When I was a kid every canoe trip had a bannock experience and even on my recent canoe trips. All of my kids have spent time going to summer camp in Canada and each one of them has cooked bannock over an open fire. It's a right of passage. Nothing tastes as good as hot, steaming bannock off the camp fire.
What is Bannock:
It is a variety of flat quick bread cooked from grain.
Bannock, muqpauraq, skaan (or scone), or Indian bread is found throughout North American Native cuisine, including the Inuit of Canada and Alaska, the First Nations of the rest of Canada, the Native Americans in the United States, and teh Metis.
History of Bannock:
It's not completely clear when or how bannock came to Canada and American history seems to be equally vague. There is some evidence that it was eaten by European fur traders so I find this particularly interesting because my grandfather - William Oliver Kennedy Ross - was one of the last independent fur traders in Canada (more about that in another blog post). It was known then as bannock, bannaq or galette and made with flour, water and sometimes fat. The Scottish version was mostly made with oats or barley. At the time of the fur traders corn flour was used as wheat flour was not easily found. It is believed that this bread was made by Indigenous people but using natural ingredients (i.e. lichen, maize, roots), rather than wheat, maple sap and leavening agents.. First nations people in Canada (and native Americans) prepared bannock on an open fire either in the ashes or in a frying pan over the fire.
My recipe for the version in the photo above:
I made this loaf this past Saturday morning for my husband and kids. They all woke up to a hot, steamy breakfast. They were a very happy bunch.
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 Tbsp butter (cut into pea-sized cubes)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Mix dry ingredients
3. Mix in butter
4. Mix in milk to make a soft, workable dough
5. Knead dough briefly
6. Oil a cookie sheet or use parchment paper
7. Make dough into a disc 3 or so inches thick. Cut an X in dough with a knife (1 cm or so deep)
8. Bake 350 degrees F for 50 - 70 minutes (depends on your oven) until a wooden skewer stuck in comes out with no 'gooeyness" on it
9. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes after taking out of the oven, and break apart with your hands.
10. Spread Tonewood maple cream or Fat Toad Farm goat caramel over each chunk.