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Maori (New Zealand) Fry Bread

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“I was given this recipe by a Nagati Tarawhai cook while in New Zealand. The bread was wonderful . . . I've never tried to make myself, however I believe I've converted the recipe into U.S. standards. I made the original recipe notation in parenthesis. Since this is a worldwide site, thought this would be a perfect place to share!”
1hr 10mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 cups water, 110 degrees (as written -4 Breakfast Cups a bit hotter than warm, but not too hot to kill the yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons yeast (as written - 2 dessert spoons yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (as written - 2 dessert spoons sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (as written, use plain flour, definitely not self-rising flour)
  • 8 -10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 quart cooking oil


  1. Stir together water, yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons flour.
  2. Leave to stand for 15 minutes in a warm position. At the end of 15 minutes this should have about 2 inches of froth on top.
  3. In a large bowl put in 8-10 cups plain flour.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
  5. Make a well in centre and add the yeast mixture. Gradually stir in flour but don't add too much flour at once - a light hand is the story.
  6. When the liquid has absorbed as much flour as necessary for it to be kneaded place on a floured board (in my case on1y plain paper) and knead until you can sit the dough in the palm of hand.
  7. Spread some plain flour on a baking board. Let this stand for 15 minutes -- this is the working time for the yeast and the dough should be nice and spongy and fluffy.
  8. As soon as I have let the dough stand for 15 minutes I prepare my cooking pot. Sufficient lard, dripping, cooking oil or tallow to cover at least 1/3 of cooking utensil. Heat until blue smoke rises (for us in NZ on electric store this takes 15 minutes).
  9. Cooking tip: If the fat does not smoke at end of 15 minutes add a wee bit of used fat -- new fat takes forever to reach the required temperature.
  10. Again! Don't worry overly much about the dough. If it fluffs up nice and spongy and fat is not ready to fry bread, then just knead the dough again and let stand, but perhaps for only 10 minutes this time.
  11. All things being equal, the dough and the fat should be ready together by this time.
  12. So press the dough out (add flour if the board is sticky).
  13. Cut into required (triangles, squares, etc) shaped, pressing to about 1/4 inch thick.
  14. Fry one side, then brown fry other side and there is your bread.
  15. Well, hope you enjoy your cooking and eating.
  16. Signed -- Ngati Tarwhai Cooks.

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