Fried Bread Dough
This recipe comes from my grandmother, Baba Ika. She would make them for my cousins when they visited her on holidays in Croatia. My grandparents lived in a village called Vrsi in Zadar. Now I never got to experience a holiday with my grandparents, but I go there now with my family, and I feel like I am home. I stay in my grandparents house, I walk the streets my mother walked as a child, visit the places she visited, and the feeling I get while there, is special. You walk to the local shops and the old men and women from the village sit around talking, you say good morning, and they now who you are, because they knew your grandparents and your mother. You're part of a family there. You go down to the cemetary to place flowers or a candle on your grandparents grave and you see names of your family relatives. There is no place like it for me. It is home, even though I wasn't born there or live there.
With this recipe and my own no knead bread recipe as a guide, the next morning I attempted to make peci paje. Now as I was trying it for the first time, I figured i'd start with 500g flour, then I scattered over the dried yeast. I added 1/2 cup warm milk and 1/2 cup warm water and about a tablespoon of canola oil. Gave it a mix with a spoon, it was too dry, so I added a teaspoon of salt, then looked at my own bread recipe, saw the liquid quantity of that recipe, then added and extra 100mls of warm water. Gave it a stir, it felt right. I started to knead it for a few minutes in the bowl, it was sticky, but not too wet. I let it rest, covered, for an hour, then fried a few testers, they were perfect. I shaped some as squares, some sausage shaped. I could roll the dough, it was sticky, but you could work with it. Then as my kids were sleeping I let it rest for a further hour and fried them all. They puffed up beautifully. My grandmother served them sprinkled with sugar, so I did to, they were delicious. One of my kids liked them without sugar, to eat it like bread. It has a bread/doughnut vibe to it.
So here I share a family recipe to you that I got passed down to me, by sharing this recipe, I am making sure this recipe continues to be cooked for generations to come.
500g plain flour
175ml warm water
175ml warm milk
1 x 7g packet dried yeast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
Caster Sugar, for sprinkling
In a bowl mix the flour, water, milk, oil and yeast together with a wooden spoon until combined.
Add salt and mix again. Now knead for a few minutes, until the dough ingredients are well combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it prove for 1-2 hours.
When it's ready , I pinch off about a golf ball size piece of dough, then you can either roll them on your bench into a sausage shape, or just use your hands to shape them into circles or squares, they just need to no more than 1/2-1cm thick before frying.
Heat your oil over a medium heat, you will need about 1cm of oil in a frying and fry until golden brown on one side, then flip over and fry until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to remove excess oil, sprinkle with caster sugar while hot as it sticks better. If your oil is too hot, it will burn on the outside before the centre is cooked, so keep the temperature on medium.
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