Adventures in Eating: Bannock Bread

Back to Basics: Dutch Oven Cooking

Here we are, with a grand built-in Thermador oven that bakes, broils, micro-waves and has convection power. There is one problem, though, when I am baking a cake, pie, etc., and need the microwave, you just wait. Such inconvenience! You are also able to bake food with the con­vection and microwave on at the same time. The book tells you how. I tried it. My roast was tougher than a piece of leather. I guess I am not quite ready for all this technology.

In reading Shirley MacLaine and her theory of life before, now and future, perhaps I am a relic from the past re­surrected to bypass some of this fabu­lous cooking technology.

Dutch oven cooking, meanwhile, has been around for a long time. Liv­ing out of doors, it was the most use­ful and necessary “pot” one could possess. Amazingly, it is capable of cooking a vast array of foods; wheth­er covered with coal, placed on the stove, or popped in the oven. Your choice.

The best Dutch Oven should be cast iron. Aluminum is available, but I would bypass it. It should have a tightfiting cover, that can be inverted and used as a griddle or fry pan. In a Dutch oven, you can boil, fry, saute, braise, roast and even make bread.

Typically a Dutch oven runs 10-16 inches in diameter and four to six inches deep. To season it before us­ing, rub a good quality shortening on all inside surfaces. Place on stove un­til shortening begins to smoke Wipe dry and its ready to use. After use, wash with hot water and avoid detergents. No rusting this way.

A good rule of thumb for outdoor use is, if you use briquets, use eight briquets evenly distributed beneath the pot, and 15-18 more on the lid for a 12 inch Dutch Oven. Dig your hole in the round to accommodate depth. Cover with heavy aluminum foil. This will give you a temperature of about 350-375 degrees.L,et’s start with Ban­nock Bread. A true basic and delight­ful treat.

Bannock Bread

2 cups flour

2 Tbl. sugar

2 Tbl. shortening

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. dried milk generous pinch salt

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shorten­ing. Add water to make firm dough (no dry spots, but not sloppy wet.) Press dough 1-inch thick. Warm Dutch oven. Grease bottom and dust with flour. Lay in dough and bake un­til firm. Top with thick jam made with fresh summer fruits. Unlike quick breads, which rely on soda as a lea­vening agent, this is also good cold and packs well. Enjoy…!

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