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Oatmeal Bannock

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Makes 1 round loaf

4 ounces (about 1 cup) rolled oats, ground finely in a food processor
4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk (see note 1 below)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, and rub or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pea-sized lumps of butter are okay.

2. Mix the buttermilk and baking soda together. It should foam a little. Add to the flour mixture, and mix gently and quickly with a spatula, until a dough forms. If needed, add a little extra buttermilk or flour to adjust the consistency; it should look very wet, but not soupy.

3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, heavily floured with whole wheat flour. Dust the top of the dough with additional whole wheat flour, and pat into a flat disc, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a bench scraper, fold the dough in half over itself. Pat until flat again, dusting with flour if necessary. Continue folding and patting flat until the dough is firm enough to move.

4. Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-low heat. Transfer the dough carefully into the pan. Using the bench scraper, score the top of the dough with a cross, taking care not to cut all the way through the dough.

5. Reduce the heat to low. Cook over low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the bottom begins to brown in spots. Carefully flip over (see note 2 below), and cook the top side for 7 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to brown in spots. Flip the bread over if it begins to brown too much on either side, and cook until the interior has cooked through, about 14 to 20 minutes total. Do not cook too quickly, lest the outside burn before the interior is fully cooked.

6. When done, transfer to a wire rack. Cool briefly, and serve warm.

1. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make an acceptible substitute by adding 2 teaspoons white vinegar to a scant 1 cup milk. Stir, and let stand 5 to 10 minutes, or until clumpy. Use as directed in the recipe.

2. This bread can be tricky to flip over, as the dough is fairly wet, and the bread is larger than most spatulas. Try sliding the bread out of the pan onto a large plate, then carefully inverting it back into the pan.

From A Bread A Day
Adapted from Bread, by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter


Alternate version:

4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
2 teaspoons melted fat (bacon fat, if available)
2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoons hot water
Additional oatmeal for kneading

Mix the oatmeal, salt and bicarbonate and pour in the melted fat into the centre of the mixture. Stir well, using a porridge stick if you have one and add enough water to make into a stiff paste. Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto this. Work quickly as the paste is difficult to work if it cools. Divide into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to around quarter inch thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the flattened mixture and cut round to leave a circular oatcake. Cut into quarters (also called farls) and place in a heated pan which has been lightly greased. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Get ready with another oatcake while the first is being cooked.

An alternative method of cooking is to bake them in an oven at Gas5/375F/190C for about 30 minutes or until brown at the edges. The quantities above will be enough for two bannocks about the size of a dessert plate. If you want more, do them in batches rather than making larger quantities of mixture. Store in a tin and reheat in a moderate oven when required.

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