Fry Bread 15.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nov 28, 2013

For her Hanukkah celebrations, Bethesda resident Faith Roessel likes to honor the miracle of the oil by making fry bread, a staple of her childhood on the Navajo reservation in Round Rock, Ariz. When her extended family gathers, it’s nearly impossible to make enough puffy pieces; as soon as a round of bread is pulled from the oil, someone snatches it up.

The key to achieving the proper consistency is sizzling-hot oil. It's best to use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature.

Roessel omits the powdered milk on occasion to make the fry bread pareve. The milk helps the fry bread brown evenly.

Serve drizzled with honey and dusted with confectioners' sugar. Or try a Navajo taco: Top the fry bread with chili, lettuce and tomatoes.

Where to Buy: Roessel recommends using Blue Bird bleached white flour, preferred by Navajo cooks, which is available online at Navajo Fry Bread.

15 - 18

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 15-18 servings; makes 5-to-6-inch rounds

  • 6 cups flour, preferably bleached, plus more as needed (see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk (optional; see headnote)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • Canola oil, for frying


Combine the flour, powdered milk, if using, the salt and baking powder in a wide mixing bowl. Add the water, stirring to create a sticky dough, adding flour as needed. Knead in the bowl for 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth, pliable and springy. Cover with plastic wrap (to keep a skin from forming) and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels, then seat a wire cooling rack on top.

Heat at least 1/2 inch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. The oil is ready for frying when its temperature reaches 365 degrees. If the oil starts to smoke, reduce the heat as needed.

Uncover the dough. Lightly flour your hands often during the shaping process.

Pull off a piece of dough to make a 2-inch ball. Hold it the palm of one hand; start flattening the ball by clapping your hands together, alternating the growing disk of dough between right and left hands. As the dough gets flatter, let it rest on one palm while using the fingers of the other hand to pull at the edges. Shape to a width of 5 to 6 inches. (Alternatively, lightly flour a work surface and roll the ball to a round that's about 6 inches across.)

When the dough is pressed enough that it’s evenly thin throughout, lay it carefully in the hot oil. Immediately use a long fork to puncture the dough at the center, then spin the dough in the oil a few times; this will help keep the bread from forming a big bubble that might burst. As soon as the fry bread is golden brown on the underside (less than a minute), turn it over and fry until golden on the second side. Transfer to the rack to drain.

Repeat with the remaining dough to make a total of 15 to 18 pieces. Serve right away.

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Recipe Source

From Bethesda resident Faith Roessel.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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