North·The Arctic Kitchen

The way of bannock — a Métis woman's passion for traditional bread

This week's Arctic Kitchen is all about bannock and a Métis woman's passion for perfecting it.

'I make six different styles,’ says Ginger Auger

Ginger Auger loves to make all kinds of bannock. (Submitted by Ginger Auger)

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When it comes to bannock, Ginger Auger doesn't mess around.

"I make six different styles," she said from her home in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Auger is Métis and has lived a life of bannock.

"Growing up in poverty with a single mother … cooking was our therapy. She was inventive and showed me how to cook from scratch on a budget," she said to CBC on Facebook messenger.

Ginger Auger says she uses a wet batter when making her pizza bannock. She also says she doesn't knead it too much. (Submitted by Ginger Auger)

Auger says her mother always made sure they had a sack of flour, lard, sugar and salt.

"If we ran out of other foods, we could always count on fresh, warm, delicious bannock," she said.

All these years later, Auger still loves it, and is absolutely dedicated to mastering her bannock recipes.

"I do everything with it," she said.

Ginger Auger bakes her bannock loaves in the oven. (Submitted by Ginger Auger)

And she's not kidding.

"I was taught baked and pan fried. Once I realized bannock was so versatile I started to try other styles."

When she pan fries it she cuts in the centre of the bannock and places it in lard in a cast iron pan

When she bakes it she is often making a loaf, biscuits or even pizza bannock.

Ginger Auger experiments with bannock all the time and isn't afraid to try new things, like lobster bannock sandwiches. (Submitted by Ginger Auger)

Her deep fried version calls for a deep fryer with canola oil — just a few minutes on each side. 

Auger's bannock puffs also require a deep fryer and come out as small Timbit-like treats which she covers with cinnamon and sugar. 

Her Navajo style needs a rolling pin and she says they can be pan or deep fried and that they're good for tacos. 

Her new favourite way is air frying her bannock. She says it turns out light and fluffy and is a healthier option because there's no oil.

Auger says her family deserves fresh, warm delicious bannock. (Submitted by Ginger Auger)

"My sons and their dad love the many variations I make. Sometimes friends or family request a batch or come over to just enjoy it hot and fresh," she said.

Auger says her family deserves soft, moist, delicious bannock and hopes she can pass down her passion to them.

"It brought my mom and I together … it wasn't just bannock, it was love."