Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bere bannocks

I've been on holiday - and though I took my laptop and had wifi in my excellent B&B I was too busy being on holiday to blog about anything. We were in Orkney (on Orkney?) and it was wonderful, and I shall say more about it when I stop watching news programmes and haring about the diocese. But today I want to share a culinary first and a little bit of Orkney with anyone who's interested in easy, wonderful-tasting food.

I made bannocks. Not just ordinary bannocks, but bere bannocks. That's them in the picture, almost ready to take off the griddle which is actually a beautiful pan for making crepes which I bought in Quimper many years ago. I bought a lovely big brown paper sack of bere meal in the shop on Shapinsay during a wonderful day of ancestor-hunting, and the owner of the shop, Thomas Sinclair, offered to have a recipe written out for me when I came by to collect it before we went for the ferry. This is the recipe, and the results were delicious.


1 cup of bere meal
1 cup of plain flour (I used strong white)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
buttermilk to mix (I used a carton which was about the same size as a tall cup)

Mix all ingredients together into a soft dough, and knead thoroughly. Divide into two or three pieces depending on how many/big you want your bannocks to be.
Cook on a griddle till the squishy bit in the middle has just turned firm (I poked to make sure - Mr Sinclair's recipe just said 'cook till done')
Split down the middle and put delicious things on it. (Mr S suggested razor clams, but I had other ideas)


  1. Hmmm...those look very good! Similar to English Muffins? I had to look up the info on bere. And, since we've not got any, I shall admire from afar!

  2. Very similar in technique, but cakier in texture and less dense, with a good taste lacking in the ordinary muffin.