Bannock bread has become popular for Beltane rituals. It's easy to prepare and so versatile that it has been a camper's favourite for generations. As a fire festival associated with fertility, Beltane is celebrated outdoors by Pagans of different paths. This makes bannock bread a perfect treat to make over the campfire with a group of friends and family.
The recipe for the bread is believed to have originated in Scotland and traveled to North America with fur traders and adapted by Native Americans for their famous fry bread. It contains no yeast, and eggs are optional. This is one reason it's so popular in wilderness cooking.
There are numerous variations to the recipe. It can be made plain or sweet, with herbs or fruit. Different flours and oats can be used.
A basic recipe consists of the following ingredients:
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
4 tablespoons oil or butter
1-1/2 to 2 cups water
Mix the dry ingredients. The sugar is optional and should be left out if you are serving this with a dinner meal like chili or stew. Add the oil, then the water until you have bread dough consistency.
Roll the dough onto a floured surface and knead 10-20 times. In the meantime, start heating oil in a skillet on medium heat. Use enough oil to liberally cover the pan. Break the dough into tennis ball size pieces and flatten to between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. You will need to experiment with this especially if you are cooking over a campfire. If the dough is too thin, it will burn. If it's too thick, it will be doughy inside.
Place the dough pieces in the pan and fry on one side approximately 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip and do the same for the other side. These cook quickly, so watch carefully. Place on paper towel to drain excess oil, then serve hot.
A halved batch of this recipe made seven bannocks, so this recipe would make about 14. I added honey instead of sugar and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on them for a breakfast treat. Some recipes call for keeping the dough in one piece and frying it in the pan that way. The beauty of this dish is that it isn't a science, and you can be creative.
Bannock bread can be made into buns and quick pizza crusts. Milk can be used instead of water. You could add herbs like rosemary or basil with cheese and serve with Italian food. Add dried fruits like raisins and drizzle with maple syrup or honey for a sweet treat. This quick bread is an excellent way to celebrate the bounty of the earth at Beltane or any of the Sabbats.