Monday, May 2, 2022

Reviewing Why I Make and Recommend Bannock

Bannock, a type of bread that is made in a skillet or pan on the stovetop or open fire, has been something I have made off and on over the years. But recently, Bannock has been in the forefront. Between being an integral part of a book series I've just read and being what I'm making for breakfast this morning, I thought I'd share with you.



What is Bannock?

After a Google search, it seems that Bannock (with a variety of spellings) was a Gaelic word meaning "morsel" and is believed to have originated in Scotland. It is a flat, unleavened bread and it is thought to have been introduced to North America by Scottish immigrants. 

You'll hear the words fry bread and bannock use interchangeably at times. The Indigenous people of North America make an unleavened fry bread. I believe that the original Scottish bannock used oatmeal and the North American fry bread originated with meal made of corn or nuts. At some point in time, both versions began using flour.

For my personal use and definition, Bannock is a yeastless bread that is made of flour, baking powder, and a liquid and is cooked on an almost dry skillet.  Fry bread is similar but "fried" with a larger amount of oil. I am sure others have their definitions, but this is mine. Bannock is something that hikers, campers, and hunters can easily make while on the trail.

Bannock for Breakfast

Today has turned cold and stormy. Thunder claps and lightning had me rushing to check on the outside animals before crawling back under the blankets. I felt too lazy to make breakfast but I was hungry. When I finally got up and moving, I made bannocks and scrambled eggs with sausage crumbles. 



During the moving process from the apartment to my land, my best friend was helping at one point and made a crack that I had "several" cans of baking powder. When I told him that I planned to be able to make Bannock if I get snowed in on the mountain he understood completely. He is an avid outdoorsman who has also made bannock while camping.

I started making bannock when I was camping in "The Shack" on my land. With only 4 ingredients, it was an easy thing to have on hand in off-grid conditions. As the house build began, I camped in the little shed and conditions were more austere. The shed was such a very small space for camping and storing supplies. But I could make bannock on my single camp stove burner.

I use the version by Liz Thomson. The ingredients are:

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c warm water
  • herbs such as rosemary are optional (I use the most minuscule shake of Mrs. Dash)
I use this version because it is the smallest recipe and makes 3-4 small biscuits. I found that olive oil kept well in my off-grid camping situations. There are versions that use butter, lard, bacon grease, and so on. While those version often have more flavor, those ingredients were more difficult for me to make sure I had on hand. 

Not only did I make bannock while I was camping I also made bannock at the apartment. During quarantine and supply chain situations, I sometimes made bannock in lieu of bread. I also made homemade bread that required yeast and time to rise - because I had that time. But bannock is much more quick and easy to make. It was great to have with a can of soup. And as I told my friend, I made sure to buy some (okay, many) cans of baking powder ahead. Now that I've moved to a rural area (a mountain ridge in West Virginia) I could easily be snowed in for a long period of time. Bannock is something that I can make in a pan on top of my woodstove if I am without electricity. So I'm set in that regard.

I highly recommend that people try making bannock in the event they want or need an easy-to-make bread at home or on the trail.

Bannock in the Books


I mentioned that I just read about bannock in a fictional series I was reading. I love to read. It takes my mind off of the issues at work. But I don't have much spare time, focus, or energy. So I need the story to grab me and keep me immersed. 

I am so glad that I read a series that was reviewed by Sylvestermouse Cynthia here on Review This! The series is the Tales from the Highlands series. Book 3 in that series written by Martha Keyes is The Innkeeper and the Fugitive. Ana MacMorran flees her home and an arranged marriage. She does not want to marry the villainous laird of Benleith. During her criminal escape from this contract, she finds herself at Glengour Inn. There she secretly assumes an identity of another in order to try to hide.

At Glengour Inn, travelers stop for a bit of bannock and drink before continuing on their travels.

I enjoyed the Tales from the Highlands series immensely. If you'd like to know more about the series, check out Cynthia's book reviews:








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15 comments:

  1. Well Dawn, how very interesting this is. I've have never heard of Bannock but I'm for sure going to try it. Your pictures are making me hungry. Thanks so much for the history lesson and introducing me to this delicious looking bread.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sam. You are such a good cook. I'm not sure if you'll find them to be too simple in their flavor. If you try them, I hope you'll let me know what you think.

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  2. I admit, I cracked up laughing as soon as I read the title of this review. Until I read the Tales from the Highlands series, I don't recall hearing of bannocks. Seeing your recipe above, I understand now how it would be a wonderful survival recipe, as well as a delicious recipe to add with breakfast. Now, I want bannocks & my homemade jelly! I am assuming you would pour them into the skillet like pancakes and fry them. Is that correct? Thank you so much for including the links to my book reviews. That really is a great series and now you get to read the 4th book (which I have not yet reviewed) "The Gentleman and the Maid". I think you will be pleased by how the author, Martha Keyes, wrapped up the series.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I looked at Liz Thomson's recipe which you linked above and I see now that it is a dough that you shape into patties and fry. Now, how cool is that! Making bannocks is something I definitely want to try.

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    2. I loved bannock with honey when I was camping! Yes, the dough is more thick/stiff. So I make it into a ball and pull it into a hockey puck shape. Or... haha... a biscuit shape. AWESOME news about the 4th book. I just start a long historical fiction so it'll be a minute before I get back to the Martha Keyes book.... but now I can't wait!

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    3. I've just finished the Outlander series and I need something to read! Going to try this series. Also going to make some bannocks!

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  3. Dawn, I have read numerous tales of the Highlands (a popular setting for many historical romance novels and series), so I’m no stranger to bannocks, although I have never eaten them. I was fortunate enough to eat authentic Native American fry bread at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s restaurant in Washington, DC and it was delicious! I suspect bannocks taste somewhat similar, despite the difference in the type of flour or meal used in the dough.

    I love how enterprising and proactive you have been in your preparations for power outages and other events that could make living in a remote, rural location challenging. You have a true pioneer woman’s spirit and grit, my friend!

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    1. Thank you Margaret! That's so sweet of you to say. Although, while sometimes my proactive actions are due to trying to be prepared and sometimes it was due to being lazy and too tired of carrying stuff back and forth for the camping trips! (If I'm going to be completely honest). :)

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  4. Well I've heard of bannock lots of times, and turns out I've made it lots of times too. But I never knew I was making bannock, as in our family we call it fried biscuits. LOL. I love to make it, as it's so fast and easy. I do use butter for mine though.

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    Replies
    1. I love to know someone makes them regularly!! Now that I'm in a home (instead of camping) I want to try making them with butter.

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  5. I love the simplicity of this recipe! It reminds me a bit of Drop Biscuits but they are cooked in the oven. I will try making this soon. You home in WV sounds lovely! Claudia Meydrech

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  6. I have heard of Bannock before but have never made it myself. I will have to give your recipe a try out and see what my "nature-loving" back to basics hubby will have to say. I'm surprised that he hasn't made this either. Well, there is always something new to do and I will give this a try for sure. Thanks Dawn Rae!

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  7. So interesting that the word Bannock is a Gaelic word as my daughter was just showing me her app that is teaching her Gaelic. She also loves to cook, so I know she will really be interested in reading this article (and perhaps trying out the Bannock recipe).

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  8. I have never heard of this, but it looks so easy and delicious, I am going to have to try it. It would be great for breakfast, or for dinner!

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  9. The first time I heard of Bannock was in a country song by a Canadian Country Artist, called "Mountain Man by Dean Brody" - there's a lyric in there that says, "Baby, baby don't panic, I can cook Bannock..." lol - Now I know what it is from your article! Actually the recipe is quite similar to the biscuits recipe I make.

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