I thought I’d share with a simple recipe that forms the basis of a staple bread in the wilds, needing only three primary ingredients which can be long stored and transported in such quantities as to sustain you during extended periods away from resupply.
A Bannock is quite simply an expedient bread cooked flatly on a griddle or skillet. I had intended for this article to demonstrate how you might cook this bread by an open fire, but the British weather being lovely as usual my photography looked very grey and dull. So for now we’ll concentrate on the ingredients and I’ll follow this up with a campfire cooking display on a brighter day! If you’d like to see me cook a similar, more cake-like, bannock we made a video this summer:
- Plain flour
- Milk Powder Ginger
- Baking Powder Cinnamon
- I use a metal army mug to measure the key ingredients: 1 mug of flour, 2/3 a mug of milk powder to which I add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Vary the optional ingredients to your own personal tastes and of course…experiment! especially with foraged fruits.
- Set a pan, lightly oiled, to warm by the fire. In a bowl or billy can add the dry ingredients.
- If you’ve been travelling or the ingredients have been packed tightly, be sure to sieve them through your fingers to aerate them.
- Slowly add water bit by bit, mixing with a spoon until you have a soft dough a little thicker than a cake dough.
- Now take your dough into your hands and gently shape it into a ball.
- It’s important here not to knead the dough, as this will push the air out of it.
- Remove your pan from the fire and spread the bannock evenly out across the surface of the pan to around 1 ½ inches thick.
- Place this near the fire at the ‘5-second hand heat’ temperature.
- Cook until golden brown, check with a clean stick poked into the bannock to ensure it’s cooked through.
Just as I remove the bannock from the fire I’ll dash a shot of rum over the bread…you’d have to smell it for yourself!
If you’d like to learn how to cook bread and other backwoods staples see our Itinerant Bushcraft Weekend Course.
I hope you found this short article useful, what do you add to your backwoods breads?
All the best