Bannock

Bannock

Now, before I get rolling here, I want to make it clear that although I think my bannock is pretty good, it pales in comparison to some I’ve tried.  I’m talking about the famous bannock that the People of the Ojibwe and Cree First Nations have been making traditionally for many, many years.  It’s really hard to beat “Koochum’s” (Ojibwe for Grandma) blueberry bannock.

When I appeared on the Food Network show, Grill It, with Bobby Flay, I made blueberry bannock to go along with the venison and salmon that I grilled and Bobby really liked it.  Flay, a New Yorker, told me he had never heard of bannock before.  He also told me it was “ruggedly rustic.”  I’ll take that…

Bannock is a hardy and robust (rugged) type of bread that, like oatmeal, is very filling and it’s made with minimal ingredients.  It can be cooked in oil in a frying pan, baked in the oven, cooked on a grill or even on a stick over an open fire.  It’s a great compliment to any meal at the campsite, especially bacon and eggs!  It only takes about five minutes to fry and a few more to bake and it’s the all around perfect choice for your next trip into the bush.  It’s also great at home in your kitchen and that’s where I make it about once a week or so.

The recipe below will make enough for four – six people… it will fill up about a 12 inch pan.  If you fry it, use a cast iron pan if you have one.  They hold the heat well and they also work great in the oven.  And, don’t be cheap with the oil.  Some people fry it stovetop and then finish it in the oven at about 350 or 375 F.

You can add blueberries, cranberries, walnuts, raisins, bits of pre-cooked, crispy bacon… whatever you like.  It’s all so good!  I just can’t help but putting butter on my bannock, but you certainly don’t need to.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup berries or nuts

Enough water to make a sticky dough

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then simply begin to add water and mix together.  Make a soft dough, but not too thin.

Form it with your hands on a floured, flat surface.  It should be at least an inch or so thick.

Preheat a cast iron pan at medium heat.  Fry in Canola oil for a few minutes per side on medium heat.  As I mentioned above, you can also bake it or grill it over gas heat, wood or charcoal.  It’s fun, especially for kids on a camping trip, to mold it onto a stick and cook it over an open fire.  Just keep it back a bit from the direct heat and keep an eye on it, as it’ll burn quickly if the fire is too hot.  Slow burning coals work best.

“Pound ‘er down!”

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