Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

How to make bannock

Usually, says Derek Thunder (right), "You don't make good bannock before you're 50 or 60 years old."

But at just 42, it's fair to say he's had enough practice to claim expert status a little early. Thunder, an aboriginal liaison coordinator with NAIT's Encana Aboriginal Student Centre, started making bannock when he was seven.

The funny thing is, nobody ever actually taught him how. At least not that they were aware of.

Worried about needing a snack when his mom was at work, Thunder would watch her make it. Soon after, he started making it on his own -- on the sly. She never knew until he was 17, he says.

"If you'd have known I'd made bannock," he once told her, light-heartedly, "I'd have been making it all the time!"

Here, in recognition of NAIT's annual Aboriginal Awareness Week, is Thunder's personal bannock recipe. He doesn't use sugar or salt, so it can be enjoyed with anything: stew, soup, or on its own with butter and jam. Just be sure to share it. Thunder won't mind -- he doesn't need to keep it a secret anymore.

Derek Thunder's Bannock


1 L (4 cups) all-purpose flour
15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder (Thunder prefers Blue Ribbon)
60 ml (1/4 cup) lard (Thunder prefers Burns) or vegetable shortening
500 ml (2 cups) water


Mix flour, baking powder and lard until the lard is well incorporated. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the water.

Knead until soft, slightly sticky dough forms. Turn out onto floured surface. With floured hands, press into a 30-cm (12-inch) oval.

Place dough on cookie sheet and puncture with fork. Bake at 180 C (350 F) until brown on one side. Flip and cook until brown on the other side (approximately 20 minutes each side).

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