow Man's gut, recovered as bran and

some chaff, was shown to be a well-ground mixture of  some kind of

primitive wheat and rye with barley......

"Applying this technique to Lindow Man's last meal confirmed Gordon

Hillman's suspicions that the last meal had been a kind of bread. The

measured Temperature was close to 200 degrees Celsius, far too high for

cereal but consistent with baking. The team was able to go further than

that, however. They estimated that the heating time had been very short,

perhaps only a few minutes, and certainly not the hour or so that might be

necessary to cook porridge. ...

"....Thus the modern equivalent of the last meal would not be coarse whole

meal or even pumpernickel rye bread, but something much closer to the

traditional Scottish barley biscuit or oatcake. These can only be flat and

unleavened, for they are cooked, rather than baked, on a flat hot surface

for a short time, almost like a pancake with no appreciable gluten

content."

 

Lindow Man Cakes (copyright 1998 L. Herr-Gelatt)

 

There is really no way of knowing if  the marsh man's bread, as analyzed,

was ceremonial or not in nature. As flatbread of mixed grains were quite

commonplace, I would suspect that this was not the case. The ritual aspect

of his last meal lay in the branding of the cake, in my opinion. The burned

patch signaled his "lot", which was to end in human sacrifice. We have no

such sinister plans for our cakes, however! Here is my version, which is

quite tasty. It utilizes oats instead of Barley, since I have no access to

Barley flour and attempts to homegrind it have proved destructive to my

equipment. As oat content has been found in other archaeological bog-find

victim's last meals, I felt quit justified in doing so (Tollund man,

Grauballe Man (Denmark)). Additionally, since the grains would have been

hand-ground in a quern during that period, I have chosen to use modern

stone-ground products when possible.

 

1/4 cup plain fine oatmeal (not rolled oats, as Lindow man's bread

contained flour). If necessary, process the oats in a food processor to

make then very fine).

1/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour

1/2 cup stone ground rye flour

1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

3 tbsp bacon fat with crispy bits or butter, or combination of both

1/3 cup of boiling water, or more or less to mix.

Salt for sprinkling, if desired.

 

Mix together the flours and oatmeal, and the 1/2 tsp. salt if desired. Melt

the fats and mix with the boiling water. Pour most of this into the flour

mixture and mix well, adding more  as necessary to make a stiff and

somewhat crumbly dough. Knead the dough, which should become quite pliable,

using more of any of the above flours if desired (oats making a more

attractive exterior when cooked).

 

Pre-heat a dry griddle on medium flame. Pinch off a ball of dough the size

of a large walnut. Roll or press out on oat-covered board or between hands

to very thin pancake (alternately, shape as described in the oatcake

recipe, above). Repeat with 3 more balls to make 4 cakes. Place on the

griddle and cook 2-4 minutes per side. If griddle is too hot cakes will

begin to smoke. When cakes have large dark speckles, turn them and cook on

other side (2-4 minutes each side). When cooked and dry-looking, remove to

a plate and immediately sprinkle with salt if desired. These must stored in

an airtight container if  they are to be kept for any length of time.

 

This bread is perfect camp food, is extremely filling and tasty, and the

ingredients travel well and work well in combination with other dishes.

 

 

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 13:4559 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Oatcakes-- was Midrealm Coronation Lunch

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

david friedman wrote:

>> Oatcakes and  Barley Cakes, Assorted Breads and Manchets,

>>> Johnnae llyn Lewis

>>

> Do you have a period recipe for oatcakes? I have a conjectural one,

> based on Froissart's brief mention of teir use by scottish troopers,

> and would be interested to compare.

--------------------------

 

I actually turned up more descriptions than just the Froissart mention.

 

Alexander Fenton, among others, has documented the long association of

the Scottish herth with these characteristic flatbreads of oats and

barley. See Fenton, Alexander. “Hearth and kitchen: the Scottish

Example.” Food and Material Culture. [Proceedings of the Fourth

Symposium of the International Commission for Research into European

FoodHistory.] East Linton, Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 1998. pp. 29-47.

 

Brown, Catherine. Scottish Cookery. 1985. Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1999.

includes descriptions by C. Lowther dated 1629 from his diary "Our

Journal Into Scotland"  'Three Travellers in theBorders had oat bread

cakes, baked a fifth of an inch thick on a griddle...'. p. 6.

Brown also mentions an account by G. Buchanan titled Description of

Scotland which also mentions them. This was also dated 1629.

 

Neither Lowther or Buchanan turn up in th ESTC so I suspect they are

journals and were never published. Moryson, Fynes. An Itinerary Written

by Fynes Moryson Gent. from 1617 is available and they are mentioned in

there.

 

A quick read on the subject is Lockhart’s The Scots and Their Oats.

Althoug he’s talking about Yorkshire and not Scotland, Brears’ The

Gentlewoman’s Kitchen also includes a good account of regional hearth

breads. Brears includes a 1683 recipe for "To make thick Oat-cakes" that

contains no oats. It makes a thick cake that is simiar he says to the

cakes that can still be purchased in Yorkshire bakeries today.

 

There are a number of recipes-- all late. [The first Scottish cookbook

wasn't published until 1736.] The combination of just meal and water

made into a paste and baked with perhaps a bit of dripping wouldn't need

a recipe, per say. It's interesting to note that eventually there are

thick cakes mentioned along with a number of thin ones that are made in

a variety of ways. This is still to be found and Catherine Brown goes

into a number of these descriptions in her works.

 

Here are these recipes--

 

CXL. To Make Oak-Cakes.

 

Take fine Flower, and mix it very well with new Ale yeast, and make it

very stiff, then make it into little Cakes, and roul them very thin,

then lay them on a Iron to bake, or on a baking stone, and make but a

slow fire under it, and as they are baking, take them and turn the edges

of them round on the iron, that they may bake also, one quarter of an

hour will bake them; a little before you take them up, turn hem on the

other side, only to flat them; for if turn them too soon, it will hinder

the rising, the Iron or Stone whereon they are baked, must stand at

distance from the fire. pp. 260-261.

The queen-like closet; or, Rich cabinet stored with all manner of are

receipts for preserving, candying & cookery. Very pleasant and

beneficial to all ingenious persons of the female sex. By Hannah Wolley.

Publication date: 1670. The running title at the top of the page is:

The Ladies Cabinet, so I suspect that this recpe is found in her

earlier work as well. It's not on EEBO yet so I can't check it.

 

John Nott in his Cooks Dictionary of 1726 includes another recipe that

calls for the ale yeast, but it's not a copy of Wolley's.

 

There are also recipes or mentions in Thoas Tryon's  The good

house-wife made a doctor,of 1692.

where in CHAP. VI. he writes:

• ...  or less Egress and Regress; but the better way is to make it into

thin Cakes, like Oat-Cakes, and bake them on a Stone, which many in the

North of England  ..."

 

Mrkham mentioned them earlier in his chapter VI of The English

Housewife. "Of the excellency of Oates, and the many singular vertes and

vses of them in a family."

 

By 1688 Randle Holme in his The Academy of Armory, or, A Storehouse of

Armory and Blazon desribes them as: Oaten Cakes, are made of Oat meal,

and Leavened very well, and knodden flat and round, and Baked on a Back

Stone, of which there are 2 sorts, hard and soft." Found Page 294 of the

Book 3, Chapter 6.

 

Moffet's Healths Improvement also has soething to say about them, but I

won't copy that here as I shall have to look the text up again. He was

first published in 1655, but is believed to have written his manuscript

in the 1590's. [Beck thought 1594.] He died in 1604/1605.

 

Johnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 18:52:25 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Oatcakes-- was Midrealm Coronation Lunch

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> david friedman wrote:

>>>  Oatcakes and  Barley Cakes, Assorted Breads and Manchets,

>>> Johnnae llyn Lewis

>>>

>>  Do you have a period recipe for oatcakes? I have a conjectural one,

>>  based on Froissart's brief mention of their use by scottish troopers,

>>  and would be interested to compare.

> --------------------------

>

> I actually turned up more descriptions than just the Froissart mention.

 

> Hope this helps.

 

Thanks. Lots of interesting stuff.

 

My guess is that Froissart's oat cakes aren't raised, given the

constraints of what they are being used for. Just oatmeal, water and

salt gives a reasonably good result. But it would be nice if we could

find something more extensive earlier than the 17th c.

--

David/Cariadoc

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/

 

 

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 22:27:05 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Oatcakes-- was Midrealm Coronation Lunch

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Olive Geddes points out that the documents surviving for Scotland are

few and far between. We have all these incomplete household accounts and

records and no recipes. In terms of food history and records, the

country lags the rest of Europe. I have this feeling that she found it

easier to do her book on golf than to research the food history of

Scotland for The Laird's Kitchen Three Hundred Years of Food in Scotland

which she did for the National Library of Scotland and the HMSO.

 

I would think that the Froissart oatcakes are just meal and water and

baked by the fireside. But around a hearth and with access to yeast from

ale barm, there probably also grew up the "raised" or leavened cakes.

There seems to be a variance of opinion as to what quality of meal to

use as well as how thick to make the cakes.

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 00:05:31 -0700

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] oat cakes

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> Oat cakes ye say... that sounds interesting..

 

I have a conjectural recipe in the Miscellany,

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/miscellany_pdf/Miscellany.htm

 

near the end of the recipe section.

--

David/Cariadoc

www.daviddfriedman.com

 

 

Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 19:11:02 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Period-appropriate cookies and

        cookie-likesubstances....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Etain1263 at aol.com wrote:

> Does anyone have any documentation for

> medieval cooking of cakes on a griddle???

>

> Etain

 

Take a look at bakestones for those recipes.

My description from my Scottish Luncheon--

 

Oatcakes and Barley Cakes—

 

Alexander Fenton, among others, has documented the long association of

the Scottish hearth with these characteristic flatbreads of oats and

barley. Traditionally baked on a stone before the fire, they often don’t

bake as much as dry out before the fire. Even when the “stone” of a

bakestone gave way to an iron griddle surface, this manufactured iron

griddle may still be called a “bakestone.” I bought mine at Covent

Garden in 1984. Historical accounts date back to at least the 14th

century when Froissart recorded the making of oatcakes by Scottish

soldiers. The Earl’s Glasgow accounts mention them of course early in

the 17th century. A quick read on the subject is Lockhart’s The Scots

and Their Oats. Although he’s talking about Yorkshire and not Scotland,

Brears’ The Gentlewoman’s Kitchen also includes a good account of

regional hearth breads, as does Elisabeth David and also McNeill. I have

made use of stone ground barley meal and imported oats.

 

http://home.comcast.net/~iasmin/mkcc/MKCCfiles/

AlasdairGuinevreLunch.html

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 23:33:50 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Pennsic Camp Cooking

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Aug 11, 2008, at 10:50 PM, S CLEMENGER wrote:

<<< Do you soak the oats first?

I had some oat bread at a potluck last week that was quite interesting.

Modern recipe, but still good.  Apparently, instead of mixing the dry oats

into the dough, one starts by cooking them, just like oatmeal....

--Maire >>>

 

Somewhere I've got a copy of the receipt book of Giulielma [Mrs.  

William] Penn, dated roughly 1690, if I remember correctly, and her  

recipe for oatcakes involves fine oatmeal soaked overnight in spring  

water to make a batter. It seems to be the closest near-period, actual  

recipe approximating Froissart's description (14th century?) of  

Scottish soldiers making oatcakes on a stone in the field.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 23:42:07 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Pennsic Camp Cooking

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Aug 11, 2008, at 10:45 PM, David Friedman wrote:

<<< I also made oatcakes another night. That's something I had been  

planning to do at Pennsic for years. They are about the simplest  

possible bread-like plausibly period thing, requiring only coarse  

ground oats, salt, water, a fire and a frying pan. Not the world's  

tastiest dish, but not bad. >>>

 

They're much better if, after "baking" in the pan, they are toasted/

dried in front of the fire to a cracker-like consistency. Northern  

English housewives were hanging them on the clothes line in front of  

the fireplace up to the 1940's or so, if an old PPC article on  

oatcakes is to be believed. They can be sort of limp and soggy if you  

eat them right away, but if you make a lot of them in advance and let  

them dry, they have an interesting dog-biscuit matzoh flavor (which is  

a lot better than I'm making it sound). It's probably also consistent  

with a lot of old Scandinavian flatbread practice, which may or may  

not sway Moorish thinking ;-).

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 00:02:09 -0500

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Pennsic Camp Cooking

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

I combine water, salt, and oats. Let them soak for some hours. Then

fry as thin cakes in a dry frying pan.

 

I should see how it works with butter or oil in the pan, but I was

trying to reconstruct something consistent with Froissart's

description, and I didn't think scottish troopers could rely on

having perishable fats with them.

 

<<< Do you soak the oats first?

I had some oat bread at a potluck last week that was quite interesting.

Modern recipe, but still good.  Apparently, instead of mixing the dry oats

into the dough, one starts by cooking them, just like oatmeal....

--Maire >>>

 

 

Date: Tue, 07 Apr 2009 00:21:37 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] oatcakes

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Apr 6, 2009, at 11:20 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

<<<

Adamantius' article says:

 

3) North English Oatcakes

Havercakes or riddlecakes differ from the sgian oatcake of the  

Highland Scots in that they are made from a soft dough or batter,  

rather than the firm pastry dough of the sgian.

 

<snip>

PS: Adamantius, is that supposed to be "riddlecakes" or did I  

perhaps drop a "g" in multiple places? >>>

 

I seem to recall that as one of the traditional names for oatcakes of  

a particular kind in the North of England, possibly a Yorkshire  

dialect term.

 

There's a pretty detailed article on oatcakes somewhere in an early  

issue of Petits Propos Culinaires, discussing the difference between  

bannocks, havercakes, scones/sgians and riddlecakes.

 

I'm up to my ears in paperwork (sinking, actually) connected with the  

Evil Spawn's college financing at the moment, so for the next month or  

so, memory is at a premium, and free time more so.

 

But yes, I believe riddlecakes is a legitimate term, and not the  

result of dropping an initial "g", at least not an error on my part or  

yours, AFAIK.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 23:41:29 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] oatcakes

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Indeed, riddle cake or riddle bread is north English dialect for a type of

heavy oat cake.  However, the term appears to be from the 17th Century.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2009 18:52:20 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Riddle was oatcakes

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Interesting word.  A riddle is a coarse sieve used to seperate grain from

chaff.  The two common forms of riddle appear to be a plate with holes

drilled in it or a wooden rim strung with a coarse wire mesh.  From the

usage, a riddle cake appears to be an oatcake made from coarse grain rather

than from cut or milled oats.  And yes it is the source of the term, "riddle

with bullets," from an earlier term, "to make a riddle of."

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 21:24:03 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Riddle was oatcakes

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Riddle goes far back as a term with quotations like these:

 

*/a/1100* /Gerefa/ in /Anglia/ IX. 264 S?dleap, hriddel, her~syfe.

 

*/c/1340* /Nominale/ (Skeat) 531 /Sak, cryuere, et sace/, sak, ridelle,

and heresyue.

 

*1382*  

<http://dictionary.oed.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/help/bib/oed2-w3.html#wyclif>Wyclif

/Amos/ ix. 9 As whete is smyten in a rydil.

 

*/c/1440* /Promp. Parv./ 433/1 Rydyl, of corn clensynge,../cribrum/.

 

*1495* /Trevisa's Barth. De P.R./ XVII. cxxxv. 691 Hulkes falleth of

whan corne is clensyd wyth a syfue or wyth a Ryddyll.

 

*1601*  

<http://dictionary.oed.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/help/bib/oed2-h3.html#holland>Holland

/Pliny/ XVI. xi. I. 464 The same are shred and minced so small, as they

may passe through a sieve or a riddle.

 

A search through EEBO-TCP turned up:

 

Riddeled, o. plaited, wrinkled.

Riddle-cakes, La. thick sour-cakes.

Riddle an oblong sieve (to separate the seed from the Corn.)

 

Coles, Elisha, 1640?-1680, An English dictionary 1677

 

and this handy 17th century paragraph that explains all:

 

A Bannock, An Oat-cake kneaded with water only and baked in the Embers.

In Lancashire, and other parts of the North, they make several sorts of

Oaten bread, which they call by several names: as 1. Tharcakes, the same

with Bannocks, viz. Cakes made of Oat-meal as it comes from the mill and

fair water, without Yeast or leaven, and so baked. 2. Clap-bread: Thin

hard Oat-cakes. 3. Kitchiness-bread: Thin soft Oat-cakes made of thin

batter. 4. Riddle-cakes: thick Sour-cakes, from which differs little

that which they call Hand-hoven Bread, having but little leaven, and

being kneaded stiffer. 5. Jannock, Oaten bread made up in loaves.

 

Ray, John. A collection of English vvords, 1674

 

There's a recipe in Prehistoric cookery: recipes & history by Jane M.

Renfrew.

 

YORKSHIRE *RIDDLE BREAD* Mix a quantity of pinhead oatmeal with water to make a

thick porridge. Leave overnight in a warm room. Next day add salt to taste and place spoonfuls on to a hot bakestone or griddle. As the bread cooks, it bubbles up, giving the characteristic appearance. Brown the cakes on one side only. page 40.

 

Johnnae

 

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