If you’ve ever heard of bannock bread, your image of what they look and taste like might vary depending on where you are. The traditional Scottish bannocks were unleavened oat cakes that were cooked often on a griddle, but sometimes in an oven or Dutch oven. The most basic of these oat bannocks is plain with no added flavorings, though sometimes fruit or nuts might be added.
When Scottish immigrants settled in Canada in the 1700s and 1800s, then a British colony, they brought their cooking traditions with them. But, as time went on the Canadian style of bannock bread evolved and merged with other traditions, including First Nations cuisine.
The bannocks that are well known in Canada today share more in common with what we call fry bread in the US, but have a unique flavor and texture all their own. Placed side-by-side you might not even know that Scottish and Canadian bannock breads are related as they look quite different.
To make Canadian bannock bread you only need a few ingredients: flour, salt, butter, baking soda, and water for the dough and oil to fry the bread in. It might not sound like much, but when done right this bread is incredibly tasty.
It’s buttery and fluffy on the inside, and crispy on the outside. Unlike Scottish bannocks which are made to the pan size and then cut into quarters, Canadian bannock bread is fried piece by piece which gives them a unique shape.
This shape also happens to be ideal for holding and dipping so it works out well.
I like to have these breads with some soup or stew to dip in. Or if I’m feeling lazy after all that frying sometimes I just have them with beans! You can also eat them with just a slap of butter and a bit of jam for a divine dessert or breakfast, too.
These bannock breads are best when eaten the day they’re made. But, if you have leftovers you can store them in the fridge and then reheat them on a sheet pan in the oven at 325˚F to get them to nearly their former glory.
They crisp up again when reheated this way and make wonderful treats for the next morning. Basically there’s no wrong time of day for bannock bread.
Canadian Bannock Bread
Makes 6 bannock breads
15m prep time
10m cook time
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Whisk flour with baking powder and salt in large bowl. Whisk in butter, followed by water. Mix until dough forms.
- Heat oil to 350˚F. Turn out dough onto floured surface. Knead 10 times. Form into 6 balls, then flatten slightly to make disks.
- Drop carefully into hot oil and cook for 5 minutes on each side until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towel-lined plate for 2 minutes before serving. Serve with stew or sauce of your choice. Or eat with a bit of honey or jam for a sweet treat.
Recipe adapted from An Italian in My Kitchen.