Bannock has been a staple food of wilderness explorers, prospectors, soldiers, and trappers for centuries. Portable, nutritious, tasty and easy to make while surviving in the outdoors, bannocks legendary reputation continues as one of the best survival foods you can bring into the wilderness.
Bannock is high in carbohydrates and complements the proteins of pemmican, jerky, the arctic survival ration, and other meats. It can be used as a hearty stand-alone food or combined with foraged wild edibles such as berries, fruits, and meats.
What is Bannock?
Bannock is a bread that you can cook using little more than a fire and a stick though it can also be baked or fried. Names for bannock include bushbread, trail bread, grease bread and galette.
Bannocks origins are lost in the mists of time, but some believe bannock was first made by the Scotts from the same oat flour that gave their horses great strength and endurance. With stomachs fed with hearty oat bannock those who became explorers and mountain men in the new world introduced the bannock recipe to the Native Americans and other outdoorsmen who lived in the wilderness.
The most simple bannock recipe consists of just flour of nearly any kind and water. Kneaded into a dough and wrapped around a green stick, this most basic bannock cooks into a fine tasting bread that can be eaten alone or used as a basis for a full course meal.
There are a great many other bannock recipies that will make your mouth water and give you the impetus to try your hand at making your own. In the pictures you can see me cooking one of my favorite bannock recipes over an open fire in the forest:
Survival Topics Bannock on a Green Stick
This is my favorite way to make bannock as it brings forth the image of mountain men from a bygone era cooking over an open fire.
The following recipe provides enough bannock for one day. Stored in a waterproof bag, it is easy to carry a week or ten day supply.
- 1-cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons milk powder
Mix all the ingredients well, making sure the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Sometimes I will melt the butter before adding it to the mixture. Then slowly add water while mixing until a dough ball is formed.
Make the bannock dough into a cigar shape and wrap it around a green stick. Try to keep the thickness of the dough about ½ inch.
Slowly roast the bannock over a hot fire, rotating occasionally until it turns a golden brown. You will hear the butter sizzling and your stomach rumble as the bannock cooks.
Multi-flour Bannock Recipe
This combination of flours, spices, and dried fruit makes the bannock a delicious meal of itself and makes me hungry just thinking about it. It can be cooked over an open fire on a green stick or formed into a loaf and baked and makes a 3-day supply:
- 1 Cup Barley flour \
- 1 Cup Wheat flour
- 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 1/2 to 1 Cup Raisins or other dried fruit
- 1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tbsp. Coarse Ground Salt
- 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. Cloves
- 1 tbsp. Nutmeg
If you like fried foods then you need to try fried Bannock.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup margarine/butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tbsp salt
Mix all the ingredients so a dough ball is formed. Break off pieces and flatten into rounds about ½ inch thick. Fry to a golden brown in the oil of your choice.
Try Making Bannock
Bannock is a fulfilling meal that can be used to supplement natural foods foraged from your surroundings. When hiking in the wilderness I like to have enough pre-mixed bannock recipe for at least one meal each day.
Try out various combinations of bannock mixed with fruits, nuts and seeds, cheeses, meats, fish and a variety of spices. Wilderness meals containing bannock can satisfy even the most discriminating palate.
Bannock is easy to cook and is an excellent comfort food that will elevate your mood and fill your stomach. There is nothing quite like the sight and smell of fresh bannock cooking over an open fire at the end of a hard day surviving in the wilderness.