Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ok Guys, It’s Bannock

The History of Bannock

The Aboriginal staff of life, Bannock and Fry Bread, is common to the diet of virtually all North America's Native population. The European version of bannock originated in Scotland and was made traditionally of oatmeal. The bannock of Aboriginal people was made of corn and nut meal, and flour made from ground plant bulbs. There were many regional variations of bannock that included different types of flour, and the addition of dried or fresh fruit. Traditionally, First Nation groups cooked their bannock by various methods. Some rolled the dough in sand then pit-cooked it. When it was done, they brushed the sand off and ate the bread. Some groups baked the bannock in clay or rock ovens. Other groups wrapped the dough around a green, hardwood stick and toasted it over an open fire. Early fur traders introduced leavened wheat or oat flour breads to the Aboriginal people. The use of leavened breads spread and adapted from there. Prior to the introduction of baking soda as a leavening the native population used wood ash. Fur traders and pioneers also introduced cast-iron frying pans that made cooking bannock quicker and easier. Today, bannock is most often deep-fried, pan-fried and oven-baked. Bannock is one of the most popular and widespread native foods served at pow wows, Indian cowboy rodeos, festivals, and family gatherings in the Canadian First Nations and parts of the northern United States.
First you take flour, baking powder, salt, oil or lard and sugar and mix then make a hole in center and crack in an egg (optimal) and add water or milk and mix to a sticky firm dough. Add any fruit such as raisins you wish. One caution high sugar content from fruit or fruit pulp will cause the bannock to overly brown fast if deep fried. So if you plan on a sweet dough bake or dry pan fry the bread. You can change direction and make a savory dough with the addition of spices and vegetables and or meat.

The next step is to pat down the dough or roll it out and cut the forms you wish to produce. You can roll it out in thick strands to wrap around a stick. It can be hand formed or cut out biscuit style.
If you have produced a dough with little or no sugar you can deep fry it, otherwise bake it, pan fry it or roll it on a stick and place in front of a fire. It can even be rolled in small balls and used as dumplings.
Now for the best. The eating part

There are as many Bannock recipes as there are ideas on how to make it. We have provided a few for you to get an idea of the wide nature of this staple dough product. Chef David Wolfman produces a new type of Bannock almost monthly on his TV Cooking with Wolfman show.

Basic Bannock Recipe (Fried or Stick-cooked)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp margarine/butter
2 tbsp skim milk powder (optional)
Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (at this point it can be sealed it in a ziplock bag for field use). Grease and heat a frying pan. Working quickly, add enough COLD water to the pre-packaged dry mix to make a firm dough. Once the water is thoroughly mixed into the dough, form the dough into cakes about 1/2 inch thick. Dust the cakes lightly with flour to make them easier to handle. Lay the bannock cakes in the warm frying pan. Hold them over the heat, rotating the pan a little. Once a bottom crust has formed and the dough has hardened enough to hold together, you can turn the bannock cakes. Cooking takes 12-15 minutes. If you are in the field and you don't have a frying pan, make a thicker dough by adding less water and roll the dough into a long ribbon (no wider than 1 inch). Wind this around a preheated green, hardwood stick and cook about 8 inches over a fire, turning occasionally, until the bannock is cooked.

Shuswap Bannock (Epanigishimog Pakwejigan)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup blueberries
Mix the dry ingredients together, add the blueberries and stir. Add the water quickly and continue to stir.
Spread the batter on a pie plate and put in a preheated oven heated to 425°F. Bake for 20 minutes. Cut in pieces and serve hot or cold. Excellent served with mint tea.
- This recipe comes from the Cappilano Reserve, Chilliwack, BC and belongs to the Shuswap people.

Sunflower Bannock (Missiiagan-Pakwejigan)(Fried)
3 1/4 cups sunflower seeds
3 1/4 cups water
2 1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp corn flour
2/3 cup corn oil
Put the sunflower seeds, water and salt into a pot, cover and let simmer for 11/2 hours. When well cooked, crush the seeds to make a paste. Add the corn flour, 1 tbsp at a time to thicken. Work with your hands; cool a little.
Make small, flat pancakes of approximately 5 inches in diameter. Heat oil and fry both sides, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well and eat.

Manon's White Woman Bannock!(Baked)
6 cups of flour
2 tbsp (heaping) baking powder
2 tsp (heaping) salt
1 inch wide (or so) of lard
sprinkle of white sugar (optional)
2 cups of very warm water (warm enough so the lard will melt when mixing everything together)
Mix dry ingredients together, add lard, using your hands to blend it together. Add water and form a big ball and let sit in the bowl for a minute or two with a clean tea towel over it. Pat it out until the shape of a pizza (not too thin or you will have hockey pucks for bannock!). Use one of your biggest glasses to cut out your bannock and put in ungreased pan. Using a fork, poke your bannock twice (uncertain why but Manon's mother in law does it!)
Turn the oven to 425°F and bake for 25 minutes. Raise the rack to the top for the last 5 minutes. - Manon Metz

Thelma's Lazyman Biscuit/Bannock (Baked)
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp margarine
1 cup milk
1 cup water
Mix ingredients together and pour onto a lightly greased (with margarine) cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 450°F for 20 minutes. Cut it right away into squares. It is good with soup or as a snack. Thelma Blackstock

Prince Edward Island Baked Bannock (Baked)
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening and then stir in milk. Form a ball of dough using flour to prevent sticking to hands. Roll into a square approximately 2" thick. Mark with squares (by making shallow cuts into the dough so cutting is easier after it is baked) and bake at 350°F for about 1/2 hour. Confederation Bridge

Bella Coola Bannock Recipe (Fried)
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 can milk, mix with water
1/4 cup margarine/butter
2 eggs
pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. Pinch some of the dough and shape it. Fry it in hot oil until golden brown. Greg Mazur

Lichen Bannock
# Pit cook or steam black tree lichen (Bryoria fuscescens)
It turns into a hardened licorice tasting "bannock". It can be cooked with berries like saskatoons to add sweetness and flavour.Mary Thomas - Elder - Neskonlith Indian Band

Whole Wheat Bannock (Pan-fried)
1 1/2 cups white flour
4 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
canola oil
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sugar
Heat frying pan with 1/4 inch of canola oil. Combine all dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and add water. Stir until the dough is a thick batter (It will be a gooey mess). Drop a generous tablespoon of dough into the heated pan; spread the dough to 1/2 inch in thickness (use a spoon and fork for this step).
When the bannock is puffed and brown on one side (yes, peek if you wish), then flip it over and brown it on the other side. Smother with favourite toppings - Roger's Golden Syrup, honey, peanut butter, jam or jelly or even a taco filling. You may also sprinkle it with a sugar/cinnamon mixture (1part cinnamon to 10 parts sugar).
Louise Framst in A Tahltan Cookbook

Corn-Flour Bannock (Fried or Baked)
2 3/4 cups corn flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp lard
2/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease lightly a cast iron frying pan, or baking sheet. Stir and blend together the flour, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, finely cut in the lard. Then gradually stir in the water. Stir with a fork to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and knead gently 8-10 times. Roll out or pat 1/2 inch thick, or flatten dough to fit frying pan. Cook in frying pan on hat ashes over an open fire (turning to brown both sides), or on a baking sheet in oven for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut and serve with butter. Makes 1 loaf.

Bannock Buns (Fried)
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lard
1 cup soured milk*
Lard or shortening for skillet
In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Cut in lard until mixture resembles a fine meal. Make well in centre, pour in soured milk and stir using light strokes, just until liquid is absorbed. Knead lightly 5-6 times to make a smooth dough; set aside.In large heavy skillet, melt just enough lard to thinly coat bottom of pan. Heat pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 6 portions; shape into flat, round buns about 3/4 inches thick. Arrange in pan (in batches if necessary). Cover and cook for 6 minutes or until bottoms are deep golden brown. Turn buns, replace cover and cook for 6 minutes longer. Remove to rack and let cool before serving.*To sour milk: Add enough milk to 1 1/2 tsp vinegar to make 1 cup.

Blackfoot Fried Yeast Bread (Pan-fried)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 ounce package of active dry yeast
2 tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached flour
oil or shortening, for deep frying
Place water in a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add butter, sugar, and 2 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Knead, adding enough flour to form a stiff dough. Allow to rise for one hour. Place oil in a deep saucepan and heat to 350°F. Form dough into cakes approximately 4 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick and deep fry for about one minute per side or until golden brown. Makes 8-10 pieces.


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