Bite down into a deep-fried, crispy outer shell and taste a deliciously light and fluffy center. What could get better than that? Referred to as scones in the Inter-mountain West, this fry bread recipe is a somewhat healthier take on fried dough and doughnuts with a crispy outer layer locking in the doughy goodness in the middle.
What is Fry Bread?
It’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. All you have to do is prepare your favorite bread mix, let the dough rise, cut it into wedges or even just pull it apart in chunks, fry it up, and, voila, you have a delectable treat.
The best part is that the ingredients list is really simple: your favorite bread mix and oil. That’s it! And, of course, whatever toppings you might like to add. Our favorites here at Prepared Pantry are caramel buttermilk syrup, caramel whipped cream, and sliced strawberries and bananas.
It’s the perfect type of recipe you can make when your family is asking for a sweet treat, but there aren’t any more cookie or brownie mixes left in the pantry.
How to Make Fry Bread
- Follow the instructions on your favorite bread mix to prepare a dough. You can make the dough using your bread machine (using the dough setting), stand-type mixer, or simply mixing it by hand.
- On a greased or floured countertop, pat out the dough until it’s about half an inch thick.
- Cut the dough into five-inch wedges and separate the pieces. We’ve found that a pizza cutter works best to slice through the dough.
- Allow the dough to rise until the pieces have doubled in size. To test whether the dough is done rising, poke a dimple into the dough and walk away for two minutes. If the dimple has disappeared after two minutes, then you need to let it continue rising.
- Fill a frying pan with about an inch to an inch and a half of oil.
- Using a deep frying thermometer, heat the oil to 350 degrees. While frying, be sure to keep the temperature between 350 and 375 degrees.
- Carefully picking up the dough, gently place it into the oil. You can fry the dough pieces two at a time in the hot oil. Flip them over once the sides begin to brown.
- Place fried dough onto paper towels to pat away any excess oil or catch any drippings.
- Top with butter, caramel buttermilk syrup, caramel flavored whipped cream and your choice of sliced fruit. Our favorites were sliced strawberries or bananas.
A Note on Rising Your Dough
The preferred temperature for yeast to rise is 79 degrees, but our test kitchen tends towards cooler temperatures, so we have to be creative with reaching that preferred temperature. If we have time, we simply let the dough sit in front of a well-lit window with lots of warm sunlight flooding through.
Another one of our favorite methods is to put the dough on a wire wrack that will allow for air circulation on all sides of the dough and inside a proofing bag. The proofing bag will act like a greenhouse by trapping in the moisture as well as amplify the heat coming from the sunshine or otherwise.
Sometimes, when we’re short on time, we like to cheat by placing it on the dashboard inside the car, or whichever side is facing the sun. The contained heat and sunlight especially speed up the rising process, and depending on the temperature, your dough could be done rising in as little as half an hour or less. Then you can take the heated dough inside, and it should finish rising within five minutes.
Once the dough is done rising, you must be gentle in handling it because you will leave a dent or wrinkle in the proofing. To do this, we recommend using a greased countertop rather than sprinkling it with flour. This way, you’ll be able to use a metal spatula to pick up the dough pieces rather than doing it by hand.
By greasing the countertop rather than sprinkling it with flour, it’s easier to lift the sticky dough pieces from the counter with a spatula, and you won’t have any loose flour bits falling and burning in the hot oil. Another option is to place the dough pieces onto wax paper squares when setting them to rise. You can then lift them from the corners of the wax paper squares and carefully ease them into the oil.
A Note on Frying
If you have any experience with fried foods, whether it’s attempting to fry your own doughnuts or simply eating fried food, you know that the most important thing is the temperature. If the temperature of the oil is too low, the food will soak it all up instead of getting crispy. If the temperature is too high, you could easily burn your food or even start a fire.
If you’re new to frying foods, we recommend using a deep frying thermometer to keep track of the temperature and get it just right. For this fry bread recipe, the perfect temperature is anywhere between 350 and 375 degrees. The temperature could fluctuate while you’re frying your dough, so you’ll want to keep an eye on it and adjust the temperature accordingly.
To fry the dough evenly, you will want to fill the pan with enough oil that the dough will float rather than sitting on the bottom of the pan. The bottom of the pan will always be hotter than the oil because of the direct contact with the burner. If the dough sits on the bottom instead of floating, it will cook faster and not create the same light and doughy effect for the inside.
Tips From the Test Kitchen
- Be sure to allow plenty of time for the dough to rise. It always seems like a while, but it’s worth the wait because that’s what creates all the bubbles on the inside, making it light and fluffy instead of thick and dense…
- Remember that it’s okay if it doesn’t turn out looking perfect. It doesn’t need to be perfect in order to taste good.