Bannock Bread: dense and rustic-looking loaf


July 31, 2002|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

James McSherry of Frederick wrote requesting a recipe for Bannock Bread. "Some years ago, my wife and son and I attended the World's Fair in Vancouver and whilst there enjoyed a salmon sandwich made with bannock bread.

"Not only was the fish delightful, but the bread was supreme. I searched numerous cookbooks and found a recipe but the result I got following the recipe carefully was not up to the memory of the bread in Vancouver. If you could find the recipe I'd be much obliged," McSherry said.

A.E. Richards of Berryville, Va., responded with a recipe and a note: "I copied this from an old Irish linen tea towel. But I didn't try it myself. The towel also had other recipes on it."

Bannock Bread

Serves 2

8 ounces (1 cup) whole-wheat flour

4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour

1 level teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

approximately 1/2 cup buttermilk, or more

Mix first 4 ingredients. Make a well in the center and stir in enough buttermilk until mixture forms a firm dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead briefly. Spread the dough out into a greased square cake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden-brown.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "A traditional Cree bannock bread is a simple type of pan-fried scone the Canadian pioneers cooked over an open fire in the woods, often sweetened with sugar and raisins and some with the addition of rolled oats. The pan-fried versions usually yield a tough, dense muffinlike bread that doesn't make terrific sandwiches.

"I think James McSherry was looking for something that would be usable as sandwich bread, so this oven-baked one is more workable. The result is still dense, but the rustic-looking loaf can be sliced and even toasted. The recipe said to cook for a longer time at a lower temperature, 350 degrees for 45 minutes, but I think it would yield a tougher loaf."

Recipe requests

Joseph D. Bailey, 78, of Longview, Wash., writes that he wants to make some gooseberry pie and even some jam. He says he and others used to stem the berries before washing them. He explained: "Our mom would give us kids a pillowcase, and we put the berries in it. We would each grab an end and then shake it real hard. It made our job a lot easier than picking each berry."

Elizabeth Wake of Baltimore says she wants a mild and delicious salsa like the one she had "at an open house at Sascha's Catering on Charles Street. It was sensational, but it was unusual in that it had no onions, peppers or anything hot, so everyone could enjoy it. I would be so grateful for this recipe."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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