Monday, February 6, 2012

Frybread

While perusing the shelves of my local library for Greek recipe books, I came across this little gem: Food and Recipes of the Native Americans (Cooking Throughout American History). Truthfully, the book is pretty terrible. I mean, the people on the cover are blond haired and blue eyed, though considering it is the only one I could find at the library on the subject, I've gained a certain appreciation for this goofy little book. It is targeted at very young children, and it is from 15 years ago, so I suppose those must be its excuses.

Anyhoo. I decided to give some of the recipes a shot and alongside my chicken stew from last week, I made frybread (the book calls it "Indian Fry-Bread"). The note beside the recipe indicates that frybread is traditionally made with corn flour, but I lack that in my cupboard, which the book anticipated so the recipe actually calls for 2 cups of wheat flour - whole wheat flour in my case.

I started with the flour, half a teaspoon of salt, plus 2/3 of a teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/3 teaspoon of baking soda mixed together to substitute for a teaspoon of baking powder (you'd think I would've bought some baking powder by now, but this is not the case), all blended together in a large mixing bowl. 

The recipe also does not tell me how much water to add to the flour mixture, so I just added a little at a time until I had kneadable dough. Once it was kneaded and in a ball, I covered the bowl with a towel and let the dough sit for 10 minutes. 

Then I sprayed my large frying pan with canola oil, tore off "lemon-sized" pieces of dough, rolled them in my palm, flattened them with my hands, and placed them in the pre-heated frying pan. I didn't time how long it took, but once the first sides were browned, I flipped them all over and browned the other sides. Et voila! Frybread.

I did eat a piece of frybread with my chicken stew, rather like a dumpling. First, however, I ripped open the test piece and drizzled maple syrup over-top. Oh man, was that ever delicious. Honey would also be amazing. Or powdered sugar. Basically, you can do anything you want to this bread. Kimmy ate it with just butter spread on it.

I would like to try it with corn flour sometime, which I imagine can't be that difficult to find in Ann Arbor. It's a pretty hearty bread, or maybe biscuit is a better description, so made with corn flour, it should be like a biscuity cornbread, which sounds fantastically amazing. If I ever do it, I will let you know.

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