This bannock bread recipe is mostly for myself. I want to make certain I can remember it, and maybe, even share it with my children and grandchildren.
The Delgado side of my family were famous for their skills in the kitchen. My Aunt Lucy made a living as a cook (“I’m a cook, not a chef,” she’d tell people, “Chefs don’t cook New Mexican.”) My mother is at least partly responsible for my body shape. But, my Grandma Delgado? She was so good that she made everything in the kitchen look easy. She was an Espinoza by birth, from up Abiquiú way, and likely responsible for some of the Native American DNA in my blood. Which is why I trust this recipe for bannock bread.
One day, she got tired enough of me asking her to rustle up a batch of “banna-bread” that she showed me how to do it myself. This is the recipe I recall and have been using it at home and in the field ever since. The “at home” version is much easier, because I have the help of a Kitchen Aide mixer and an oven I can set to an exact temperature. But, with a little little extra effort and a watchful eye in the field, this recipe works just as well.
This should serve two big men at breakfast, or four, if you’re lunching in polite company.
Grandma’s Bannock Bread Recipe
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 2 cups of flour. You can use anything except self rising. I prefer whole wheat.
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder for each cup of flour.
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of flour.
- 1 cup of lukewarm water. You’ll make your life easier if you add a Tablespoon of oil to the water. Unless it’s motor oil.
Pour the dry ingredients into a bowl, and stir them until you feel like they’re pretty well mixed. At this point, you can add anything you want. I’ve made it with a couple of shakes of Italian Seasoning, raisins, a little sugar and cinnamon, dried cranberries, diced fresh apple, and diced ham.
Stir the liquid in a little at a time. You’ll end up using almost all of it. If you over-wet it, just add a little more flour.
You’re looking to form what I call, “thingees that are trying to crawl up your spoon.”
At that point, scrape the spoon into the bowl, and use your hands. Form it into a ball, then put it back in the bowl and knead it for at least five minutes. Ten is even better.
Form it into a ball again, and let it sit in the bowl in a warm, dry place for about ten minutes.
As you can see in the photo above, I bake it on a cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper. It won’t stick to the paper.
I bake it on the middle rack of my oven for 20 minutes. You may have to run a test or two for your oven. But, if you keep an eye on it, you should be fine. It’s ready when you can tap it with a finger, and the crust is hard, and it sounds kind of hollow.
Let it rest on a cooling rack for about ten minutes to finish the baking. Then, break off a piece, spread some butter or fresh strawberry jam on it, and enjoy.
If you’re out in the field, you can bake it in a dutch oven, or your own makeshift camp oven. Or, like many Native Americans, you can fry it in a pan with a little oil. Just remember to flip it when the bottom browns up.
If you’re looking for pure nutrition, this isn’t the recipe for you. Bannock is about calories from carbohydrates to keep you going when you’re out in the field. Make a batch the night before you leave for a recon trip, and it will keep you from getting “hangry” throughout the day.
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