Prep 5 mins
Cook 5 mins
This isn't bannock made by the Algonquin; it's bannock I made daily when travelling deep inside Algonquin Park. Unlike Cree (real Native) bannock; it doesn't use lard and isn't fried. This is possibly the simplest waybread you can make and when cooked over a fire it's one of the tastiest as well. It's surprisingly light and sweet with a thin crispy crust.
- I'll provide two versions - fire cooked (preferred) and pan-cooked.
- Fire-cooked: First; if you're making this in camp, it's best to use natural tools. Locate a flat rock (slate is best, of course), sheet of birch bark or similar flat surface. You can use a bowl or a frypan but it's not as much fun. :) Next, find a Y-shaped stick about 2 feet in length; fairly stout - the branches should be about the width of your thumb and should be about two fist-widths apart.
- Pre-mix the dry ingredients prior to departure. Don't worry; the seemingly miniscule amounts of salt and baking powder are more than enough.
- Pour a small mound of dry mixture onto your flat surface; add water a few drops at a time until a thick dough is formed. Keep adding mixture and water until all mixture is used (or until you have enough. If you're wise you'll carry a fairly large bag of mixture; enough for several days).
- Be careful - consistency is critical. The dough must be thick enough to braid. Add water slowly and add less than you think you need.
- Form dough into a ball and let it rise 10-15 minutes; use this to build up the fire to cooking temperature.
- Roll the dough into a 'Plasticene snake' about 2 inches across. Braid the snake around the ends of the Y-shaped stick tucking the ends in at the bottom. Then simply roast it in front of (not over) the fire, flipping every 1-2minutes until golden-brown. (If you hold it over the fire you'll cook it too fast).
- Let cool for a few seconds and tear pieces off. Serve with butter, but it's better dipped into meat juice. In winter, dip into white bacon fat and roast until the fat is brown - good fuel at 30 degrees below zero.
- Pan-cooked: Exactly the same preparation except add more water until it forms a very thick batter - twice the thickness of pancake batter. Let rise for 10 minutes. Pour into frypan and cook slowly until golden brown. Serve as above.