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Recipe of the Week: Elgin-style Butteries

  21 Nov '20   |  Posted by: Birlinn

There’s nothing like a buttery to fortify you on a winter morning: their salty goodness goes so well with strong tea or coffee. Liz Ashworth, author of the Scottish Baking Bible, the newest volume in our popular miniature Food Bibles series, writes: “A ‘buttery’ or ‘Aberdeen rowie’ is a North East speciality which bakers created for fishermen by adding fat and salt to bread dough so that rolls kept well and provided an energy boost. My friend Maureen bakes this Elgin baker’s recipe when she visits her daughter in Canada.”

Illustration by Bob Dewar

Elgin-style butteries by Liz Ashworth

Makes 16 large or 20 smaller butteries; requires overnight and day-of resting time
  • 7g (1 packet) dried yeast or 60g (2oz) fresh yeast
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 450ml (15 fl oz) warm water
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) strong white flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125g (4½ oz) butter or margarine
  • 250g (9oz) lard
  • Rice flour
  • Baker’s note: To make a ‘healthier’ buttery reduce the fat by 25 per cent. Substitute 100g oatmeal for 100g flour.
  1. The night before, mix the yeast and sugar with a little warm water. Set aside. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast has bubbled, add this with the remaining water and mix to a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge. Oil three baking trays. Cream the butter and lard together. Turn the dough onto a board dusted with rice flour and knead for 5 minutes. Using your hands gradually press the fat mix into the dough, working it in as you knead until it is evenly blended. Allow to rest for 40 minutes. Cut roughly into 16 pieces. Shape each into a rough circle, place on the baking trays and set aside in a cool place to rise for 45 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), 400°F, Gas 6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until light golden brown and slightly crispy. Cool on a wire tray.

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