Food blogger Alana Yazzie shares a family recipe for tortillas, fry bread, and biscuits that is sure to complement any Native cuisine.
We can’t get enough of Alana Yazzie’s Native American dishes with a fancy twist, so we’re sharing another one of the blogger’s most popular recipes—Magic Bread. With some slight variations, this recipe can make tortillas, fry bread, or biscuits. And although Yazzie’s mom and grandma can make this recipe without measuring cups or spoons (the true test as Yazzie says), she’s provided us with the exact measurements, tips, and tricks needed to create a tasty treat.
Below, read an excerpt from Yazzie’s blog to learn more about the tradition and meaning behind the recipe.
I have always been fascinated with cooking. Growing up, I would see my mom in the kitchen as she magically poured handfuls of flour into a large mixing bowl, a pinch of baking powder, and a dash of salt. No measuring cups needed at all. A white cloud of flour would fill the air as she moved her bowl over to the kitchen sink. The water ran as she peered out the window while she waited for the water to run warm. I always wondered what she was thinking.
She always looked so beautiful in that moment with her cheeks and hair lightly dusted with flour. She let the water stream into the bowl, and I was always amazed how she knew when to turn the water off. Seconds later, I would hear thudding noises as she kneaded the dough in the bowl. After kneading the dough, she would cover the bowl with a plate and let it sit. It was always a mystery to see what would happen next. This was magic dough. Was shimá (mom) going to make tortillas, biscuits, or fry bread? —TheFancyNavajo.com
Alana Yazzie’s mom making dough at her kitchen sink.
Fancy Navajo Magic Bread Recipe: Tortilla, Fry Bread, and Biscuit Dough
Yields 8 – 10 pieces of bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil (tortilla and biscuits only)
1 ½ cups warm water
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt by hand.
Add in olive oil or vegetable oil and mix into dough until evenly combined (tortillas and biscuits only).
Add in 1 cup of warm water and mix dough until all of the dry ingredients are combined.
- You want your dough to be slightly tacky, but not runny, as you start to knead your bread. If more water is needed, add in a splash more water.
- It’s important not to add too much or too little water. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to add more water than less.
- If your dough is too watery, add more flour.
- If your dough is tough and dry, depending on how much you kneaded your dough, you may be able to add more water. If not, continue to knead your dough, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
Let your dough sit covered on the counter for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
If you are making tortillas, then at this point you can warm up a skillet and form dough into round flat circles that are 1/4 inch thick and cook for at least 1 minute on each side.
If you are making fry bread, heat a shallow pan on medium heat. Add oil, filling the pan half way. You know oil is ready when you test a small piece of the dough and it turns golden. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. I highly recommend using vegetable or canola oil. Fry on both sides, until golden brown.
If you are making biscuits, preheat oven to 420 degrees. Form biscuits into flat shaped disks. Arrange onto a baking pan and let cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown.
Recipe: courtesy Alana Yazzie of TheFancyNavajo.com
Photography: (All images) courtesy Alana Yazzie