August 11. 2022
Good grief, has it really been three years since my last blog post? Yep. Pandemic, knee injury, recovery. While I was laid up, I watched a lot of a British TV series about archaeology called Time Team. And that got me interested in medieval life, and foods eaten during that time period. As a result, I learned how to make bannock bread like they had in Scotland back in the day. It is surprisingly easy and very delicious! (Easier than figuring out how to use this changed WordPress format.)
Picture yourself back in Scotland in medieval times Viking raiders are on the horizon and you need to flee to the hills with your sheep. You don’t have time to make a yeast bread for the journey, so you make a quick bannock bread.
The only difficulty I had was finding oat flour. I didn’t see any in the local grocery stores, so I made my own by grinding rolled oats in a blender. Easy, peasy. In an attempt to emulate wheat flour from medieval times. I used a blend of white whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. The former is made from white wheat. It is a bit more delicate than regular whole wheat flour. Most wheat flours are made from red wheat. I use Bob’s Red Mill and/or King Arthur flours.
Other recipes call for buttermilk, but I don’t keep that in my kitchen. I make my own from half and half, 2% butterfat milk, and lime juice. We grow our own limes and always have frozen lime juice in the freezer. I squeeze and freeze the juice in ice cube trays when the limes are ripe, and we always have some around.
You will need something to score the bread before it cooks. I used this nifty bread dough cutter. Just be careful not to cut the bread all the way through.
I used a ceramic bowl and wooden spoon to mix the dough, and that felt very authentic.
The baking soda is going to need an acid to make the dough rise. Originally, people used buttermilk. I never have any of that, so I make my own. I used 1/4 C half and half, 1/2 C 2% butterfat milk, and 4 tsp of lime juice. We have a lime tree and there is always frozen lime juice here. I squeeze the lime and freeze the juice in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in a ZipLoc bag. You can also use lemon juice if you have that. Or you can milk the cow and make your own buttermilk, however that is done, if you think you have time. Remember, the Vikings are coming!
SCOTTISH BANNOCK BREAD
1.5 C oat flour made from rolled oats
1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C all purpose wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 C half and half
1/2 C 2% butterfat milk
4 tsp lime or lemon juicce
2 T honey
Mix the half and half, milk, and lime juice together and let sit for 15 minutes, then mix in the honey. Mix the dry ingredients together, Add the milk mixture with honey to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Turn out onto a floured board and pat into a circle that is about 7 inches across. Score with whatever tool you have available. Preheat a 12″ cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Add the bannock and cook for about 20 minutes on one side over medium heat. Flip carefully and cook for about 15 minutes on the other side. Invert onto a cutting board. Cut into four pieces. Cut each wedge in half and slather with butter and orange marmalade to serve.
First photo is the flipped bannock, showing the cooked bottom.
I had a dickens of a time trying to figure out this changed WordPress format. I didn’t get the photos put where I wanted them, but I think the text is at last coherent. This really is an easy recipe, even easier than making scones. Let me know how your bannock came out. It is tasty and quite filling.