Bannocks at Castle Leoch

Bannocks at Castle Leoch

“Weel now, that’s verra gude. Now, ye’ve just time for a wee bite, then I must take you to himself.”

“Himself?” I said. I didn’t care for the sound of this. Whoever Himself was, he was likely to ask difficult questions.

“Why, the MacKenzie to be sure. Whoever else?” 

[. . .]

I had no appetite for the bannocks and parritch that Mrs. FitzGibbons had brought for my breakfast, but crumbled a bit and pretended to eat, in order to gain some time for thought. By the time Mrs. Fitz came back to conduct me to the MacKenzie, I had cobbled together a rough plan.


Mrs Fitz’s bannocks (and/or their close cousin, the oatcake), would have been on the table at every meal, and you would have always found a plate of them keeping warm near the edge of the cooking hearth all day long 

Traditional bannocks from Mrs Fitz's kitchens were dense round cakes of oat and/or barley flour, animal fat and water/milk,cooked on a griddle pan, or girdle. The cakes were split into 8 equal wedges (farls) and consumed, for the most part, while still warm. This modern recipe yields light and flaky biscuitlike bannocks, thanks be to wheat and baking powder.

I looked at approximately 1,538 recipes for bannocks while researching for Outlander Kitchen. Most modern recipes incorporate wheat flour and use butter instead of baking fat. Many call for buttermilk to tenderize the dough, but I chose yogurt to do the same thing for a couple of reasons: 1) I've found more OK readers have yogurt in their fridge than buttermilk.  2) The Recipe Index already has a few recipes that use buttermilk, and I like to mix things up.

I cut my bannocks into rectangles because that's what this verra practical bannock baker in Shetland does. Roll the dough into a square, cut 12 rectangular bannocks and bake. There's no scraps to re-roll -- easy peasy, fresh and squeezy.

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