Magazine article Sunset

Squiggle Bread

Magazine article Sunset

Squiggle Bread

Article excerpt

These squiggles of fried bread get their shapes from the tools used to drop them into hot cooking oil.

To get crisp, shattery, lacy rounds, pour a thin batter through a funnel or squirt it from a squeeze bottle. Or, for golden strands, push a cream puff paste through a cooky press or pastry bag.

Flavor the crisp breads with anise and sprinkle with sugar, or season with cumin seed to eat with chutney. The long, fluted strands get a dip in cinnamon sugar for sweetness. When they're seasoned with cheese, squiggles become a hot, savory bread. All these variations can be made ahead and reheated. Crisp Anise Lace Bread 1 package active dry yeast 1/3 to 2/3 cup water (about 110[deg.]) 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup warm milk (about 110[deg.]) 2 eggs 1 tablespoon crushed anise seed 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt Salad oil Powdered sugar

Soften yeast in 1/3 cup water. In a bowl, mix flour, milk, eggs, anise, sugar, salt, and yeast mixture until smooth. Cover and let stand in a warm place until almost doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

In a wok or deep 10- to 12-inch frying pan, heat about 1 inch salad oil to 360[deg.] on a thermometer. Stir batter; if needed, stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin to the consistency of a thin pancake batter. Spoon into a squirt bottle (such as used for catsup, honey, or mustard) that has a tight-fitting top with about a 1/4-inch-diameter nozzle opening (trim tip, if needed, to enlarge). Or spoon about 1/2 cup of the batter into a funnel with 3/8- to 1/2-inch-diameter opening; hold finger over opening until ready to cook.

If using a bottle, make sure top is tightly secured then invert bottle and squeeze out a continuous strand of dough into oil; crisscross strands to form a lacy round 6 to 8 inches in diameter. If using a funnel, remove finger blocking spout and let batter flow, slowly moving funnel over oil so strands crisscross to make a lacy disk 4 to 6 inches wide. (Batter thickens as it stands; thin with water as needed.)

Cook bread, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes. With wide, slotted spatulas, carefully lift out bread and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200[deg.] oven until all are done. (If made ahead, cool and store airtight up to 1 day. …

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