A fried bread counts as anything that consists of any bread-like substance that is cooked in oil. That means pancakes, donuts, fried pastries, and even waffles count as fried bread. But the list doesn’t end there. Moreover, every fried breads from around the world has a recipe unique to them. The actual term may refer to a British treatment of sliced bread but also can reference any type of bread that has been fried. There are leavened fried bread, such as Native American frybread, and unleavened bread such as tortillas. Every culture seems to have fried bread with never-ending iterations. Though many recipes are simply flour and water that have been blended together and fried, some are more elaborate.
What is fried bread?
A fried bread counts as anything that consists of any bread-like substance that is cooked in oil. That means pancakes, donuts, fried pastries, and even waffles count as fried bread. Whether you cook your fried bread in more than an inch of oil or just barely enough to coat the bottom of the frying pan, the results are pretty similar in the way that you get a golden, crisp outside with a fluffy inside. And the best part about any fried breads from around the world is that they’re so easy to make, and you don’t have to worry about the oven, making them great outdoor and emergency breads as well.
Now that you know what to expect from fried bread in general, let’s get into the different fried breads from around the world.
1. Indian fried bread: Chapatti
Chapatti is an unleavened griddle bread similar to pita bread. In India, it is cooked on a special griddle called a tava and held over a fire so that steam within the bread puffs it up. The result is a puffy disc of flatbread. We use whole grain durum flour to make chapati. It is one of the most famous fried breads from around the world. Traditional chapatti is often served as a complement to stew or vegetables, but you can also eat it like a tortilla for beans, rice, or salsa. While served with dishes and used to dip into other foods, the bread itself can be covered in butter or ghee before being eaten.
- 1 cup stone-ground whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat a griddle or frying pan until it’s very hot. We used an electric griddle set at 400 degrees. Do not grease the griddle.
- Now, mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand-type mixer.
- Add the water and oil. You may need to add a bit more flour or a dribble of water to get the consistency of bread dough.
- Divide the dough ball into ten or twelve pieces. Roll one into a thin disc as if you were making a tortilla. Place it on the hot griddle. After a minute, turn it over then remove it to a hot plate. Continue with the other pieces.
- Finally, as the bread come off the griddle, microwave them for ten to fifteen seconds. Serve hot.
2. Chinese fried bread: Youtiao
In China, there is a type of fried bread known as youtiao. It is leavened bread that is formed into long strips and then deep-fried. Youtiao is enjoyed for breakfast along with a sweet rice dish. While they’re commonly eaten in China for breakfast with congee, youtiao is also found in other East and Southeast Asian cuisines. The best youtiao features a golden brown, well-puffed exterior and a light, airy interior. The outside should be crisp, while the inside should be tender and fluffy.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour(250 g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup water(80 mL)
- oil, for frying
- soy milk, sweet, for serving
- Firstly, in a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, milk, softened butter, and egg.
- Secondly, lowly add the water, stirring between each addition.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. The dough should feel very soft, but not too sticky.
- Grease the bowl with oil, return the dough to the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Place the dough in the center of a large piece of plastic. Wrap it tightly.
- Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Let it rest on the countertop for 1-2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature and is soft to the touch.
- Fill a wok or large skillet with enough oil to come 2 inches from the top of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat.
- Lightly flour the dough and the surface, then carefully pull, press, and roll the dough to form a long flat loaf shape.
- Furthermore, cut the dough crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.
- Stack them 2 by 2.
- Using a chopstick or skewer, press the center of the dough and stack it down lengthwise.
- Gently stretch, then lower each dough stack into the oil. If the oil temperature is right, the dough should rise to the surface right away. Use chopsticks or tongs to quickly roll the dough in a continuous motion for about 1 minute.
- Fry until the dough is light golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Finally, serve with sweet soy milk for dipping, if desired.
3. Portuguese Fry Bread
Portuguese fry bread is similar to American fry bread with a crisp, golden outside and a light, pillowy inside like a donut, but it’s made with baking powder instead of yeast. Some also call it Portuguese donuts because of the similarities to fried donuts. It is best when we serve it hot and with syrup or jam.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- Firstly, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together. Add the milk and stir with a fork until combined.
- Secondly, remove the dough to the counter and knead the ingredients together to get a smooth dough.
- Form patties three to four inches in diameter and 3/8-inches thick.
- Finally, fill a frying pan with vegetable oil to about 3/4-inches deep. Heat the oil to medium-high. Cook the patties until golden brown, turning once.
4. Italian fried bread: Zeppole
Zeppole are small, light, fried cakes from Italy–the classic Italian fried bread. These sweet cakes are sold on the streets, given as gifts, and consumed on holidays. Furthermore, we can fill it with custard, jelly, or honey butter and covered it with powdered sugar. One of the most prevalent theories maintains that zeppola comes from the term zeppa, a wood wedge used for adjusting the heights of furniture.
- 1 package of cream cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- powdered sugar
- Place the cream cheese in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk the two eggs together in a cup. Stirring often, heat the cream cheese until it melts. Add the eggs and blend in. Add the vanilla.
- Secondly, mix the flour, salt, and granulated sugar together in a bowl. Add these dry ingredients to the pan with the cream cheese mixture. Stir until smooth.
- Thirdly, heat vegetable oil to medium-high. Drop the batter into the hot oil by tablespoons, three or four at a time. Cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Finally, roll the pastries in the powdered sugar or dust with powdered sugar. Serve while still warm.
5. French fried bread: Crepe
The most commonly known European fried bread is probably the crepe. It is the Brittany version of bread. It’s a delicately thin pancake made in a frying pan or a crepe pan. It is one of the most famous fried breads from around the world. Furthermore, people eat crepes plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or folded around a sweet or savory filling of eggs and cheese or a pastry filling. The history of crepes dates back to 13th century Brittany, France. It seems a housewife there accidentally dribbled some thin porridge onto a hot, flat cooktop. Since people back then weren’t inclined to waste even their smallest cooking mistakes, she ate it. The rest, as they say, is history.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
- Secondly, heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
- Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Lastly, loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.
6. Native American fried bread
“Frybread” is a term used to describe a variety of fried bread recipes cooked by Native Americans. Native American frybread is most often a mix of water, flour, and salt that is fried over a fire or deep-fried in oil. Moreover, there are many variations, including recipes that have squash or other vegetables included in the dough. Often these bread pieces are topped with beans, ground beef, salsa, and cheese to make Indian or Navajo tacos.
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- Firstly, gather the ingredients.
- In a deep, 10-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy saucepan, heat about 1 inch of oil.
- If you don’t have a deep-fry thermometer to attach to the pan, dip the handle end of a wooden spoon in the oil. The oil should bubble around it fairly steadily when it’s ready.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix well to blend.
- Add the milk and stir until the dough holds together.
- Knead 3 or 4 times on a floured surface.
- Divide the dough into 4 uniform pieces and shape each into a ball.
- Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each ball of dough into a circle that’s about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Make a depression in the center of each round of dough (it will puff up while frying).
- Carefully slide 1 or 2 pieces of dough into the hot oil. Fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
- Finally, remove the fried dough onto paper towels to drain.
7. Scottish fried bread: Bannock
Bannock originated in Scotland but like so many fried breads from around the world, has evolved considerably. Traditionally, a bannock was an oatcake but in Eastern Canada where bannock is quite popular. Furthermore, it was a staple for Western and Canadian fur traders, the bread that accompanied their pemmican. Today, bannock works for backpackers and canoeists. At camp, people add enough water to make a stiff dough. If you are going to do some camping, consider making a bannock mix.
- 3cups sifted flour
- 1teaspoon salt
- 2tablespoons baking powder
- vegetable oil or lard
- Mix half the flour with the remaining dry ingredients.
- Add water until the mixture becomes thick, “like a paper mache paste”.
- Add more flour until the dough feels like a soft earlobe.
- Heat the oil or lard over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking.
- Break off small pieces of the dough and flatten each to the size of your palm, about 1/2-inch thick.
- Place the pieces in the hot oil, turn after about 3 minutes, or when golden brown.
- Place the bannock on a paper towel to soak up the excess grease.
- Finally, serve plain or with jam.
8. North American fried bread: Pancakes and waffles
Pancakes and waffles are the most popular fried breads from around the world. Typically served for breakfast or brunch they can also be made as savory cakes and served with sauces for lunch or dinner. A pancake is a flat cake, often thin and round, prepared from a starch-based batter that may contain eggs, milk, and butter and cooked on a hot surface such as a griddle or frying pan, often frying with oil or butter. It is a type of batter bread.
Whereas, A waffle is a dish made from leavened batter or dough that is cooked between two plates that are patterned to give a characteristic size, shape, and surface impression. There are many variations based on the type of waffle iron and the recipe used.
Ingredients for pancakes:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- an egg
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Firstly, in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter; mix until smooth.
- Lastly, heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
Ingredients for waffle:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cup warm milk
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar; set aside. Preheat the waffle iron to the desired temperature.
- Secondly, in a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter, and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.
- Finally, ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.
If you want to know more about frybread and its history, read this article.
Looking for another bread article? Check out our blog post about Challah: the Jewish sanctified bread.