This bannock is made with half wheat flour and half beremeal, an ancient form of barley. The bere rhymes with air as in bear. It is still being proudly milled by Golspie Mills in Sutherland and the Barony Mills in Orkney, where they still eat these bannocks. It has been suggested this type of barley was brought to Scotland by the Vikings – this appeals to my romantic side and conjures up images of primitive cooking on hot stones laid in a hearth. How wonderful to get a taste of the past.
Traditionally these bannocks would have been made without wheat flour or bicarbonate of soda; fortunately I have tasted the old way so you never have to. The bannocks will look plain and homely. Slice them in half and eat them with some butter and cheese.
125g Plain All Purpose Flour
5g Bicarbonate of Soda
Preheat the pan – If you have a girdle use that, if not take a heavy bottomed frying pan and put it over a low to medium heat.
Sift the flour and beremeal into a bowl, add the salt and bicarbonate of soda and combine well with a whisk. Pour in the buttermilk – this should be enough to produce a very soft dough but one that is still workable. Lightly flour the work surface and place your dough on top. Now flour your rolling pin and roll into a circle 8 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep. Cut the circle into quarters to produce farls (these are also sometimes called scones). Place the farls into the pan. The heat must not be too high otherwise they will burn before they are cooked on the inside. You are aiming for a light brown, slightly darker than the uncooked colour. If the pan is too hot you will get dark spots. Cook on the first side for 10 minutes. You will see the cooking process on the cut sides. Now very gently turn them over and give them another ten minutes.
Now transfer to a rack to cool for ten minutes.