Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

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Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby stinkyfoot » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:16 pm

So I have this interest in fast whole foods, or foods that are quick to make but also made of whole ingredients and traditional processed foods (cured meats, cheese, pickles, flour, etc.) and I love trying out new recipes for quick breads. You might guess that driving past all those Indian taco stands before and after the burn gave me a hankering to try my hand at some fry bread.

While I was not about to gorge myself on some Indian taco and risk gastrointestinal distress in the desert, I did get a chance to try different fry breads in Arizona and New Mexico Indian reservations so I've got the gist of what it's supposed to be like. Fry bread is a bland, spongy bread with a bubbly, mottled brown and white appearance, or just brown all over depending on how deep fried it is, that makes an excellent utensil or mop sponge for eating savory soups and stews, which are something else I love to make. Fry bread in it's most common retail form is not exactly a traditional Native American dish, since it was developed after US interference with native cultures, but it has it's roots in earlier forms of Native American cuisine.

I found this website which has an extensive selection of fry-bread recipes arranged by tribal origin. I chose the Blackfeet version because it is leavened with baking soda and uses powdered milk instead of liquid milk, important for playa cooking. After mixing all the ingredients together, I was left with a slightly sticky, soft dough, that developed a glutinous consistency surprisingly quickly. The powdered milk is a leavening accelerant, so after only 40 minutes you're left with a ball of dough that can be held and hand stretched very thin for frying. It's kind of magical how quickly this dough develops. Best handled with a coating of four on your hands because this stuff sticks to all surfaces.

Then I fried the bread in lard and vegetable oil and ate it with some bacon-onion soup. Here's a pic of the finished bread. I can't wait to try making this in 2012.

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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:34 pm

You had me at "lard".
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby moonrise » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:27 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:You had me at "lard".


Me too.

We feed our Rottweilers lard sandwiches (more in the winter months). They loooove the stuff and it makes their coats shiny and thick, not to mention they probably enjoy the extra layer of fat for winter warmth.

One day I decided to try the two different brands of lard we had on hand by frying some hashbrowns and tortillas in the stuff. It turns out the lower cost one tasted very much like bacon! The costlier brand (Farmer John's) was a nuetral/flavorless "flavor".... a non flavor?
I just thought you might want to know, different tubs of lard have different flavors.
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby Oldguy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:39 pm

I use a teaspoon of manteca for each 12 inch flour tortilla fried. I flip it over when dough rises in bubbles. I stack them between paper towels. I fill them with diced tomato from a can, refied beans from a can, a handfull of shreaded cheeze from a bag, and picante(or hotsauce). They are best when warm but are also good when cool. For dessert, they are good with butter and sugar( or strawberry jam). Sometimes I brown some hamburger and add spice mix, to use as a filling ingredient.
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby AntiM » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:58 am

I like mine with honey!
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby stinkyfoot » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:05 pm

moonrise wrote:
Ugly Dougly wrote:You had me at "lard".

I just thought you might want to know, different tubs of lard have different flavors.


That's good to know, the brand that I got smells a little bit like burnt pigskin. I will check around for the delicious bacony lard.
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby Mojojita » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:54 am

I'm definitely going to do this! Grand idea! It does leave a good deal of leftover oil/lard to have to dispose of but I think I may store it temporarily and use the oil/lard a second time for french fries.
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:02 pm

The easy way is to get tube of biskets or frozen bread dough.

1 bisket would make a good sized frybread.

Roll it out and fry it in bacon grease. (this will probably kill you, but you'll die smilling.) 8)
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby Mojojita » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:14 pm

I think the flavor and consistency is way different Figgy - come over for breakfast and we'll have some with honey and home made preserves....and BACON. The flavor is more like sopapillas from New Mexico.
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:24 pm

Most of the NDNs around here use regular bread dough rolled out thin to make their frybread.

Now a bacon and egg scramble with homefries (potatoes, onions, and geen chilies) with salsa, piled on that bread.....OMG whata breakfeast!!!!!!!!!! 8)
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Re: Has anyone tried making fry-bread on the playa?

Postby stinkyfoot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:37 pm

Mojojita wrote:I'm definitely going to do this! Grand idea! It does leave a good deal of leftover oil/lard to have to dispose of but I think I may store it temporarily and use the oil/lard a second time for french fries.


I'm sure there's someone out there who would take bio-fuel donations, too. :)

FIGJAM wrote:Most of the NDNs around here use regular bread dough rolled out thin to make their frybread.


But fry bread dough is regular bread dough, ridiculously simple, magical bread dough, made all from stuff that doesn't need refrigeration.
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