July 26, 2020

Bannock Bread – SHETLAND – Cooking on the Edge of the World

Bannocks are a Shetlandic staple. Since the book dedicates ten pages it, I thought I'd follow some instruction.

Cooking bread without yeast and over fire takes 10 pages of this great book by father and son,  Tom and James Morton. It’s not just a recipe book. It’s a book about place, culture and community spirit. Shetland’s food stems from survival and this book takes you on a journey around Shetland and the people that make it what it is. SHETLAND – Cooking on the Edge of World

The bannock is a mixture of flour and liquid with a chemical leavening agent. It had been a staple across Scotland, but has now largly died out, but for in Shetland.

  • 550g (4 1/2 cups) self raising flour – plus lots of extra for forming.
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 280ml (1 cup) of buttermilk
  • 280ml (1 cup) of wholemilk

Mix the dry ingredients first, add the buttermilk and whole milk.

It should look like a batter. You can add more flour if you want a more manageable constistancy. But if you want the lightest bannocks, keep it wet. Don’t over mix.

With plenty of flour on your worksurface, scoop out a 1/4 of the mixture. Sprinkle with more flour and with floured hands, work into something resembling a round.

Transfer to a heated griddle, no oil or butter is necessary.

Cooking bannock over fire is traditional. A griddle hung above the hearth of the same fire that heated the house. But a heavy frying pan on a medium heat will also do the job.

5 minutes on each side should see them risen and deep brown in colour.

Once all the edges look done, leave to cool to at least luke warm.

I served with a very tasty Helmsley Brewery Jacky Boy Stout.

This recipe, including bannock history and science are available in SHETLAND – Cooking on the Edge of World


One response to “Bannock Bread – SHETLAND – Cooking on the Edge of the World

  1. This looks very similar to Irish griddle bread, my granny would make it every week. I make it from time to time but hers always tasted better as it was cooked on a peat range. I didn’t think to cook it on a campfire.

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