Monday, April 20, 2009

Bannock recipe

Here we go!

I don't often give recipes here, but you asked, and I don't want to disappoint.

Oreneta's Bannock.

I'll take credit where it is do; and give it. I found this recipe originally in Naomi Duguid and Geoffrey Alford's fabulous cookbook, "Flatbreads and Flavours" If you don't know their book, run, don't walk out and get them. Their website doesn't BEGIN to do them justice. And I desperately crave their latest two books, the ones about India and China respectively. Something for the list. HOWEVER, I haven't read the recipe in years - indeed the recipe has been languishing on the boat in a cow field in rural Florida for years and is now vacationing in beautiful near Northern Ontario. I have been making this bread for ages, I have no idea if I have changed it around or not. So credit is maybe mine and maybe theirs depending on the state of my memory.

I made this all the time on the boat, and we LOVED it, I also got a lot of time and practice with it. Hunger is the best spice if it doesn't turn out so well sometimes.

3 cups flour
1 biggish teaspoon of salt
1 smallish teaspoon of baking powder
1 half teaspoon of baking soda.
whatever seasonings make you happy and excited, like garlic and rosemary, cinnamon and apples, olives and oregano...whatever.

You will also need some kind of heavy 10" pan with a tight lid. I use a wide and shallow pot. The sides go up about 4 inches and it is pretty much perfect for it. If your lid doesn't seal tightly, lay a teatowel over the top of the pan, put the best lid you have on and tie the corners up over the lid so they don't catch on fire.

You will need between one and a quarter and one and a half cups of water, depending on how humid it is and how damp your flour is. This is very noticeable on a boat as the frontal systems come through. you can see the moisture on the floors, feel it in you sheets, and taste it in your bread. I loved that about the boat. Well, not the damp sheets, but the sense of being part of the world around you more directly.

ANYWAY....I digress,


Put the pan on a medium heat while you mix the dough up. This doesn't take long and you want the pan nice and hot when you are ready.

If you want you can add some (or a lot) of oil to the pan at this point to make a nicely browned very crispy (very yummy) crust. I use sunflower oil if I am making generic bannock for any use. If I were seasoning it with say garlic, I would use olive oil. It is just fine with no oil or anything at all too.

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients. You could sift it, I never have, I just give the dry ingredients a good stir. Sifting gets messy when 20 knots of wind are blowing through the kitchen and it is at an angle. Toss in any dry seasonings at this point, and if you have to add wet seasonings, adjust the quantity of water as needed for the desired texture. OK, now you can add the water, if you suspect at all that the flour is damp, only add a cup and quarter. Mix only until it is just mixed together and not a moment more. It should make a sticky ball in the bowl. If it is a bit liquidier that is OK, but it cannot be runny.

Put it into the hot pan right away and with your fingers mush it down into a flattish circlish mass. It will probably be about 3/4 of an inch to an inch thick. Don't press it right out to the sides of the pan as it will make it very difficult to flip it in a bit. (If I were the Pioneer Woman I would have taken a thousand photos when I made this at lunch today, but at least I thought of you all.)

Put the lid on.

Turn it down to med-low. You will have to experiment with this a bit to find a crust/temp combo that makes you sing with joy....

It will need, maybe, 6 min. Don't go too far away, it is easy to burn it. You should start to smell some cooking, and hear some drips falling from the lid and sizzling into the pan when you are about there.

With luck, the top should look moist, but if you touch it, it doesn't stick to you, and when you scoop it up it should have a firm enough crust on the bottom that it is easy to do.

With some fingertips on top of the bread, lift it out and flip it, then (obviously) put it back in the pan.

Lower the heat to very low, put the lid on very loosely, I usually stick a wooden stick across the top and balance the lid on that. You want to keep some of the heat in, but let the moisture all escape or the lovely crust will get mushy. Mushy crusts are not yummy.

After a few short minutes, say 3 or 4, have a look to see if it is browning up, take it off and eat. You may need more time depending on how hot your pan was when you started and how hot your stove runs. I use gas, so it will be different on an electric stove that is slower to change temps. If you cannot get the center to cook properly, you could try turning another burner on very low part way through the first side and moving the pan over when you switch so the temp really drops well.

It is a solid bread, and I like it cause it is so little work. A single loaf with very little work, and no endless flipping of different little bready bits.

It isn't the prettiest, but it is yummy and easy.

Most loaves of bread are made with three cups of flour, as is this one. We finish it in one sitting. Hot.


Enjoy! Bon Profiti!!!!


Beth said...

I almost stopped reading at “catch on fire” (not being a big fan of sparks, fire, etc. on the stovetop) but continued on. I’ll be purchasing the proper pan with a lid to make this recipe.
And pretty doesn't matter - taste is what counts!

TeacherMommy said...

Girl, you write out recipes like I do! You know, all that experience and "you can do this or that or..." and a million little tips along the way. Does NOT fit on a recipe card. That's why I have yet to actually post a recipe on, because I think people who need straightforward instructions might go a little mad.

But as Beth said, I think I might be purchasing the proper pan to do this. Sounds yummilicious!

Beth said...

Rocky, I WILL be trying this. I make your chick peas and spinach all the time. LOVE THAT!!!

Trish said...

I remember making bannock at camp in Algonquin Park when I was a kid and loved it!

But the thought of adding rosemary and garlic? Oh man . . . yum.

oreneta said...

Beth, you could do it with a big frying pan assuming you have a domed lid that would fit.

Teachermommy, I did think about that when I was typing it up, but regular recipes can be dull, and I just felt like running on a bit, so why not. Like I said to Beth, you could use a regular large frying pan if you can get a domed lid that would fit.

Beth, COOL bullwinkle! I haven't made that in a while in fact, thanks for the reminder.

Trish, I, strangely, have never made bannock without a pan. The shame. I will have to try it, it would have to be drier than the recipe I gave here. Did you plant the sticks in the ground at an angle? Something to try this summer maybe.