“Bannock” does not rhyme with rock. It is pronounced: Ban -ick. Bannock is (originally an indigenous Canadian cooking) a type of bread made with wheat flour, shaped into round, flat cakes and fried or baked.
I first had Bannock when I visited my sister in Canada in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s. I’ve tried to make it a few times but my kids were not a fan. The recipe I used was different than this one. I’ve had bannock done on top of a stove, in an oven, and once over an outdoor fire in northern Canada.
Then recently my sister Ida Marie made this recipe for a gathering of cousins . There were 16 of us at the table (ages 66-88), and many others who could not come. She made this dish and received accolades and requests for the recipe. I decided it’s time I try my hand at it again, and I did. Mine didn’t turn out as good as hers, but then I haven’t been making it for 45 years, either.
About this recipe
Ida Marie uses a recipe that she got from Donna Binguis in 1977 when she lived in Ontario, Canada. She taught at Crystal Lake, a boarding school for First Nations girls under Northern Youth Programs. Donna was one of her students with whom she still has contact. Ida Marie says this one is a never-fail recipe. Rhoda Tait, mother of several of her students, sometimes added an egg if she was frying the bannock in individual servings.
You’ll have to figure out how much “a full hand” of flour is because that is how the recipe is written. I’m sure the size of your hand will help you know if you should use five or seven handfuls. Remember to stir from the inside out after you have added the wet ingredients. That’s important, Ida Marie says. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
- 5-7 handfuls of flour
- 1 rather heaping Tablespoon baking powder
- Optional 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon yeast optional
- 1 egg optional
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup oil lard, or butter
- In a sort of large bowl, mix dry ingredients
- Add egg
- Make a hole in the middle of the dry mixture
- Add warm water. Start with some water and then add as needed
- Add raisins (optional)
- Add 1/4 cup oil, lard, or butter
- Stir from the INSIDE OUT until all the flour is mixed in
- Knead gently
- Fry OR Bake
- Use a cast iron skillet which is well greased, enough that the dough glistens
- Heat the skillet and add the oil/lard/butter
- Put the dough into the skillet and flip so it is greased on both sides (THIS gives the crunch)
- Bake at 375-400 for 15-20 minutes, then flip
- Continue baking for 10-15 minutes
- TO FRY: follow #11 and turn burner medium and lower temperature as needed to keep bannock from burning; make sure the center is cooked. Bannock will fry faster than it bakes. Use a large enough skillet so your bannock is not more than 2 inches thick before frying. You may flip it several times. For individual bannocks, take a small amount of dough and flatten it so that it's a bit thinner in the middle than around the edges. Heat should be medium to high. Flip each bannock once.
- Remove from skillet/oven.
- Slice and serve