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Native American Fry Breads

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You've heard of quick breads, homemade from scratch or baked from a packaged mix. Here are four bread recipes from four Native American tribes -- Navajo, Chippewa, Oneida, and Cheyenne. The first three recipes are flour-based and require a deft, confident hand and, since the frying instructions for all three are similar, directions are at the end. The fourth featuring corn meal calls for a strong stirring arm, and is baked in oven. Navajo Fry Bread: 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt, water. Mix dry ingredients together with only enough water to form the dough into a firm ball. Knead until smooth.

Chippewa Fry Bread: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, 1 tbsp. nonfat dry milk powder. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Mix water with oil and dry milk powder and stir into dry ingredients until smooth dough forms. Knead briefly on a floured surface, then cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Oneida Fry Bread: 4 cups all-purpose flour, two tsps. salt, 4 heaping teaspoons baking powder. Mix flours, salt, baking powder with just enough water to make a dough. Knead 2 or 3 minutes.

Now, for all three fry breads: pinch off enough dough to make a round patty, flatten with your hand and punch a hole in center. Drop into skillet with about 1 inch of hot oil or shortening, fry over medium high heat until puffed and light brown on both sides, turning once. Remove, drain on paper towels. Can be served with cinnamon-sugar, honey, or jelly.

Cheyenne Batter Bread: 1 quart milk, 1 tbsp. melted butter, 2 cups white cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 large eggs. Slowly stir cornmeal into boiling milk. Remove from heat. Cool to very warm to the touch, add beaten eggs, melted butter, and salt. Pour into greased 9x13 casserole dish and bake at 375 until firm.


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