Your best Bannock recipe?

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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Mac,

Did you know that an acre of sweet chestnut trees will provide the same nutritional value as an acre of wheat? No ploughing etc. required. A very useful crop indeed. If I had more land I would be planting sweet chestnut like crazy!
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
268
70
SE Wales
No, Red, I didn't know that, but for some reason it doesn't surprise me at all; I've eaten them and used them in various ways since I was a kid and my body has always signalled me that "this is good stuff, get some more in".

I learned early on to trust what the body tells me in terms of what's good nutrition and what's not, and this certainly always fills me with a sense of satisfaction and well-being whenever and however I eat it.
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
Dumb question from a bannock newbie:

Will a small frying pan on a low heat be sufficient? I don't have a heavy iron skillet.
 

Tadpole

Full Member
Nov 12, 2005
2,842
20
56
Bristol
Dumb question from a bannock newbie:

Will a small frying pan on a low heat be sufficient? I don't have a heavy iron skillet.
First time I cooked Fenna's Bannock was on the frying pan lid of my tranga on my tranga. so yes but it took a bit of time and had to be pressed out quite thin.
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
First time I cooked Fenna's Bannock was on the frying pan lid of my tranga on my tranga. so yes but it took a bit of time and had to be pressed out quite thin.
Nice one thanks; especially the reminder about pressing it thin. I'll report back in due course.
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
That's not such a dumb question, Mr Stringmaker. In fact, as I think I mentioned in my earlier post, I even tried a batch using the steel lid from a US Army WWII mountain cook kit. If one is going to make this as a trail bread, you're probably not going to have a heavy cast iron skillet along anyway. I also mentioned somewhere that I had been looking around for an old-fashioned steel skillet for an old time feel. I have seen a couple but didn't make the plunge. Something like that might be a little more suitable for trail use.

Anyhow, when using a thinner skillet, you should need less heat but you'll have to try it a few times to get the hang of it. As for making a thinner bannock, that's not something I've tried. Either way, the size of the skillet doesn't matter; it's how thick it is. I've seen one steel skillet that must be close to 14 or 15 inches in diameter with a handle that was about two feet long. Believe it or not, it was for sale in an L.L. Bean store. It was clearly meant for campfire use.

While I said it doesn't matter how big the skillet is, it still has to be big enough or you'll have to settle for a really small bannock and that probably wouldn't be worth the trouble. The old Boy Scout mess kit/cooking outfit, which may or may not have ever been used in the U.K. comes with a small pot of maybe a little over a pint, a deep plate (about the size of a soup plate) and a skillet with a folding handle, as well as a small cup. For one person it isn't bad but the whole thing is made of aluminium, so the skillet doesn't lend itself to slow cooking. And for something like a bannock, it's really too small since it can't be any bigger than the bottom because you have to turn it over. It's worth trying though and maybe I will this weekend, if the spirit moves me. I suppose you could use any flat metal surface like a cookie sheet, a proper griddle, the mudguard of a tank, things like that. I suppose if one were willing to try something really primitive, you could try it on a flat stone, if you happen to live where flat stones are common.

Some older books on the subject, and here I'm probably remembering W. Ben Hunt's well illustrated books, show bread baked before a fire by being wrapped around a stick. Now that would be a challenge and it might not be bannock.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Stringmaker,

Don't forget you don't need a skillet at all. I often use a small tin (a metal mug works) with a bigger tin upended over it and some coals on top from the fire (an improvised Dutch oven) - works very well indeed.
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
Thanks chaps; useful information there.

For the first attempt I shall use the cooker on a low heat and a pan of some sort and let you know what happens.
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
Well, I had the opportunity to try this bannock lark on Saturday night as we were doing a spot of glamping.

I had the communal fire to myself so I had already made up the mix at home:
Flour
Powdered Milk
Baking Soda
Salt
Brown Sugar
Dried sliced apple.

For this experiment I didn't add any fat as I wanted to see how this version came out. For starters I added too much water and the mix was somewhat gluey rather than doughy. I pressed on and dolloped what I had into a pan and then set it up as below:



It may look burned but it was just a light surface blacken; after I turned it over and did the other side I can report that it was very palatable. Just crispy on the outside, but maybe a touch soft still inside as opposed to being proper bread. I would in no way claim it as bannock but on a squally showery evening it was very welcome.
 

Big Stu 12

Full Member
Jan 7, 2012
6,025
2
Ipswich
Nice one Stringmaker... I normaly keep and eye on mine and turn it to hopefully get a nice brown colour :)..

bet it tasted good tho :).
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
That looks pretty good to me, Mr Stringmaker. One can almost smell the smoke just looking at the picture. It also looks like you have a Boy Scout cook kit. In a way, they're very nice but almost too small even for one person. I've never tried making one outside on an open fire and I don't live where I can do that, although I could use a camp stove. The thing with all of these recipes is getting in enough practice to see what you actually like to eat and to get the hang of using the particular utensils you have on hand and the heat source you're using.

I went camping a lot with relatives when I was little and they never had a camp stove. It was always an open fire, canvas tent with no floor and invariably somewhere near the river. All of these people grew up using wood-burning stoves, so there was never any mystery or adventure about the fire itself. Sometimes, other relatives would go to great pains to provide themselves with a piece of sheet metal when camping to simulate cooking on an iron stove. It was convenient, provided a nice level platform for cooking and you didn't get your pots and pans sooty. They never made a bannock in their life, however.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Probably was - you rarely see it sold as "baking soda" its normally sold as "bicarbonate of soda" :)
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
That looks pretty good to me, Mr Stringmaker. One can almost smell the smoke just looking at the picture. It also looks like you have a Boy Scout cook kit. In a way, they're very nice but almost too small even for one person. I've never tried making one outside on an open fire and I don't live where I can do that, although I could use a camp stove. The thing with all of these recipes is getting in enough practice to see what you actually like to eat and to get the hang of using the particular utensils you have on hand and the heat source you're using.

I went camping a lot with relatives when I was little and they never had a camp stove. It was always an open fire, canvas tent with no floor and invariably somewhere near the river. All of these people grew up using wood-burning stoves, so there was never any mystery or adventure about the fire itself. Sometimes, other relatives would go to great pains to provide themselves with a piece of sheet metal when camping to simulate cooking on an iron stove. It was convenient, provided a nice level platform for cooking and you didn't get your pots and pans sooty. They never made a bannock in their life, however.
Thanks, yes it is a cheap cookset thing I've had for years but as you say, it was what was available. For sure there are changes to the whole process I shall make next time but the end result was edible so I was content with that.
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
By no means are inexpensive (as opposed to cheap) cooksets necessarily inferior and the Boy Scout outfit is as good as any for what it is. Some kits in outdoor stores made of exotic metals are very expensive and probably no better than aluminum, although a non-stick surface can be handy. Traditionally, when camping you usually took something out of the kitchen and used that. There are lots of inexpensive aluminium kitchen cookware available that's probably just as light as a purpose-produced camping pot and enameled steel isn't much heavier. Army surplus is even better except that the designs are usually geared to a certain sort of ration and "field cooking" by soldiers is disappearing in favor of things in plastic bags. After all, it's the food that counts and not the pot.
 

swright81076

Tinkerer
Apr 7, 2012
1,701
0
Castleford, West Yorkshire
Made bannock today at my local woodland event, went down really well. Cooked in Dutch oven.

No specific measurements, just relative to each other. Don't need to be precise, just near enough.

1 large kuksa or cup of self raising flour.
A quarter of that amount milk powder
A quarter that amount sugar
A quarter that amount salt
Handful of sultans.

Add water and mix to a dough. Done.

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