Crude Food for All

We didn’t have bacon very often when I was a kid, but on those rare occasions that my dad brought some home, we were always careful to save the bacon grease so that we could make bannock. Or banack, or bannog. I’ve seen this fried bread spelled a variety of ways and attributed variously to Mongolians, Polish, Native Americans, and Cossacks. It’s quite a simple dish and I can imagine more than one culture has invented it. As I’ve discovered, it’s also extremely versatile. When I became a vegetarian, I substituted butter for bacon grease. When my friend who is gluten-intolerant visits, I alter the flour I use. When a vegan friend visits, I substitute soy milk or water for the cow’s milk and use shortening or olive oil instead of butter. No matter how I have made this recipe, it never fails to elicit a request for the recipe, which I don’t actually have. Here is how I usually make it:

3-4 Cups of a few different kinds of flour (I like to use a combination of oats, wheat germ, oat bran, garbanzo flour, and buckwheat, but plain old white flour works very well too.)
2 pinches of salt.
1 Tablespoon or less brown sugar
(Mix all the above together in a bowl)
Cut in 1/2 stick of butter or so.
Make a well in the middle and add about 1-1/2 Cups milk. The dough should be wet but workable. If it’s too dry add some more milk or yoghurt. If it’s too wet add some more flour.
Take the dough between your palms and flatten it to about 1 inch thick. Dust both sides with flour.
Put it in a hot cast iron skillet with about 2 table spoons of butter to fry it. I keep it on pretty high heat for about
7 minutes, then flipped it and turned the heat down for about another 10 minutes or less. Served with butter.

This bread keeps very well, but I rarely have any left. Delicious with hearty soups!


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