Although wheat and wheat flour are not native to North America, a simple quick bread usually called "bannock" has become traditional fare for Native Americans across the continent. Ingredients vary between regions and even families, but the most traditional versions are plain and frugal. It's a biscuit-like dough made with minimal fat and no eggs, and typically cooked in a heavy cast-iron skillet.
Things You'll Need
- Baking powder
- Sugar or brown sugar (optional)
- Cooking fat such as shortening, butter or vegetable oil
- Water, milk or a mixture of both
- Heavy cast-iron skillet
- Vegetable oil
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and optional sugar until they're well combined. Cut in solid fat until the mixture resembles fine meal. If you're using a liquid fat such as oil or melted butter, rub it into the flour with your fingertips to make crumbs.
Pour in enough water, or a mixture of milk and water, to make a soft, rather sticky dough. Stir until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball, then turn it out onto a well-floured work surface.
Press the dough with your fingertips, flattening it into a rough disc 8 to 10 inches in diameter, whatever will fit your skillet. Kneading the dough isn't necessary, though some recipes call for it. A kneaded bannock is neater but slightly denser.
Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Hold your hand an inch above the surface of the skillet every few minutes to check its temperature. Once it's hot, oil the pan lightly and slide the dough into the skillet.
Cook the bannock for 5 to 7 minutes on the first side, until it's golden and has a thick enough crust to be reasonably rigid. Turn it with a large spatula, or by sliding the dough onto a plate and then inverting it back into the pan. Cook it on the second side for another 5 to 7 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the dough comes out clean.
Serve the bannock hot or cold, cut into wedges or broken into individual servings.
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