Wholewheat Cobs from a Sponge Starter

Bread in Fife

This is the basic loaf recipe I learned to make at a breadmaking course at Ochil Villa B&B (Bread in Fife).

Update: Bread in Fife is now in Edinburgh with discounts for group bookings.

I have made this wholewheat cob three times since then.

I have made homemade cobs and also baked the bread in a loaf tin, with either wholewheat or wholemeal flour (generally these are the same flours, but there can be a slight difference).

It's a good general loaf and a joy to make. As you can see I rather enjoy it with butter and homemade jam.

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Sponge Starter for Wholewheat Cobs
This starter sponge will help the yeast to get going before making your bread.
  • 500g lukewarm water around 35°C
  • 5g dried yeast or 10g fresh yeast
  • 40g dark brown sugar, molasses or dark muscovado
  • 300g wholewheat flour
  • 125g strong white flour
Making the sponge mixture takes 15 minutes.1. Measure the lukewarm water into a large baking bowl. 2. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water and stir lightly to dissolve.3. Add flour a cup or so at a time, stirring briskly after each addition. As the mixture thickens, begin beating. 4. Beat until the batter is smooth, about 100 times, incorporating as much air as possible,.5. Place the bowl in warm place covered with a tea towel for 60 minutes. Alternatively, leave covered in a warm place overnight. The sponge will rise then fall back, but will start working again when you move on to the next step on the following morning. This is convenient, gives a better taste to the bread, and also makes the bread easier to digest.
Total time:
Yield: Sponge Starter for three small loaves each approx 430 g

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Wholewheat Cobs
Wholewheat Cobs made with a Sponge Starter.
  • 1 sponge starter
  • 10g salt
  • 50g olive oil
  • wholewheat flour approx 400g
1. Pour the oil and sprinkle in the salt over the sponge starter. Stir around side of bowl and fold into the centre, turning the bowl as you do so until the oil and salt are incorporated. 2. Add the rest of the flour folding the wet mixture in on top of dry ingredients and turning the bowl as you do so until all the flour is incorporated in the dough.3. Knead the dough for 15 minutes. Use whatever style of kneading suits you. A wet dough is messier but will rise better so do not be tempted to add extra flour.
4. Place the dough in the oiled bread bowl smooth side down, and then turn it over so the creases are on the bottom. The oiled surface will prevent a crust from forming on the dough. Cover the dough with a cloth and set it in a warm place. 5. Let the dough rise for about 50 minutes until nearly doubled in size. Punch the dough down by pushing fist into the dough steadily and firmly. Cover the dough again and leave it in a warm place then let it rise for 45 minutes, again till it has nearly doubled in size.6. Heat the oven to 180c.7. Turn the dough onto a board. Cut into three equal pieces, shape into balls by folding dough to centre all the way around. Turn the smooth side up, and tuck in the dough all the way around.8. Cover and leave in a warm place to prove for 15-25 minutes from the finish of the last cob. 9. Dust with flour then cut diagonal slits ½ inch deep to allow the dough to continue to expand in the oven.10. Bake at 1800 C for 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of the bread. Spray water inside the oven but not directly on the loaves immediately after you pop the loaves in. Spray again after 5 minutes to keep the top soft so that the loaves can continue to rise. The bread is done when the top is golden brown, the sides and bottoms are golden brown.11. Remove the loaves from the bread tins immediately and cool on wire trays. This bread keeps well and freezes well with little loss of flavour or freshness.
Total time:
Yield: three small loaves each approx 430 g

Cranberry & Apple Spice Cake

I am updating one of my favourite fruit cakes. I originally published it in 2008 and I make it regularly. It is the cake my dad always requests and it never lets me down.

It is usually quite a dark, spicy cake becuase of the treacle, but I decided to make a few changes and have come out with this much blonder cake. I have to say I like them both. You can't beat a slice of it warm and slathered with butter. Mmmmmmmm.

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Cranberry & Apple Spice Cake
A moist, spicy cake studded with sweet cranberries.
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 1¼ cup demerara sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 320g/2½ cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 red apples, grated
  • 225g/1½cups dried cranberries
  • 75g/½ cup raisins
1. Heat the oven to 180 c/ fan 160 f/ gas 4. Line a 8 inch round cake tin with greaseproof paper or a greaseproof liner.
2. Beat together the butter, sugar, maple syrup, eggs, flour, baking powder and spices until the mixture is pale and thick. I pop my mixture into a food processor.
3. Fold in the fruit and spoon the batter into the cake tin. Bake for around bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes until the cake is golden brown. Do the skewer test. If it comes out clean it is ready.
4. Leave to cool slightly in the tin and then move onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
Cook time: Total time:
Yield: 1 cake


Staffordshire Oatcakes Recipe

Staffordshire Oatcakes are a yeasted pancake that tastes good with honey, but even better with a savoury filling. 

I have a pancake recipe with a difference today.  They are called Staffordshire oatcakes and they are savoury pancakes. They are made with yeast and are perfect for a savoury breakfast or instead of a sandwich at lunchtime.

I learned how to make these yeasted pancakes at the breadmaking course I was on recently with tutor Colin Lindsay at Bread in Fife.

Staffordshire Oatcakes

Decades ago in Staffordshire entrepreneurial housewives set up small bakeries in their homes to bring in a bit of extra money.

Their customers were the mill workers, who would buy the Staffordshire oatcakes from the 'holes in the wall' to eat on their way home at the end of their shift.

Unfortunately, the last home bakery and shop recently shut down.

So lets pass this recipe on and make sure these wonderful oatcakes are not forgotten.

pin it for later

Derbyshire Oatcakes

One of my readers, Father Peter Weatherby (see comments below) tells us that these were also very very popular in North Staffordshire.  

They could also to be found in Cheshire (where he grew up) and in Derbyshire, where they are often called "Derbyshire Oatcakes" and are exactly the same as these Stafforshire oatcakes. 

They are generally called "North Staffordshire Oatkcakes" when described to those who are unfamiliar.

Thanks for the info Peter!

yeasted pancake, savoury pancake, savory pancakes, yeasted flapjack, savory pancakes, staffordshire oatcakes, savoury oatcakes
breakfast, lunch
Yield: 8 large pancakes

Staffordshire Oatcakes

Staffordshire Oatcakes are a yeasted pancake that tastes good with honey, but even better with a savoury filling.
prep time: 10 minscook time: 25 minstotal time: 35 mins


225g fine oatmeal

225g strong wholewheat flour

1 tsp salt

10g dried yeast

1 to 1½ pints warm milk (dairy or vegan) and water

1 tsp sugar


  1. In a large bowl add the salt to the flour and oatmeal.
  2. In a small bowl mix the yeast with a little of the warm liquid and add the sugar. Allow the mixture to become frothy. 
  3. Mix the dry ingredients with the yeast liquid to make a batter. 
  4. Cover the batter with a clean cloth and leave in a dry place for an hour. 
  5. Bake the oatcake on a well-greased griddle or large frying pan. 
  6. Add enough batter to make an oatcake about 8-9 inches across. It will gradually become covered in holes as it cooks and the surface will change from wet and shiny to dull when it is ready to turn, after about 3 minutes. Turn the oatcake and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 


1. The time does not include resting time.
2. These freeze well. Defrost them enough to unfold them then pop them under the grill.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

We enjoyed a taste of these oatcakes with honey, which was rather nice against the savoury flavour of the oatcake, but well all loved it filled with cheese and tomato.

Bread in Fife

If you would like to attend a breadmaking course at Bread in Fife, here are the details.

UPDATE: Since I posted this in 2011, Colin has moved his business to Edinburgh. His details are below.

Colin Lindsay
5 Lochinvar Drive 


07840 258550



Website: Bread In Fife


Scotch or Scottish Pancakes

Scotch or Scottish Pancakes

An easy recipe for traditional Scotch pancakes. These are also called drop scones and are very similar to American pancakes, but smaller. Serve them for breakfast, lunch or to celebrate Pancake Day.


Strawberry & Elderflower Cocktail

I have given up on Summer. You must be getting sick of hearing me saying that by now.

I had visions of sitting in the garden, sipping this cocktail with friends. Alas, it is not to be, so I decided to make it anyway, while strawberries are still in season.

Please excuse the quality of the photo. It was a dark, dreich evening, so this was the best I could do.

I really must set up a home light box before the winter comes. They are so easy to make if you follow Sarah's simple instructions.

I had trouble finding the Bottlegreen Strawberry & Elderflower Cordial locally, so I asked Bottlegreen if I could procure a bottle and they very kindly sent me a bottle of Strawberry & Elderflower and a bottle of Pear & Elderflower Cordial from their Blossom Cottage range.

In my professional opinion there is no point making enough for one. I think you should at least have two each or go crazy and have a jug of it. It is the best cocktail ever. I cannot tell you how good it is with the little chunks of sweet strawberry through it. Mmmmmmmmmm! I added some of the pear cordial to top of each glass, but the presse would give a lovely fizz to the cocktail.

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Strawberry & Elderflower Cocktail
A gorgeous Summer cocktail filled with fresh seasonal strawberries.
  • 75g hulled strawberries
  • 50ml vodka
  • 30ml bottlegreen strawberry & elderflower cordial
  • top with bottlegreen elderflower pressé
  • 2 or 3 ice cubes
Put the fruit into a jug, and add the vodka and bottlegreen strawberry & elderflower cordial.

Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.

Pour the blended mixture into a tall glass over two or three ice cubes and then top up with bottlegreen elderflower pressé.

If desired add a couple of fresh strawberries to the drink.

Quick Tip

When making a few of these cocktails, a larger blender or food processor can be used to puree the strawberries.

Prep time:
Yield: 1 glass


Bread in Fife

A couple of weekends ago, Chele from Chocolate Teapot, myself and two of my friends: Hilary & Louise, went on a breadmaking course.

Bread in Fife

The breadmaking course was held in a rather gorgeous B&B called Ochil Villa.

Ochil Villa is set in the charming village of Freuchie, in Fife.

If you're looking for a B&B in Fife, I would heartily recommend staying there. I had a peek in one of the bedrooms as the door was left open and it was lovely.

So light, fresh and inviting and of course the food is homemade and accompanied by the most delicious breads. The whole place was gorgeous actually, including the secluded country garden at the back of the house.

We had a great day at the B&B.

Our hosts were so friendly and our teacher, Colin Lindsay was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He really inspired us.

I'm not confident in making bread, which is why you will find so little on this blog. So far I have dabbled with no knead breads (such was my fear), pizza dough, scones and chapatis. All this is going to change. Colin has really given me the confidence to start breadmaking.

As for the others, well Chele, is pretty darn good at baking bread already, but was happy to join in the fun and pick up some new tips. Louise was a breadmaking virgin, although she loves to cook. She has really got into rye bread recently and wanted to make her own and Hilary also loves baking bread, but was eager to learn more.

Over the course of the day we made a wholemeal loaf and a wholemeal cob, a rye loaf between us (which we discovered cannot be kneaded as the dough is so gloopy), half a dozen rolls with various flours and toppings, staffordshire oatcakes (a savoury pancake, made with yeast) and the most gorgeous coarse oatcakes (they taste so good compared to shop bought oatcakes and the texture is much better. They are so much cheaper too).

We learned to check the temperature of all the ingredients and what a difference that makes to the bread. We attempted a variety of kneading techniques and we learned about sourdough starters and 'old dough' or 'mother dough' as it is sometimes called.

And we tasted and tasted and tasted. There was absolutely no need for lunch. Although we did enjoy some rolled up Staffordshire oatcakes filled with parmesan and tomatoes along with some of the freshly squeezed apple juice from local trees in the most idyllic walled garden.

Such a fabulous day!

Bread in Fife

Colin Lindsay
Bread in Fife
Ochil Villa
High Street,
KY15 7EZ

Telephone: 07840 258550
Email: baking@breadinfife.co.uk

Website: Bread In Fife
Twitter: @BreadinFife
Facebook: BreadinFife

Bed & Breakfast: Ochil Villa
Trip Advisor: Ochil Villa

The breadmaking day cost £40 per person, but as we booked as a full group of four, it only cost us £32 each. Very reasonable.

UPDATE: Bread in Fife is now in Edinburgh, but the links and phone number are the same.
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