Bannock time: Recipes!
How is everyone doing? We have been blessed with beautiful weather on the Canadian West Coast for the past week. And it is only the beginning of April! That’s crazy, Grandfather sun in the sky, not a cloud in sight, our relations in nature blooming 🙂 I am fighting an infection but I am feeling fantabulous! And as I am about to make some bannock again, I thought I would share some bannock recipes, including mine. For those who have asked me for it on my Facebook page. So here we go, let’s talk about bannock, how much I love it and what it represents for me.
What is bannock?
Bannock is a traditional Native bread. However, it is also made in other cultures, including the Scottish culture, where it has its origins. More and more it is part of daily life, at Pow wows and when I make it for friends, family and clients basically every week! So what is bannock? Simply put it is fry bread. But learn more about its origins here. It can however, also be baked (you can find it at Pow wows).
Golden and delicious 🙂 And fluffy (well mine is ;)!! If you attend any big First Nations family meal or any ceremonies, chances are you will find bannock. And everyone will be adamant that their bannock is the best… It has been made for centuries, made by our ancestors, from scratch (even before flour existed, see how here). Some will also know it simply as frybread. It is made to be fluffy and dense at the same time, helping those who eat it survive harsh winters or climate.
It can be eaten with butter (or lard like the ancestors did). Or even sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon (like a “beaver’s tail” or an “elephant ear” depending on where you live) or eaten with jam and peanut butter in the morning or basically any time, lol. But I actually prefer mine just straight up 🙂 As you can see mine was quite puffy but it can also be flatter and denser. In the past, it was also called bread on a stick, as it was cooked on a stick over an outdoor fire. See the technique in this video below. I don’t care much for the recipe but I wanted to show you the technique of cooking it on a stick over fire.
Adding yeast or not? Well every Native family you talk to will have their Bannock recipe and as I said, we all think our bannock is the best 🙂 But really, mine really is, just kidding! Well sort of 😉 Some will be adamant that yeast does not belong in bannock while others will argue that it makes it fluffier. The traditional recipe does not call for any but it’s really up to you what you put in it. I am including two simple recipes here. And mine below. I include yeast in mine and I have never ever had a complaint about my bannock being “too fluffy”….
My personal recipe
4 cups flour
2 cups warm water
a pinch each of salt and sugar
1 1/2 tsp of yeast
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Mix warm water and yeast and let yeast emulsify. Mix all dry ingredients and gradually add the mixed water and yeast. Knead in a ball and cover in a bowl (put plastic wrap directly on dough) and let rest for 45 minutes. This will give time for the yeast to activate. Roll out (about 1/3 inch thick) and cut into wedges or squares. Drop in hot oil and fry about 2 minutes max per side. Or until brown and bubbles form. Sponge off on a paper towel. The bannock will be all fluffy and light.
So there you have it
As you can see, bannock can include fat, such as animal fat or shortening. But you can easily make the recipe without it. Make sure the water you use is warm though. Roll the dough (you can also let it rest before), cut it into pieces and fry it in a pan. Pure perfection when it comes out of the pan! Enjoy 🙂
So what is bannock to me? Bannock to me is our roots. It brings us together. It is simple food that makes people happy. Because really it does not take much to make bannock. But I know that every single time I make it, it brings a smile to the face of those eating it. Every time. Making bannock is just part of my weekly routine. I either share it with friends or clients (I even made 4 batches for my graduation in January, read about the great Aboriginal program I took here) . I bring it to the potluck dinners with my healing circle. Last time I made it, I made 2 versions: regular bannock and chocolate bannock (just add chocolate chips to the dough). As I came in the room with the bags of bannock, the Elder yelled: “bannock is here!”. Lol!
And now I get requests from clients for chocolate bannock. For example, last Christmas, my staff and I baked cookies for our clients. As I told a client I was doing that, he said: ok but what about chocolate bannock? Haha. I get calls from clients asking me when I am going to make bannock. I cannot keep up! But you know what? I am more than happy to make it for anyone who asks. Because why not really? I work with a population that does not have much. If I can bring a smile to their faces with bannock (or anyone else), then I will.
What do you think of bannock? Have you ever had it? Or made it? Do you have your own recipe? Share below and I will answer you 🙂
All my Relations