Fry bread was born out of the sad history of the Diné Bikéyah, also known broadly by non first-nation people as Navajo. The members of this nation were captured by the US government and forced to relocate near Fort Sumner. Supplies provided by the government were scarce, but included lard, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder or yeast, and powdered milk. These ingredients were used to make what has become the best known food of this region of the country – fry bread. When I was living on the reservation, we were taught that eating this bread should remind us of the suffering of this nation, and inspire us with their innovation and will to thrive.
Because of the nature of gf flours, you’ll want to make several SMALL batches of this, if you need more than 4 small or 2 large fry breads, rather than trying to make one large batch. To do this, multiply the recipe as many times as you want and mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. Then combine in small batches just as needed as you make the breads.
Follow the recipe carefully and review the tips and hints before making! Also, this recipe is constantly evolving, as we search for the PERFECT technique. If you experiment and find ways to improve the recipe, please let us know so we can add to the instructions!!
1 cup (4oz or 113g) Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp ground chia seed or psyllium husk (OPTIONAL. NOTE: this will help substantially with the raw dough texture, but may add flavor and texture to the finished product that some people fine undesirable. Adjust to suit or leave out)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt (adjustmoer or less to taste)
1 tsp. powdered milk OR powdered non dairy substitute (such as Vance Darifree powder)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 – 2 cups water, divided, plus up to 1-2 c extra if required (see recipe below). Note: Patrick recommends club soda in breads for best rise. Feel free to substitute club soda for water in this recipe.
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil to about 350 degrees in a skillet or cast iron pan before you begin.
IF YOU ARE USING CHIA OR PSYLLIUM: – in a separate, small bowl, combine the psyllium and 1 c water until evenly mixed. Allow to sit. for at least 5-10 minutes, or until a slurry or gel forms. You will use this as part of your wet ingredients (see notes below).
Sift together the flour, salt, powdered milk or non dairy sub, and baking powder into a large bowl.
Add liquid(s) (see notes below):
NOTE 1: If you are NOT using psyllium or chia, start with the smaller amount of water. Stir over the dry ingredients and mix rapidly until combined. This should be extremely sticky – like loose drop cookie or biscuit dough – you will take some stickiness off in the next step. You need it to be really rather wet to get the dough bubbles of a good fry bread. Add more water to reach this texture, if it is like play dough or rolled cookie dough. Once the texture is right, proceed with the recipe right away.
NOTE 2: If you ARE using psyllium or chia, using the following instructions
– Combine the chia/psyllium slurry with 1 c of water and stir well to combine
– Stir the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix rapidly until combined, then allow to sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture should thicken up to a workable dough, which will not really stretch, but should be able to be patted out without extra flour etc. You do not want this dough to be too dry – You need it to be really rather wet to get the dough bubbles of a good fry bread – but this dough should be pretty similar to traditional, gluten dough. If the dough is too dry, add extra water. If the dough is too sticky still, use the flour trick below. Once the texture is right, proceed with the recipe right away.
NOTE: if you have used psyllium/chia you may not need to do this step.
Lightly flour your hands if the dough is too sticky to work with – DO NOT add flour to the dough. The wetter the better for the interior of the dough.
Separate the dough into the size you want – the yield will depend on the size of fry bread you desre. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with a little more flour. The inside of the dough ball should still be extremely sticky after it is formed, while the dusting should remove the stickiness on the surface and allow you to work it.
Pat, or roll each piece into a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter. Work rapidly and gently or you risk losing the texture of the dough.
Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil – this is key to getting the bubbles. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
You may keep this warm in a 200 degree oven for up to an hour, if making several batches.