Simple Scottish Bannocks Recipe

by Phil & Sonja
Scottish Bannocks Recipe

Bannocks are well-known across Scotland, but it’s hard to find a traditional bannocks recipe because everyone has their own version!

The name Bannock seems to originate from the Old Celtic English “bannuc”, derived from the Latin “panicium” for “bread” or meaning “anything baked”. Made simply from oatmeal and flour, the first citing of a bannock or bannuc recipe in Scotland was in the 8th Century. It’s amazing this tasty bread is still baked today!

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How to Make Scottish Bannocks Recipe Pin

The Scottish Bannock is made of basic ingredients and the recipe is simple which is probably why they’ve been a part of life in Scotland throughout the ages. Such a part that Robert Burns mentions them in his song/poem ‘Bannocks O’ Bear Meal’, referencing the Jacobite uprising.

Bannocks O’ bear meal,

Bannocks O’ barley,

Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Wha, in a brulzie, will first cry a parley? Never the lads wi’ the bannocks o’ barley.

Bannocks O’ bear meal,

Bannocks O’ barley,

Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Wha, in his wae days, were loyal to Charlie?

Wha but the lads wi’ the bannocks o’ barley!

Bannocks O’ bear meal,

Bannocks O’ barley,

Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Robert Burns 1794 – Bannocks O Bear Meal

This nod to Bannocks by Burns himself may also be why they feature in the acclaimed TV show Outlander, definitely worth a watch or a read if you ask us!

Scottish Bannocks baked in a Griddle or skillet

What is a Bannock?

But what are they? Bannocks are a scone-like bread that’s both heavy and flat with a not surprisingly oaty or barley wholesome taste that suits most savoury dishes. They’re the perfect side to any meal you might have bread with and you’ll find them often served warm with breakfast or with a bowl of Cullen Skink. They both warm the soul and the body while filling you up nicely.

Traditionally, Scottish Bannocks recipes call for the bread to be made on a stone in front of the fire, a “bannock stane”, modern Bannocks recipes use a cast-iron Skillet, girdle or griddle. Don’t worry though, a deep frying pan will do too, or failing that, you can bake them in the oven.

Buttered Scottish Bannocks and a bowl of soup

Things you’ll need

  • A flat Griddle or cast iron Skillet is traditional, we used this one. You can also use a frying pan or even bake in the oven
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Teaspoon
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Scales – We used this digital one

Ingredients

This recipe will give you two rounds, so 8 bannocks in total. You can halve the recipe if you wish!

  • 330g Oatmeal (2 5/8 Cups) – We mean ground oats
  • 265g Plain flour (2 1/8 Cups
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 Cups Buttermilk (375ml)

How to make Buttermilk

Not everyone has buttermilk available to them so we found a way of making your own and it’s really simple! All you need to do is stir lemon juice into full-fat milk and then leave it to settle.

For every 1 cup of milk (250ml) you need to add 2 tbsps of lemon juice, we juiced our own lemon but you can use pre squeezed juice.

Make sure it’s well mixed.

Leave it to settle for 30 minutes and it will thicken and curdle slightly, and viola, you have buttermilk!

Your buttermilk will keep for 3 days in the fridge so it can be made in advance if required.

How to make Bannocks – Step by Step guide

If you’re making your own buttermilk start that now. While your milk sits for 30 minutes you’ll have time to make a cup of tea!

Make sure your skillet or griddle is in good condition and nicely pre-seasoned to avoid your bannock sticking. You can find some excellent tips for looking after your cast iron cookware here

Mix the oatmeal and flour together in your bowl and add salt.

Turn the heat on low to start heating your griddle/skillet. We found that a slow consistent heat is better than heating it on a high burn then turning it down, it allows for a nice even cook.

Measure out your buttermilk, if you’ve made more than required, and add the baking soda to the milk. The buttermilk will bubble and increase in size slightly, don’t worry this is your raising agent and it’s quite normal!

Add your milk mixture to your bowl with the flour, salt and oatmeal bringing it together with a spoon to form a dough. We started with one cup of milk and then slowly added the rest because it can get sticky and wet, so don’t feel you have to use it all. If your mix does get too wet just keep adding a little flour at a time until you have a workable dough.

Take your mix out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Split the dough into two. Manipulate the dough into a flat circle about one inch in thickness and the right diameter to suit your griddle, skillet or frying pan.

Bannocks recipe - making the bannock dough into a circle

It may need a little gentle kneading and adding a bit of flour at this stage to create a less sticky mix but be careful not to handle the mixture too much to avoid taking any air the baking soda has added from it.

Indent your dough to provide 4 quarters then gently add the dough to your griddle/skillet making sure the heat is focused in the centre of the pan.

Bannock cooking in a skillet

You should only have to turn your bannock once, leaving it longer on the first side to do the majority of cooking then turning it over to lightly brown the top. Don’t be afraid to give it a shuggle while cooking to make sure it’s not stuck to the bottom, but allow it to cook a little first.

You bannock should rise a little from maybe 3/4 of an inch to an inch raw to 1.5-2 inches once fully cooked. If your bannock is too thick you may need to turn cook for a bit longer on the second side to ensure the middle is cooked, this will depend on your griddle/skillet size.

Remove and cook the other round.

Scottish Bannock with Soup

Variations

This post sticks to a traditional Bannocks recipe and they’ll have a very traditional taste. However, to make your own bannock recipe you can add any ingredients you like.

Why not think about adding some cooked bacon pieces or some seeds? A cheese topping will work well or adding some chilli and cardamon to the mix.

So your bannocks recipe is only limited by your imagination as well as what’s in your cupboard of course!

Enjoy,

Phil & Sonja

Yield: 8 servings

Scottish Bannocks Recipe

Scottish Bannocks

This is a traditional Scottish Bannocks Recipe, or Scottish Skillet Bread. These were traditionally made with barley or oatmeal, so we have used oatmeal in this recipe. You can change it up with added ingredients like bacon bits, chilli, herbs, or cheese if you wish!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 330g Oatmeal (2 5/8 Cups) - We mean ground oats
  • 265g Plain flour (2 1/8 Cups)
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 Cups Buttermilk (375ml)

Instructions

How to make Bannocks – Step by Step guide

  1. If you’re making your own buttermilk do that first (see notes).
  2. Mix your oatmeal, salt and flour together in your bowl.
  3. Measure our your buttermilk, if you've made extra, and add the baking soda.
  4. Add your buttermilk mixture slowly to the oatmeal and flour mix, you may not need it all so add around a cup then use a spoon to bring it together before continuing with the rest if necessary.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and split into two.
  6. Manipulate the dough into a flat circles the right size to suit your griddle, skillet or frying pan. Be careful not to handle the mixture too much at this stage to avoid taking any air the baking soda has added from it.
  7. Heat your griddle/skillet with a little oil.
  8. Indent your dough slightly to provide 4 sections, like you would a pizza.
  9. Once it's hot add the dough to your griddle/skillet.
  10. You should only have to turn your bannock once, leave it to brown on the underside but don’t be afraid to give it a shuggle to make sure it’s not stuck to the surface of the pan.
  11. Once you’re sure it’s cooked turn the bannock over to lightly brown the other side. You should be able to tap it and hear a hollow sound.
  12. If your bannock is too thick you may need to cook for longer on the second side but this will depend on your griddle/skillet size.

Notes

If you don't have buttermilk it's possible to make your own. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice per cup of milk, cover and allow to sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 841mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

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