With my new internship (that feeds me breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon-Fri) I haven’t had as much time or need to cook as usual. My pantry is stripped to the bare essentials and I’ve effectively made only 3 things: no bake cookies, fried bread, and popcorn. Lame right? But still. I wanted to share with you a couple Fried bread recipes, because it’s a simple bread that tastes good with sweets or with savory. I’ve had it with honey for breakfast on the weekends, or with chili for supper.
The first time I encountered fried bread was through my grandmother. It was delicious and…well delicious. Whenever we tried to make it didn’t have those air bubble hers always did and was just a solid chunk of bread. I’ve since learned the secret: roll it out rather that just press it into a shape. But anyway.
I’ll post my grandmother’s recipe from our family cookbook first. I’ve always known my grandma to be an amazing baker: her bread and rolls and gingerbread houses were phenomenal. She’s still alive, but health and memory loss has rendered her incapable of her many cooking feats. I hope however, that her recipes can bring the same delight into other homes.
Fried Bread: Gertrude Baile Barnes
“In the nineteenth century, this basic recipe, a simple biscuit-type dough, without shortening, was called ‘Wonderfuls’. Dunked in a molasses sauce these were considered delicacies among the after-school set. when cut into saucer shapes, they were known as fried saucers.”
- 5 cups flour (or 4 cups white, 1 cup whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 cup nonfat skim milk powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup wheat germ, or cracked wheat
- enough warm water to make a soft dough, abt. 2 cups
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add enough warm water to make a soft dough. A little more or less water may be needed. Oil or butter your hands well and knead the dough. Now, keeping your hands oiled or butter, so that the dough doesn’t stick, pinch off pieces of dough about the size of an egg and flatten them with your hands until the dough is very thin and about 5 inches in diameter. If desired you may roll the dough with a rolling pin and cut into shapes, but to do this you will need more flour. Have a large frying pan ready, with hot fat about 2 inches deep. Drop in 2 or 3 rounds of dough at a time, and fry until browned on one side, then, using a cooking fork, turn them over and dry until browned on the other side. Drain well and serve stacked in a bowl, with butter and jam. (Can also be used for “Navajo Tacos”, where you use this as the taco “shell” and put the taco meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. on top).
Another recipe that I use more frequently (because it has less ingredients) is found here. I’ll show it below, with, as usual, my changes.
- 1/2 tsp of salt : Beware, it is so easy to accidentally add too much or too little because of mismeasurement.
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cup flour: The recipe called for all purpose, but it works just as well (perhaps even better taste wise) with whole wheat. A mixture of 1:1 cornmeal and all purpose tastes good, but is slightly more crumbly texture. My favorite by far is to use half rye flour. It is delicious!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3/4 cup water: You may need more than this.
- Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then add water and oil.
- Form into a ball and pull off about 10 golf ball sized bit. Roll them out with rolling pin into flat circles.
- Fill a frying pan about 1/2 inch -3/4 inch of fat. I often use canola or olive oil, which isn’t smart because of their low smoke point. More recently I’ve begun to use shortening, and it works much better. Heat the oil over medium-high heat (if the oil starts to smoke turn down the heat slightly).
- Fry the bread until golden brown on each side. You usually know when to flip because bubbles/air pockets form and the edges of the bread pull downward.
- Set breads on paper towel (or ordinary clean towel that you don’t mind oil stains) to soak excess oil.
I made these simple breads for the Sunday potluck and it was a hit. If you use whole wheat flour you may need to increase the water. The dough should be firm and malleable, but not crumbly or overly dry. I hope you enjoy. You can serve with jam, honey, butter, or when warm toss in a bag of powdered sugar. Also it can be a great compliment to a taco like dinner, chili, stew, or spaghetti. Versatile and simple.