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Breads, Breakfasts

Baptist cakes

Baptist cakes
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

John T. Edge is kind of infuriating. On one hand, the food writer and director of the Southern Food Alliance has a noble curiosity about quirky small-town ways. It's spurred him to collect lots of regional recipes, resulting in a ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour plus 1 hour, 15 minutes rising time | Makes 40 to 50 cakes
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, melted and cooled slightly
  • 8 to 9 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 gallon peanut or vegetable oil for frying

Step 1Dissolve the yeast in one-half cup warm water, stirring.

Step 2Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 cup cool water, the milk, salt and sugar.

Step 3Add the yeast mixture and the shortening. Add the flour, stirring until the mixture is stiff.

Step 4Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead as you would bread, until a rough ball can be formed.

Step 5Grease a heat-proof bowl or kettle with the softened butter. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic. Store in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Step 6Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to a thickness of one-half inch, then cut into 2-inch squares. Place on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Step 7Pour the oil into a cast-iron Dutch oven or other deep, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. Fry each square for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to dry on wire racks.

Step 8Serve with a dunking bowl of warm milk topped with a pat of butter, or maybe a bowl of maple syrup heated until warm.

Note: From "Donuts: An American Passion" by John T. Edge.

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