Bannock is a classic yet simple unleavened bread which can be cooked with a campfire. It’s great to make these when out in the woods. Delicious with butter when warm, they are almost like a large scone when dried fruit is added. Use your campfire in the evenings to bake these breads, then carry them with you for lunch the following day.
Bannock is deceptively filling. We are used to bread containing a lot of air. By contrast, bannock is dense, and goes a long way further than you would think by looking at it. Below is our favourite recipe for making campfire bannock…
Bannock is a straightforward recipe with few ingredients. Here we are going to make it using only the type of Zebra billy can many bushcrafters carry with them.
The ingredients you need for this recipe are as follows:
Dried fruit (optional)
As with any baking, mix the dry ingredients before any liquids. While travelling, flour and powdered milk tends to settle, reducing in volume as air is knocked out of it. Hence, it’s worthwhile getting some air back into the dry mix first.
Bannock – How Do You Like Yours?
Please let us know if you try to method. We’d love to hear how you get on with it. Also, if you already enjoy baking bannocks, let us know in the comments below what’s your favourite addition to the basic mix or what do you like to eat with it? Do you like it savoury or sweet?…
Paul Kirtley is Founder and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog. He is the author of Wilderness Axe Skills and Campcraft, as well as having contributed to several other books. Paul has been involved in teaching bushcraft since 2003. He is also a Canoe Leader, British Canoeing Level 3 Canoe Coach and UK Summer Mountain Leader.
Great instructional piece. As an alternative try replacing the dried fruit with precooked or ready to eat meats such as jerky, pepperoni or bacon bits.
Edward van Zijll de Jong
Great article . The way of instruction by pics is very pleasant. I like my bannocks with maple syrup or chocolade chocolate chips.
Thanks, having just failed miserably trying the bread wrapped around a stick I think I’ll try this way. 99% sure I added too much water the first time so the mix was far too heavy to hang over the fire!
I put the lid on the insert, stick the whole thing on hot embers & rake more coals on top, all round heat without the hassle of propping things up – less easy to tell when it’s done tho’…
Yes I use the lid for a mini oven good fori individual pizzas too
Instead of carrying all those ingredients on different containers…..try mixing all the ingredients at home in a food bag preferavly zip loc. When ready to cook add water into the bag and knead…saves getting your hands covered in the mix and hel o s keep the mix clean. It also takes up so much less space.
I agree with mixing at home.
But I don’t agree with mixing it with water in the bag. I’d rather keep my garbage dry and stink free. The bags are also easily reusable if they’re only exposed to the dry ingredients.
Maybe but individual ingredients gives you more flexibility to use in different things. I’m use force tastes nasty if the milk powder is already mixed with flour baking powder and raisins 😀
If your on fixed preset menu then yes makes sense
I’m not a fan of pre-mixing unless I’m on a short trip and have limited time. With only a few ingredients, you can make many different things but if you pre-mix, you are stuck with what you decided beforehand. Also, on longer trips lots of different pre-mixes for different things actually adds to the complexity of what you have in your food bag/barrel.
Thanks for the stimulation of this article with the clear pictures and instructions .
This bread making lark is a great ritual weather on an expedition or at home . Getting the carbohydrate into the system can be about survival itself . If I can not cook for whatever reason I mix porridge oats peanut butter and honey in order to fuel up quickly . However if time allows it is great fun making bread on a fire . The bannock recipe sounds like Irish soda bread . I tend to make the Arab style flat bread that involves yeast and needs time to rise . However it can be fitted into the expedition routine with a bit of planning . The bread works as a wrap for the food and is still used as a food scoop instead of cutlery in many countries . it can be cooked direct on the embers .
Hi David. Thanks very much for your comments.
Oh man do I love me some bannock! I eat it daily when tripping. That’s a nice simple way of preparing and cooking it.
I prep mine a little differently to aid in cleanup. I mix the dry ingredients and water in the same pan I cook in and I mix it with a stick to keep my hands clean. Once mixed I dust the sticky ball with flour and press it flat by hand before taking it out of the pan and setting it on the flour bag while I preheat the pan for cooking. This keeps the stickies off your hands (mostly) and leaves only the cooking pan for cleanup. The mixing stick goes in the fire when done.
I carry a small skillet so usually cook mine directly over the fire. Adding olive oil to the pan to give it a little fry is bit of heaven. I prefer to eat mine hot off the fire rather than cooking it up the day before.
I used to make bannock this way. I have also swapped plain flour for self raising flour and you don’t then need the baking powder. In summer when fresh berries are available I’ve added those to the bamnock mix too.
I love making these for breakfast with bacon or sausages. And maybe a spare for later in the day.
Does anybody have a method of cooking bannock without powdered milk? Or any dairy products to be precise
Hi Richard, you can cook it without powdered milk. Just add a little sugar. Best, Paul
Paul, on my canoe trips, I’m usually leading a larger group (8-12 people). Most participants will be new to bannock. In these situations I make a large breakfast bannock by adding some canola oil, powder egg, powdered milk, cinnamon and raisins to the basic recipe. After the morning coffee is made, I rake coals out from the fire and cook the bannock slowly in a large steel frypan.
Fry Pan Cake
I use the same flour, olive oil and baking soda mix as bannock
Mix it with water to a firm but pourable mixture
Heat and oil a fry pan till drops of water will dance across the pan
Pour in the mix and cover the pan and leave it
When there are fixed holes in the batter on the top of the pancake, flip the cake
Much easier than a bannock as you have no need to knead and have clean hands
It is not so critical the heat of the fire to pan bake
The mix can take anything you wish to put into it just like bannock
Lock down bannocks .First time making so did it at home .come out great very nice with butter and jam ..look forward to making them around the camp fire .
How are the bannocks coming along?
I will be having a go using this recipe in a few weeks time when I visit a bit of hillside woodland near Loch Lomond.
I think I will premix in a bag, and give it a shake up, then remove what I need to mix with water in my Billy Can.
I’ll be giving it a try with some lactose free formula instead of powdered milk, and hopefully be having it with some freshly foraged fungi, Berries, or one of each if I’m lucky.
Thanks for another great article.