THIS week’s column reunites the Toon’s staple pease pudding together with the stottie cake.

Classically, it should be served with ham pease pudding - a marriage of two of the North East’s finest contributions to life on planet Earth, along with the first commercial locomotive and Alan Shearer.

The history of this bread is fascinating. It did indeed originate from the North East of England, where scraps of leftover dough made by the working class families were baked in the coal-fired ovens of the region’s terraces.

But like all foods of poverty and toil, it has an enduring charm and identity that have ensured its survival in an age of trendy sourdoughs, ciabatta and foccacias. So what makes a good stottie?

Well, it’s all about where it’s placed in the oven - to be specific, it should sit as low down as possible.

Heat rises so the lower the oven it sits, the longer it takes to bake, allowing the ingredients to bind and give it that signature chewy, stretchy, heavy dough-like texture having a reminiscent dense flavour.

This potent symbol from the region it is made from basic white bread dough, needs no presentation, and no fancy cuts or glazes: this bread needs to be belted off the kitchen floor when its finished to determine good consistency.

The name stottie derives from the Geordie vernacular to throw (to ‘stot’) – they look plain and boring to look at and should not be garnished or fancy decorated like a Christmas tree.

The stottie cake should always be rolled out to around twelve inches in diameter, with an indent made by a finger in the middle. This was produced by the baker who had to flip them over quickly halfway through the bake.

All this good jumping behavior made the bread a good vehicle to hold its filling well, and stave off any hunger or hangover pains. Once baked the stottie cake tended to be split in two to be eaten: I recall when I used to make them, they were eaten with fish and chips or a cooked breakfast mainly bought by builders to keep them going.

For me, as you tear off a piece of warm stottie bread slavered with butter so it melts into golden pools of saltiness, you will understand the alchemy of this flipping bread.

I know the stottie cake is married to pease pudding my choice, but in Yorkshire it was jam and bread that fuelled us kids growing up.

Canny lass our mum was!

Stottie Cake


500g/1lb strong bread four

10g/1/2oz salt

50g/2oz melted butter or lard

120ml/4oz milk, warm

120ml/4oz water, warm

25g/1oz fresh yeast

Overnight sponge mix

150g/5oz bread flour

150ml/3ml water

10g/1/2oz fresh yeast


1. Mix the sponge the day before and ferment all at ambient temperature for 18-24 hours in a Kimler glass jar or similar container with a lid on.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and melted butter.

3. Dissolve the yeast into the milk and water and add to the bowl with the starter to form a soft rough dough.

4. Knead the dough well for eight minutes using a little flour till smooth and springy, then return it back to the mixing bowl covering with a tea towel to prove for an hour.

5. Once risen well, scale the dough into two round balls and rest for 10 minutes covering with a tea towel.

6. Roll out the balls to form 8-inch disks in diameter and 1-inch thickness, then place onto semolina sprinkled or greased baking trays for 30 minutes loosely covered with a tea towel.

7. Once well risen, stick your thumb in the centre of the disks and bake for 40 minutes in a preheated hot oven 220c/Gas Mark 7 on the to bottom shelf.

8. Fifteen minutes through the bake, flip them over using a oven glove and continue to bake till golden dark brown in colour.

9. Once baked, transfer onto a cooling wire before serving and eating as desired pet!