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Minor British Institutions: Stottie cake

By Sean O'Grady

What happens if you bake your bread at the bottom of the oven? You get "oven-bottom bread" or, more endearingly, Stottie bread or cake, a proud Geordie invention, sadly, not widely available outside its native region.

Whereas such exotica as tortilla, pitta bread and focaccia have long found a niche in our bakeries and supermarkets, the Stottie remains neglected. You can't help wondering how much more popular it might be if it hailed from Nigeria or Nicaragua rather than Newcastle upon Tyne. Still, the world needs to understand what it is missing.

The Stottie's pleasantly doughy consistency and squat proportions lend themselves well to sandwiches – the favoured filling is a substantial helping of ham and pease pudding, a not-so-light lunch available in north-eastern branches of Greggs, and a puzzlement to the casual visitor. The name derives from the Geordie verb to "stott", meaning to bounce; and you certainly will if you eat too many.