I was browsing through my Grandfather’s cookbook and came across a recipe for a bread I had no experience with. So, I figured a little homework was in order. Now, for our friends in Canada this will probably be old news because, as I understand it, Bannock has been is a well known recipe for quite some time.
After a little Internet work, and perusing a couple old cookbooks, here’s what I came up with. First, based on the info from the Internet it was clear that this is an excellent bread for the campsite and can be done in a Dutch oven (It’s a bread recipe so, Duh! of course it can be done in a DO) or prepared and cooked in a cast iron skillet over an open camp fire. Since this is my first attempt at this recipe I tried it in my indoor kitchen first.
The following is from an old cookbook I have, Flatbreads & Flavors, A baker’s Atlas, Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid, 1995, William Morrow and Company, New York.
“The original Bannock was a Scottish bread baked on a griddle and made from oatmeal, barley, or wheat. It probably came to North America, with the Hudson’s Bay Company, as the company was the first to introduce wheat flour to the Northern parts of Canada. As flour sold by the company’s trading posts gradually became a part of the local diet, so to did Bannock, but in a form not necessarily resembling it’s plain Scottish ancestor (Scottish Oatcakes, similar but with slightly different ingredients and different cooking method – Splatterdab). When berries were available, they went into the Bannock batter.When there was meat or fish, it was chopped up and included.”
“Bannock is now made all across the north of Canada, in households and in hunting and fishing camps, by native peoples and newcomers alike.It’s a quick and fuel efficient way to make bread, and almost foolproof, even when made over a campfire.”
Well, for ol’ Splatterdab, it was the “foolproof” part that intrigued me. In addition, although I have no specific evidence, my theory is that a recipe this simple and quick must have been a go-to bread for the chuck wagon coussies in the late 19th century. I’ll keep looking for any chuck wagon versions of`the recipe.
So, here’s the recipe and for this version I decided to add apricots rather than berries.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1 cup dried apricots - diced
- 1-1/2 cup water
- Bring oven to 425 degrees.
- Lightly grease skillet or DO.
- In bowel, mix dry ingredients.
- Add diced apricots.
- Make well in middle of dry ingredients.
- Pour in water and stir quickly until mixed. Dough should be stiff but moist.
- Transfer to DO and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
- To bake over campfires or bottom heat source:
- Use a cast iron skillet and cook over a medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes or until brown on bottom.
- Slide onto lid, flip over and bake until browned on other side.
- Remove and cool.