Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bannock and Tips

Bannock is a versatile quick bread, similar to a baking powder biscuit. You can include extras such as raisins, currents, blueberries, cinnamon or cheese if desired.
Trivia: Bannock was favored by nomadic tribes because the dry mixture stayed fresh for long periods. They added the fat or oil at cooking time

Tip #1: Some cooks prefer to fry their bannock dough in a frying pan (cast iron is best), others bake their bannock in the oven, still others deep fry it. You can also drop spoonfuls of batter in a stew, producing something like dumplings.

Tip #2: You can also make a cinnamon bun-type goodie by rolling the bannock dough with a rolling pin, then sprinkling with cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts, etc. Lastly, roll the dough up and cut into slices. Bake at about 375-400 degree oven.

Tip #3: For a healthier version, substitute whole wheat flour or rolled oats for some of the white flour. If you do this, you will want to increase the amount of while flour somewhat to make dough sufficiently stiff.

There are many Bannock Recipes...each one slightly different depending on the region it is from, or the heritage of the people that the recipes are handed down from.
Look over the various recipes and decide which one you like .

Recipe #1 Simple bannock
2 ½ cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tblsp lard
1 cup cold water (approx)
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the lard and mix in thoroughly. Gradually add the water (you may not need it all) and mix until the dough is thoroughly dampened, but not sticky.Knead the dough on a floured board for 30 seconds. Flatten the dough to 1/2" thick. Cut into 8 pieces, and fry in a lightly greased frying pan, on medium heat, for 12-15 minutes each side.

Recipe #2: Bannock for six
3 cups of white flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour
½ cup of bran
½ cup of wheat germ
2 tbsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
2/3 cup of shortening
2/3 cup of milk powder

Tips for making Bannock
Tip #1
There are no rules. As you can see, the two recipes listed above are quite different. Bannock is usually made from whatever ingredients you have on hand. The recipe will be altered to create the type of mixture you require, for whatever method you are cooking it. Minimum ingredients would include some type of flour, and a liquid to bind the flour together. I have eaten bannock made from just flour and water, cooked on a hot rock, in an open fire, and I found it to be delicious. However, if you took the same two ingredients, and mixed in too much liquid, you will create a great glue for paper mache. In order to make great bannock, you must practice, practice, practice. Typical bannock recipes might include ingredients from the following categories:
white all purpose, whole wheat, cracked wheat, etc…Exotic types of flour could include flour made from the roots of plants, and the inner bark of trees.
Rendered Fat
butter, margarine, cooking oil, bacon grease and lard are among the modern favorites
Baking Powder
nice if you want the bannock to be fluffy and light in texture.
a pinch will help bring out the flavors
brown is my favorite.
Tip #2
Always thourally mix the dry ingredients, then add the fat and mix again until it is all absorbed. Lastly add the water, a little at a time, until you have a dough of the right consistency for your cooking method.
Tip #3
There are many things you can add to Bannock to alter it's taste.
flavored instant oatmeal can change taste and texture
milk, either powdered or dry, will cause the bannock to brown when baked
adding cornmeal, or rolled oats can change the texture
any sweet liquid can be a substitute for both sugar, and moisture.Some examples are corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, orange juice, Baileys, etc…
add instant coffee, or cinnamon
try adding candied fruit, brown sugar, and cinnamon for a dessert style bread.
Tip #4
Cooking methods can change both taste and texture
Baking in an oven usually produces a light, airy type of bannock
If you roast it over, or in an open fire, the bannock will pick up some of the smoke flavor of the fire.
It will absorb the flavor of any type of fat you fry it in.
If thinned out, and poured into a hot, dry skillet, you will have hot cakes
You can steam raw dough on top of any type of stew to create dumplings.
Tip #5
Experiment with different combinations of ingredients and cooking methods in order to discover which work best for you. To help you along, try some of the recipes listed below.

Australian Damper
Mix up your favorite Bannock recipe.Add dried fruit. Wrap and seal in foil,Bury it at bottom of fire for about half an hour. Extract cooked fruit bread from foil.The outside will probably be burned, and can just be committed to the flames.The centre can be removed, smothered with butter, and enjoyed.

Hot Dog Biscuits
Slice a wiener open and fill with a small slice of processed cheese.Secure the wiener to a green wood skewer.Take a piece of bannock dough in your hand, and flatten it out into a 4 by 4 inch piece.Completely enclose the wiener in the bannock, and pinch the ends tight to secure the wiener and filling.Roast over the coals, making sure to rotate it often enough to cook the bannock evenly on all sides.Cooking should take approximately fifteen minutes.For a different variation, try changing the type of filling. some possibilities are:Sauerkraut, pickles, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, chilli, beans, hot peppers, etc...

Bannock on a stick
When in the bush, this is probably one of the easiest ways to cook bannock, and there are no dishes to clean. You should use a green stick. The bark can be left on, or taken off, as desired, but you should try and find a stick that does not have a bitter taste to it, or the bitterness will be absorbed by the bannock. Just take a strip of bannock and wrap it around the green stick, so it looks like the stripe on a candy cane. Set up a rest so you will not have to hold the stick over the coals.

It is not very difficult to master the art of cooking this way if you remember one simple thing. The heat has to have time to penetrate inside whatever you are cooking. If you have your food too close to the fire, it will burn on the outside, and still be cold, or raw on the inside. Rule of thumb tells you to keep larger items farther away from the fire, so they will cook slower and more evenly than smaller items.

One Burner Pizza
Mix up your favorite bannock, and press into a circular shape, the size of the bottom in your skillet. Bannock should be about .75cm thick, and fairly stiff in consistancy. Place the bannock into the dry skillet and set it on top of one burner (medium low heat) and brown the underside of the bannock. You must keep the bannock from sticking to the pan by shaking the pan from side to side. (Once the bannock starts to brown, it will become easier to do this)

When the underside is cooked sufficiently, flip the bannock over. Add pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings to the cooked side, lower the heat, and cover the pan. While the bottom cooks, the cheese and toppings will heat up. When the cheese is melted, remove from the heat, and let it cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the pan.


  1. I am preparing for a medevial camp and this bread was easy to make and very good! Thank you so much! The camp was a success thanks to this recipe.

  2. Hello Celtic Gypsy -- I have a blog about wheat, and am writing about travel breads. I plan to quote from this piece about bannocks, because it is clear and helpful. If you have any questions about this, please let me know, at, or I will send you my email if you leave a note there. Thanks much -- hope your trails are happy ones -