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Your best Bannock recipe?

Discussion in 'Lovely Grub' started by dump of the stig, May 3, 2013.

  1. PeterH

    PeterH Settler

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    I have a Scout who is wheat intolerant so any reliable suggestions for wheat free bannock :)
     
  2. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain New Member

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    I was going to start a thread about bannock bread but this one is perfect. I've made several over the past year, but all indoors on a stove, none on a campfire. I'd first of all suggest getting it down pat on your kitchen range or cabin woodstove, if you have one, then try it on a campfire. I haven't graduated to that level yet.

    Mine recipe seems to be the most different of all those mentioned in this thread. Although I don't have the recipe in front of me, the one I use is a combination of all-purpose flour, whole wheat and oatmeal. I'm afraid the combination is important but I'll bring it in tomorrow if I remember. The rest of the ingredients include about 2 tsp cooking oil, a little salt, a little more sugar and water, plus baking powder. It's made up to a consistence somewhere between bread dough and pancake batter. Not quite a dough and not quite a batter; just not quite stiff enough to pour. The consistency will affect the cooking time. I haven't made it for a few weeks now and I'm trying to remember times, which you don't so much need to do when you're actually making one (instead, just look at it). I turn it over to do the other side maybe after about 15 minutes or less. It's a good idea to smooth down the top when you put it in the skillet so it will cook more evenly when it's turned over. If it's done enough on one side, turning it over will be easy. Either quick oats or old fashioned rolled oats seem to work equally well but they make the bannock to me.

    I've been using a cast-iron skillet well lubricated with more cooking oil with no problems, cooked on medium heat and covered. I've also tried using the steel lid that comes with the US GI WWII mountain cookset. It worked well enough but less heat is necessary with a thinner skillet. I've been looking for a pressed steel skillet for an old timey feel like cowboys might have used, even though they probably never ate bannock bread. The resulting bannock has a relatively strong taste and is somewhat heavy. It doesn't rise much but does enough to be good, at least by my standards. I cut the original recipe in half because I'm the only one that eats it. My bannocks turn out consistently better than my American-style biscuits but I haven't tried them that many times because, again, I'm the only one that eats them.

    For cooking on a fire, probably it's easier if you have live coals instead of live flame but it will take practice. It would also take practice using a cast iron wood burning range, too. I lived in a place in the country where one was still in use but I was never the one doing the cooking. All I had to do was to keep the woodbox full and the ashes emptied. There are also various wood burning camp stoves but I've never used any.

    A common suggestion for trail use is to pre-measure and pre-mix the dry ingredients since you wouldn't be making anything on the trail without having planned for it and you'll probably know ahead of time how many mouths to feed there will be.

    One other thing I experimented with was baking without an oven. For that I used a gas camp stove and a sort of double arrangement of camp-style cooking gear and canned biscuits. The results were only so-so but I just tried it the one time.
     
  3. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain New Member

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    Okay, saddle pals, I remembered to dig out the recipe I've been using for bannock bread. It goes like this for a full recipe:

    One cup whole wheat, one-half cup all purpose flour and one-half cup rolled oats.
    Two tablespoons sugar, two teaspoons baking powder, one-half teaspoon salt.

    Mix the dry ingredients, then add 2 tablespoons cooking oil or melted butter.
    Then add water, maybe about 3/4 cup, enough to make a sticky dough not quite thin enough to pour.
    Pour or dump into a pre-heated well-oiled skillet; level and smooth the top so it will brown evenly when turned over after ten or fifteen minutes just like a pancake. I've been covering the bannock but I'm not sure it makes any difference.

    This recipe will almost cover the bottom of a large skillet about 3/4-inches thick. It will rise a little. That's actually a lot, so I usually cut the recipe in half. The resulting bannock will be firm and substantial and a little crusty, depending on how long it's on the fire, and may also seem a little oily or greasy, like American-style biscuits. I said earlier that it has a somewhat strong taste but only in comparison with ordinary store-bought white bread, which in comparison is mild and sweet tasting. But the bannock is more filling, which is one of the objects, the other being ease of preparation, which is probably less then thirty minutes start to finish if you don't have to build a fire first.

    This recipe is more Canadian and North British than anything else and is probably unheard of in the American South. Horace Kephart never mentions it and he was decidedly oriented towards the southern Applachians. Other early writers like Warren Miller didn't mention it either that I recall. These days I suspect there are few who trouble themselves with making bread in the woods. In fact, any kind of involved cooking takes time and we're rather too impatient for that. A bannock is considered a quick bread but we want things that are instant.

    Another thing is that bread doesn't seem to be seen as a basic food like it used to be and what with the stuff you hear about gluten, one could get the impression it's even unhealthy. But with the typical loaf you buy at the market, it's closer to pointless. One of the things that keeps me from experimenting more with bread baking is the fact that excellent German-style bread is available literally around the corner from where I live (at a place called "The Swiss Bakery," no less) but I rather doubt many Europeans bake bread at home. Supposedly German POWs in the United States thought American bread tasted like cake but I could tell if that was a complaint or a complement. My father, on the other hand, was a POW in Germany for a year and rather liked German bread (rye, I presume) and said it "had strength."

    One more thing; the recipe is a sort of averaging of a few I found and some called for an optional 1/3 cup of raisins, which I've never used. I also imagine you could enlarge the recipe if you have a large griddle or maybe make little cakes.
     
  4. johnnytheboy

    johnnytheboy Native

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    Off topic but I never see bannock cooked that looks tasty, however this sandwich in this video ends up looking well tasty! http://youtu.be/mZ_3yHMFlQo
     
  5. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain New Member

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    That was a good writeup about American biscuits. I was just explaining to my daughter the differences in British English and American English words for a few things, including biscuits. I concluded that the British have nothing exactly equivalent to an American biscuit and probably not muffins, either. However, I also went through the same thing explaining how the Germans call an accordian a harmonika, whereupon she asked what do the Germans call a harmonica?

    You must all realize that a biscuit will be as varied as those who make them. They can indeed be a little crumbly but purists will insist that good biscuits can only be made using lard. But I've never used--but my results are a poor excuse for what might be called biscuits. They are frequently used for sandwiches, sort of, typically with cold ham. Obviously, they are called ham biscuits. They're even available in convenience stores. But you can't find blood pudding, steak and kidney pie or things like that.

    In theory, a good American-style biscuit should be light and flaky but judging from my own experiences, that's extremely difficult to achieve. It might even be a lost art and one of those things from the past that isn't being passed on to the new generations.
     
  6. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Now you've gone and hurt my feelings - I've always been proud of my camp fire baking - this one was a sweet bannock with cherries baked in the dish thing from a billy can :(

    [​IMG]
    bannock by British Red, on Flickr
     
  7. Ecoman

    Ecoman Full Member

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    Red if you served that up to me in a restaurant with a big dollop of home made ice-cream I wouldn't complain. It looks delish!
     
  8. chimpy leon

    chimpy leon Full Member

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    I will be trying some of these recipes thanks folks. :)

    I closely followed a recipe making my first loaf and Im pretty sure I exceeded my annual sodium allowance in just one bite. :yuck:

    My second effort wasn't much better either. Still tasted far too salty from the baking powder.
     
  9. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    There shouldn't be any true salt in baking powder? The chemical reaction goes like this

    NaHCO[SUB]3[/SUB] + H[SUP]+[/SUP] → Na[SUP]+[/SUP] + CO[SUB]2[/SUB] + H[SUB]2[/SUB]O

    Bicarbonate of soda plus an acid base - typically cream of tartar - causing an Acid-base reaction and giving off CO2 bubbles which leaven the dough. I wonder if you have a duff brand or batch - or if maybe its just a taste you don't like?

    Might be worth trying another brand. If that's nasty to your taste too try a different leavening agent would be my advice.
     
  10. Goatboy

    Goatboy Full Member

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    I always thought A)American biscuits, B)scones and C)griddle scones were effectively the same thing: -

    A)[​IMG]

    B)Cheese ones my fave
    [​IMG]

    C)griddle scones

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Goatboy

    Goatboy Full Member

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    The folk talking about American biscuits served like a ham sandwich put me in mind of this place LINK they do massive savoury scone sandwiches which are fantastic.
     
  12. Tadpole

    Tadpole Full Member

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    3 cups self raising flour
    3 cups wholemeal plain flour
    1 cup dried skim milk
    1 cup veg suet
    1/4 cup baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar

    AKA Fenna's Bannock, (minus the powdered egg)
    Been using it for at least 5 years and never had a problem. Fried in a faying pan over an open fire (in bacon fat), in the oven, or on the stove at home. Works every time. It that last Moot it was such a hit I had to go to tesco for extra ingredients.
    I have made it with Allinsons wholemeal bread (extra Strong) flour. and that is really nice cooked over on an open fire.
    walnuts and almonds make it sweeter. But plain and as a breakfast side dish is just heaven>
     
  13. Goatboy

    Goatboy Full Member

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    A wee handy camp tip, keep a couple of disposable latex gloves in with the food kit - handy for hygiene and not getting covered in dough when water for washing the kneading hand may be in short supply.
     
  14. Uilleachan

    Uilleachan Full Member

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    I make bannock in the same way I make soda bread, ingredients wise and I like it simple;

    Whole meal flour, self raising or plain with baking soda to suit, a 50/50 whole meal and white mix gets more of a rise going.
    teaspoon of salt per 250g of flour
    Oil butter marge or fat, goose fat MMmmMm :p
    water

    and bake, in a pan, or improvised oven such as a tin, or twisted on a stick and cook over hot embers.

    If one wants to fatten it up, include an egg and or milk (in part or in place of water), a little evaporated milk is good too. But seeds nuts oats etc all adversely affect rising and can make the finished bread crumbly if too much is included and the flour isn't strong enough to hold it.

    American biscuits? I prefer a Scone myself as I don't like "biscuits" in a savory context, reminds me too much of horrid 70's home made pizza base.
     
  15. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain New Member

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    Those are mouth-watering photos, Mr Goatboy. The griddle scones begin to look a lot like a bannock. In fact, scones are sort of like drop biscuits. "Sort of" is the operative phrase, as there are many, many kinds of breads and if you sort them out according to how similiar they are, most are but slight variations of a theme. But there are real differences.

    I suppose the biggest difference is in the flour. Early settlers usually grew corn (and so did the later settlers), at least in the east, so their bread was more likely to be made from corn meal. Water mills (for grinding the grain) were everwhere, here speaking only of the east. They were even found in remote locations. I guess no one ever ground their own grain, though the Indians would have. Corn meal is of course still available here and we have corn bread now and then with certain foods but the kind we fix is more of a spoon bread variety. But south of the border, they use corn flour for tamales. One can buy wheat tamales but the purist will demand corn tamales. Wheat tamales are supposedly popular along the border and further north and I have seen them referred to as "bimbo bread."

    Tamales are a kind of flat bread and some of my attempts have unintentionally produced flat bread. Afgan bread, which is a flat bread, is interesting and seems to be made in very large sheets. It comes out about an inch thick at most and is tasty. American white bread, while not bad for sandwiches, is much too light to be taken seriously as food and in fact, my father called it "light bread," and light it was.

    There is such a thing as canned biscuits (American style), I must confess and I grew up eating them. And like home-made biscuits, they vary from quite good to so-so. But they are at least consistent in the way they turn out once you get used to your own oven.

    I sometimes ask in Chinese restaurants if there is such a thing as bread in China. They always assure me there is but I've never learned anything about it. There are so-called rice cakes but they look and probably taste like accoustic ceiling tile. They might be good with peanut butter.
     
  16. Goatboy

    Goatboy Full Member

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    Chinese supermarkets here do have bread sections, a lot of Chinese bread is quite sweet and cake like. Cheers for the compliments but the photos are stock ones and not mine I'm afraid. But yup I could eat those cheese scones off of the screen. :) I do love corn bread too, wonderful stuff.
     
  17. Big Stu 12

    Big Stu 12 Full Member

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    My Bannock is the basic recipy

    1 Cup SR Flour
    1/2 Cup Milk Powder
    1/4 Cup of Suet
    Tea Spoon of BAking powder
    Pinch of Salt

    Put in a bag ready for use.. :) always got two portions

    Add water when required..

    I carry mixed spice, dried fruit's, some times I have added greated parmerzan cheese, if i am adding dried fruit some times i pop a bit of rum in to the mix... some times a bit of butter to make it richer...

    Have added sugar and some chocalate bits before... that make a nice breakfast ..

    I just liek to ring the changes... :)
     
  18. Damascus

    Damascus Native

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    Add to Stu recipe, don't forget cinnamon, well worth adding especially with fruit, along with lovely with a big mug of coffee for breakfast!
     
  19. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Just a quick observation having read some of these posts

    Baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing and cannot be interchanged. Baking soda is another name for bicarbonate of soda. On its own it will not leaven bread. Baking powder is a mix of bicarbonate of soda, a dry acid (usually tartaric acid) and often a starch (corn flour). When mixed with water the acid and bicarb react giving off CO2 which makes the bannock rise.

    I say this because baking soda won't work alone.

    Also if you introduce a lot of acid (e.g. orange juice) it will react with the bicarb leaving unreacted acid in the tartaric engendering an "off" taste - if you are adding something acidic, use plain bicarb.

    Sorry - nerd mode ends.
     
  20. Macaroon

    Macaroon A bemused & bewildered

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    I've been dipping in and out of this thread and wondered that nobody has mentioned Sweet Chestnut, especially at this time of year. We are in the middle of the best crop of them for many years, I picked somewhere in excess of 30 lbs. of them in a little over two hours this morning and they're the best and biggest I've had in a very long time............

    The relevance to this thread? I peel them raw, place them on a baking tray and roast them thoroughly.................leave to cool and then pulverise them in a mortar and pestle, they're usually still a little moist so I leave them to dry out and crush them some more, I then freeze some in portion-size bags and put a few pounds in a kilner jar. You can then put as much or as little as you like into any bannock mix, sweet or savoury, and they have a magic effect on the resulting bread; I think it gives a magic depth of flavour to any bannock mix and I've used it for years...........Also good for thickening and flavouring soups, stews and anything else you care to put it in.

    It seems to be one of those foodstuffs which, although having a definite taste of it's own, manages to compliment and improve anything else you care to put it to.....Try it and see!
     

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