Campfire cooking

Larry's Campfire Cooking
Millennium Camp Bannock
Irish Soda Bread



Recipe #1 Simple bannock

2 ½ cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tblsp lard
1 cup cold water (approx)

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the lard and mix in thoroughly. Gradually add the water (you may not need it all) and mix until the dough is thoroughly dampened, but not sticky.
Knead the dough on a floured board for 30 seconds. Flatten the dough to 1/2" thick. Cut into 8 pieces, and fry in a lightly greased frying pan, on medium heat, for 12-15 minutes each side.

Recipe #2: Bannock for six

3 cups of white flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour
½ cup of bran
½ cup of wheat germ
2 tbsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
2/3 cup of shortening
2/3 cup of milk powder


Tips for making Bannock

Tip #1

There are no rules. As you can see, the two recipes listed above are quite different. Bannock is usually made from whatever ingredients you have on hand. The recipe will be altered to create the type of mixture you require, for whatever method you are cooking it. Minimum ingredients would include some type of flour, and a liquid to bind the flour together. I have eaten bannock made from just flour and water, cooked on a hot rock, in an open fire, and I found it to be delicious. However, if you took the same two ingredients, and mixed in too much liquid, you will create a great glue for paper mache. In order to make great bannock, you must practice, practice, practice. Typical bannock recipes might include ingredients from the following categories:

white all purpose, whole wheat, cracked wheat, etc…
Exotic types of flour could include flour made from the roots of plants, and the inner bark of trees.
Rendered Fat
butter, margarine, cooking oil, bacon grease and lard are among the modern favorites

Baking Powder
nice if you want the bannock to be fluffy and light in texture.

a pinch will help bring out the flavors

brown is my favorite.

Tip #2

Always thourally mix the dry ingredients, then add the fat and mix again until it is all absorbed. Lastly add the water, a little at a time, until you have a dough of the right consistency for your cooking method.

Tip #3

There are many things you can add to Bannock to alter it's taste.

Tip #4

Cooking methods can change both taste and texture

Tip #5

Experiment with different combinations of ingredients and cooking methods in order to discover which work best for you. To help you along, try some of the recipes listed below.

Australian Damper

Mix up your favorite Bannock recipe.
Add dried fruit. Wrap and seal in foil,
Bury it at bottom of fire for about half an hour. Extract cooked fruit bread from foil.
The outside will probably be burned, and can just be committed to the flames.
The centre can be removed, smothered with butter, and enjoyed.

Cinnamon Rolls

Mix up you favourite bannock mix, and roll it out thin on a flat surface.
Spread a thin layer of margarine over the entire surface
Sprinkle brown sugar and powdered cinnamon on top of the margarine
Roll up like a jelly roll, and place in an oven to bake.

Dog Biscuits

Slice a wiener open and fill with a small slice of processed cheese.
Secure the wiener to a green wood skewer.
Take a piece of bannock dough in your hand, and flatten it out into a 4 by 4 inch piece.
Completely enclose the wiener in the bannock, and pinch the ends tight to secure the wiener and filling.
Roast over the coals, making sure to rotate it often enough to cook the bannock evenly on all sides.
Cooking should take approximately fifteen minutes.
For a different variation, try changing the type of filling. some possibilities are:
Sauerkraut, pickles, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, chilli, beans, hot peppers, etc...

Bannock on a stick

When in the bush, this is probably one of the easiest ways to cook bannock, and there are no dishes to clean. You should use a green stick. The bark can be left on, or taken off, as desired, but you should try and find a stick that does not have a bitter taste to it, or the bitterness will be absorbed by the bannock. Just take a strip of bannock and wrap it around the green stick, so it looks like the stripe on a candy cane. Set up a rest so you will not have to hold the stick over the coals.

It is not very difficult to master the art of cooking this way if you remember one simple thing. The heat has to have time to penetrate inside whatever you are cooking. If you have your food too close to the fire, it will burn on the outside, and still be cold, or raw on the inside. Rule of thumb tells you to keep larger items farther away from the fire, so they will cook slower and more evenly than smaller items.

Fresh Pie

Collect fresh blueberries, saskatoons, strawberries, or what have you. Clean them and mix in lots of white sugar. Roll out a thin piece of bannock, and place in a lightly greased pan. Add the berries and sugar combination, and top with another thin layer of bannock. Pinch the top layer all around the edge of the pan, to seal in the berries. Take a fork and punch holes in the top to allow steam to escape. Place in the oven until done.

One Burner Pizza

Mix up your favorite bannock, and press into a circular shape, the size of the bottom in your skillet. Bannock should be about .75cm thick, and fairly stiff in consistancy. Place the bannock into the dry skillet and set it on top of one burner (medium low heat) and brown the underside of the bannock. You must keep the bannock from sticking to the pan by shaking the pan from side to side. (Once the bannock starts to brown, it will become easier to do this)

When the underside is cooked sufficiently, flip the bannock over. Add pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings to the cooked side, lower the heat, and cover the pan. While the bottom cooks, the cheese and toppings will heat up. When the cheese is melted, remove from the heat, and let it cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the pan.

Irish Soda Bread

Made just like Bannock only with Baking Soda!

4 ½ cups unbleached white flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups buttermilk

Preheat reflector oven with a fairly hot fire.

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center, and pour the milk into the well.
Mix in the flour from sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary.
The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured counter.
Knead lightly and pat into a round about 1 ½ inches deep.
With a sharp knife, cut the dough ½ way through, from one side to the other, and make a second cut at right angles to form a cross. With the point of the knife, make a small cut in the middle of each triangle, close to the edge "to let the fairies out." as Granddad always said.
Bake in reflector oven for 45 minutes, or until cooked.
Tap the bottom of the bread, it should sound hollow when done.
If you try this at home, bake in 450° F preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 400° F for remainder.

Beans in a Hole

The art of cooking in a hole in the ground was used for hundreds of years by Maine's Penobscot Indians. Today, bean-hole beans are still a popular Maine tradition.

The ideal pot for full flavor is a cast iron kettle with a lid (often referred to as a Dutch oven). If you don't have one and can't borrow one, any sturdy pot with a lid will do.

  1. Dig a hole in the ground large enough to hold the pot with two or three inches of clearance on all sides, and at least six inches of clearance on top.
  2. Build a fire in the hole with dry firewood and let it burn down to large embers and ash while preparing the beans.
  3. Parboil two quarts of dry beans until the skins wrinkle. Drain off the fluid.
  4. Slice a large onion and place half of the slices in the bean bean pot.
  5. Pour in half of the beans.
  6. Add another layer of sliced onion and several large slabs of salt pork or bacon.
  7. Add the remaining beans.
  8. Measure one cup of dark molasses and pour over the top of the beans.
  9. Add enough water to cover the beans.
  10. When the fire has burned down in the bean hole, shovel out enough of the embers and ashes to make room for the pot, and place the pot in the hole.
  11. Place a wet dish towel over the top of the uncovered pot and push the lid securely down over the cloth.
  12. Place embers and ashes around the sides and on top of the pot, then cover these with the dirt you removed when you dug the hole.

Cook for approximately 6 hours for absolutely delicious beans.

Serves approximately four.

Note: Many foods have enhanced flavor when cooked in a hole in the ground in this manner. If you dig the hole in an appropriate place, you can continue to use it for outdoor cooking.

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