County Fair Fried Dough

Fried dough.

Two simple, straightforward words.

Fried. Dough.

Yet what a wonderful metamorphosis takes place when a simple flour/butter/water dough hits a scant 1/2″ of hot oil.

POP goes the dough, coming suddenly to life as air, trapped inside, expands to create big bubbles.

And what was formerly a soft, pale round of dough becomes golden brown and snapping crisp, the tasty essence of why we love doughnuts and french fries.

It’s all about that crisp deep-fried crust and flavor – even though 3/8″ of peanut oil could scarcely qualify as “deep” frying.

Have you resisted churros, beignets, and other deep-fried treats because you hate the thought of a gallon of hot oil bubbling on the stovetop, covering you and everything within reach with a rich patina of eau de doughnut?

Then this is a great recipe for taking a (shallow) dive into “deep” frying.

County Fair Fried Dough

Yield: 8 servings

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in 1/2" cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Work in the cold butter, using a pastry blender, your fingers, or a mixer.
  3. Stir in the warm water to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a thin 5" round, about 3/8" thick.
  5. Heat about 3/8" vegetable oil to 375°F in an electric frying pan, or in a pan over a burner. If you're using a 10" diameter pan, this is 2 cups of vegetable oil. If you're not using an electric frying pan, use a candy thermometer to take the temperature of the oil; or guesstimate it by seeing if the first piece of dough fries nicely in the time specified.
  6. Pick up one dough disk, and carefully lower it into the pan. Let it cook for 60 seconds (it'll puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom), then flip it over and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds. You don't want to cook these too dark; they'll become overly crisp.
  7. Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place in a 200°F oven to keep warm while you make the remaining fried doughs.
  8. Serve warm, with maple syrup or cider syrup; confectioners' sugar, or cinnamon sugar; or the topping of your choice — some folks enjoy a savory version, with marinara sauce and cheese.

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