Everyone Loves Bannock

Bannock. Photo: Pixabay

Bannock has become a staple in our personal world. The grandkids and the dog love it, and so does the squirrel at the feeder. Making it is in the category of “easy-peasy,” and even with the addition of extra ingredients, it stays pretty simple. All-purpose flour, salt, baking powder and water is all it takes, and everybody already has those ingredients on hand. Mix 2 cups flour, a tsp baking powder and ½ tsp of table salt. Mix the dry ingredients and add water as you mix until you have a dough that is midway between gooey and dry, not runny like pancake batter. You are now ready to cook, one way or another.

Frying is the most-common cooking method, and lard is probably best but any cooking oil works fine. For my bannock, the pan has just a thin layer of oil on the bottom. I spoon the dough so I end up with usually four in the pan at a time. They can touch one another, but that does slightly complicate turning them over. Use the edge of the spatula to separate them. The cooking should be at medium to low temps, and you will learn by experience as stoves and fires give varying amounts of heat.

Many bannock cookers use oil/lard deep enough that the pieces float in the hot oil and do not touch the bottom of the pan. When they are done they are very similar to pieces of battered, deep-fried fish. My pieces are brown from contact with the pan, but both methods work well.

Bannock mix makes excellent, simple pancakes just by making the batter more runny. It also is an excellent dumpling mix if spooned on top of a stew or soup for the last half-hour of cooking.

The bannock dry mix can be prepared in advance and stored in a Ziplock. When you have a craving, just mix water with some or all of the dry ingredients. A Ziplock or plastic food container can be used to keep a supply of pieces in the freezer. Depending on your microwave, 30–45 seconds on high will thaw and warm it. Slice it top to bottom and toast it. This is particularly good with dried fruit in the original mix.

I don’t think making bannock can ever be made complicated, but to move it up a notch, try adding some of the following to the original contents: dried blueberries, cranberries, rhubarb, raisins, shredded cheese, bacon bits—and always add cinnamon powder. Milk powder, maple syrup, an egg or two, some whole-wheat flour and your favourite spices can also be included.

Bannock can also be baked as muffins. They are better with dried fruit in the mix. Bake in a muffin tray at 350 F until the tops are golden-brown, about 25–30 minutes.

A sticky batter can also be wrapped around a stick over a fire, but the thought of it falling into the fire has caused me to avoid this method.

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