Bannock (also known as fry bread, bush bread, etc.) has been a staple of self-reliant settlers, nomads, and survivors for centuries. Although it’s recipes vary from region to region, technically, bannock is any type of flat quick bread. Essentially, there are two types types of breads, quick breads, and yeast breads. Although the explanation of each type of bread isn’t necessary to learn how to make bannock, you can find out more in depth info if you’re interested by clicking here.
Keep in mind that there’s a basic recipe to make bannock but an almost infinite number of variations, and extra ingredients you can use to add more flavor or alter the nutritional value of the bannock. This post will explain how to make basic bannock as originally made by Native Americans.
- Flour – you can use barley, white,whole wheat, etc.; purely up to personal preference.
- Baking powder
- Fat – pretty much any source fat will get the job done. Common types of fat used in bannock are butter or lard but you can also use vegetable oil, shortening, olive oil, etc.
- Dried fruit
- Spices and sweeteners such as cinnamon, salt, garlic, etc. There’s no right or wrong extra flavor to add to your bannock. For example, you could add a bit of sugar and cinnamon for a more breakfast styled bannock while salt and garlic might be more appropriate for lunch.
- Anything else you can think of or want to try, again use your imagination and experiment.
Preparation & Cooking
The value of bannock apart from it’s nutritional benefits in the field is that you can easily and cheaply produce premixed bags of it to take along with you camping, hiking, or any other outdoor activity you enjoy. Because of it’s ingredients relatively long shelf life and low cost, you can even premix a few batches of bannock’s dry ingredients, store them in waterproof bags, and stow them in survival kits as a field expedient meal source to be consumed in the initial, potentially chaotic stages of any emergency situation should the need arise.
Once the ingredients have been gathered, it’s time to actually make the bannock. Fortunately, it’s an extremely simple process. Begin by mixing all the ingredients together, slowly adding the water and choice of fat. Thoroughly mix and and knead the dough together. At this point you’re ready to cook the bannock. This part’s up to you and your available resources in determining what heat source you want to use. Again, there’s no right or wrong way to do this, an oven, stove, campfire, etc. This post will reference a campfire since it’s the most likely to be readily available in a survival situation.
Once the dough has been mixed and kneaded, it’s time to cook it mixture and create the final product. Find a sapling (a young, green stick) and wrap the dough around it. Hold it over the fire until golden brown, generally, only a few minutes depending on the intensity of the fire. That’s it! You’ve now made bannock and are ready to consume it as you please.
Here’s some common recipes and the suggested ratio of ingredients to make bannock. As mentioned above, this is not a rigid recipe and can be freely altered and experimented with until you’ve found you’re favorite combination. For approximately one days worth of bannock follow these guidelines:
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon salt (or other dry seasoning such as sugar, nutmeg, pepper, etc.)
- 3 tablespoons butter or an equivalent source of fat.
This survival food staple can provide energy and sustenance for a hard day of exploring the wilderness in an outdoor recreational activity or in a survival situation. It’s recipes are as varied as the potential extra ingredients that can be used to alter the taste and/or nutritional value of this quick bread. If you have a favorite recipe or bannock cooking tip, feel free to contact NMD and we’ll post it for others to try and enjoy!