I am addicted to bread. I love it in just about any form. Fry breads are a traditional form of bread for many cultures and about 18 years ago I tried sopapillas for the first time. Often thought of as a Mexican bread, it also has roots in Argentina, Chili and Peru. Each country has their own way of serving such as with cinnamon, sugar, honey or even stuffed.
This recipe leans more towards Mexico and can be served with dinner or as a dessert. It makes a large batch, however my family likes to eat them the next day as a snack so they don’t go to waste. You can certainly cut it in half without any worries of affecting the end product.
2 c Flour
3 tp Baking Powder
1/4 c sugar (optional)
3 Tb Shortening
2/3 c Warm Water
Powdered Sugar (optional)
As with most breads, begin by mixing all the dry ingredients together. Cut the shorting into the dry mixture. There are many ways to do this. My mother always accomplished this by using 2 knives and actually cutting the shortening into the flour. I simply am not coordinated enough to do this.
You can use a fork and by pushing it down onto the shortening it will break up into the flour.
Coating your hands with flour is very effective and gives you the added bonus of really feeling what you are doing and how large of pieces you are creating. The big downside is that your hands will warm the shortening and in many recipes you want to avoid that, such as when making biscuits.
My favorite way is with a pastry knife which you push down and twist to break up the fat into the flour. I find it to be a multipurpose tool and use it for many other things as well.
Pour the water into the dough, but not quite all of it. Knead the dough first and make sure you will actually need it all. Depending on how dry it is, your flour may want more or less than the amount called for in the recipe. It will be a little sticky, but you should be able to knead it without getting it all over your floured hands. Let it sit for 10 minutes while you heat up your oil.
I prefer to use my electric skill because I can control the temperature much easier. If doing this on the stove top I suggesting investing in a thermometer. It is important the oil stay a consistent 350 degrees for if it gets too low, your bread will absorb way too much oil. If it gets too high the outside will look done but it will be raw on the inside. Use enough oil to go 2/3 the way up the pieces you place in the pan. Once the bread rises it will drop to halfway up so don’t panic that your bread will be overdone. As always, when frying with oil lay the bread in going AWAY from you so there are no splatters in your direction. If the oil is up to temp there should be lots of little bubbles around the bread when you place it in. You may find that in order to keep the temperature at 350 degrees after you place your bread in that you need to set the temp to a little higher then that. Also be sure to allow the temp to come back up after batches, so don’t be too quick to put in more pieces.
Speaking of which, lets go over how you make you little bits of bready goodness. You can roll it onto a floured surface to 1/3 an inch thick and use a pizza cutter to make squares. I rip off pieces of down and make 1 inch balls in my hands. Before I place them into the oil I flatten then out. Or you can cook them in the shape of the ball itself and not bother with flattening them. They will look puffy and have golden brown edges halfway up when they are ready to turn. If you are using a deep fryer you still need to check that both sides are done as sometimes they will just float to the top and only the bottom is cooked. Floating is a good sign they are ready to be pulled out.
While the bread is frying, turn the oven onto warm and place paper towels onto a plate. Try to drain as much oil off each piece as you can then place onto your plate. The towel will absorb any extra oil.
There are 2 ways to serve, one is as is and the other is coated in powdered sugar. I tend to serve them plain at dinner and coat the leftovers in sugar for the next day.