What Is Bannock?

K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning

Bannock is a blanket term for several different types of flatbread. It may also be referred to as scones when it is cut into wedges. The bread is a traditional dish among indigenous people of North America and in Ireland, Scotland, and England. It has been a popular food for centuries due to the ease of preparation, simple ingredients, and the wide array of possible variations that make it an inexpensive and flexible dish. Due to the many ways it can be prepared, the bread has been and continues to be popular among hikers, explorers, and other individuals who must survive in the wild.

A basic bannock dough recipe consists of flour, water, sugar, and salt. Traditionally, the bread was unleavened. Most modern versions of the dish are prepared with baking powder.

Aside from the basic ingredients, an endless array of items can be included in bannock. They can be varied to change the consistency of the dough, add flavor and change the texture of the finished product. Cooks of many cultures have traditionally added whatever ingredients happen to be available to enhance the bread. This can include different kinds of flour, such as corn and wheat; fresh or dried fruits; and a wide array of herbs, eggs, and other kinds of grains such as oats. Butter and milk or milk powder may also be added to the mix.

Bannock can be cooked in several ways, depending upon the resources available. It may be cooked on a griddle or fried in oil in a pan, either on a stove or over an open fire. The dough may also be wound around a stick and cooked over an open flame.

In European culture, bannock was traditionally used as both a staple and a celebration dish. It has been in existence for centuries, with the first recorded use of the bread appearing around the year 1000. The version of the bread made for daily use tended to consist of basic ingredients. When made for celebrations, it was often made with ingredients and in an array of recipes that were specially made for the event being commemorated.

Among indigenous North American people, bannock is commonly known as fry bread. As the name indicates, it is usually fried in a pan. The traditional recipe evolved as contact with European settlers increased and new ingredients became available. It originally consisted of whatever basic elements could be found in nature, such as tree sap and roots.

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