Quick Bread: Snake Bread (Bannock)

posted by mikeb 01-21-103 2:26 PM

Snake Bread (Bannock)
Sports Afield magazine

Bannock has been the traditional outdoor bread of the American north since the 17th Century. With a little practice, ordinary Bannock can become Snake Bread if you bake it on a green switch. All the ingredients can be mixed at home and carried in plastic bags. When ready to use, add water.

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp buttermilk powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water to mix with each packet

Ingredients should be blended together dry, the vegetable oil worked in carefully to form a coarse meal. At high altitude the oil should be good for several days(you can use oleo instead of veg oil).

When ready to use: add 1/2 cup water to the premixed packet, a tad less if you are doing snake bread, and blend the ingredients. You can do this right in the bag if you are very careful. Oldtimers would blend it right in the flour sack.

When blended, open the plastic bag exposing the dough to air and allow the mixture to rest about 10 minutes.

Cut a green switch or branch the size and length of a broom handle for each packet. Leave numerous 1 inch stubs for the last 10-12 inches toward the cooking end of the switch. Heat the stub end of the switch. Snip off a half inch corner of the plastic bag, using it as a chefs pastry tube, extrude the dough onto the hot switch, turning the switch with one hand to wrap the dough around it, snake fashion. Works a lot better with two people doing this.
Keep turning the switch and move it immediately to the hottest part of the fire.

When the dough sets, plant the heavy end of the switch in the ground, angling the bread over the fire, turning occasionally to avoid burning. The bread will take at least 20 minutes to bake.

For a less spectacular performance, cook the Bannock in a skillet or lightweight pan. Grease the pan first and let get hot before turning the dough in. With a spoon, flatten the ball of dough to make a 1/2 inch pie with a two inch hole in the center. This allows the top to brown evenly. Flip or turn the loaf regularly.

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