Leavened Dough

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

When unrolled leavened dough is fried, the action of yeast or of chemical leavening agents produces a product with a characteristically porous interior and a crisp or soft outer surface, depending on the specific recipe. Traditionally prepared for particular festivals or celebrations, fried leavened dough is also commonly sold commercially, the doughnut being the most prominent example. See doughnuts. One variation of fried leavened dough takes the form of large sheets or disks, variously called in North American “fried dough,” “elephant ears,” “beaver tails,” or “flying saucers.” These treats are frequently sold at festivals and fairs. Variations on this style of fried dough are served with either savory or sweet toppings, as in the case of Native American frybread and Hungarian lángos; or they can be eaten with sweet toppings exclusively, as is Bulgarian mekitsa. Many examples of smaller fried leavened dough products abound. In English-speaking countries they are often collectively described as “doughnuts,” but this very large group of fried doughs includes loukoumades from Greece, South African koeksister, Mongolian boortsog, Japanese sata andagi, German Krapfen, oliebollen from the Netherlands, Indian balushai, and Lebanese awwamaat.