Home on the range

Avoid panic: Make bannock

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The winter camper keen on survival is keen on gear: sleeping bag, long johns, wool socks, pocketknife, flashlight, fleece, parka, warm gloves, big boots. Also bannock, which is bread mix. Add water, stir with a stick, and the camper is prepared to produce any type of bread — pancake to pate en croute.

Bannock can be pressed into pizza, pita, biscuit, bun, fritter, fruitcake, potpie or boule. Wrapped around a twig and propped over the flames, the sticky dough chars into curly quick bread. Bannock can probably pitch a tent, light a fire and scare off wolves.

Recipes for bannock salt the camping memoir, along with instructions for frying up deer heart with onion. Presumably those resourceful enough to fry up deer heart with onion don't actually consult the recipe.

If you've never heard of the rustic staple, it likely is because a) you don't camp, or b) you're vague on Canada. Bannock is strictly a north-of-the-border phenom. Bannock traces its roots to scone-toting Scottish explorers, who inspired fry-bread-crisping locals, yielding the low, gritty cake with the can-do attitude.

It's also easy, crisping up over the fire — or, for the armchair camper, the stovetop — making quick work of both scone and winter survival.


Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 8

1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon fine salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
¾ cup buttermilk (or substitute 10 tablespoons milk mixed with 2 tablespoons plain yogurt)
Mild oil (such as canola) and unsalted butter, for crisping
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

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