Sep 112015
 
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This is a traditional Appalachian skillet bread. My great-aunt Ella Fay made it for me when I was a girl. I don’t remember my Granny making it, but I know her dad, my Great-Grandpa Courtney did. It’s traditionally made in an iron skillet and fried in butter or margarine. Be sure to keep the heat medium-low or even low if your stove runs hot. You want the bread to cook all the way through before it gets too brown or burns. Low heat ensures this.

I think in northern areas this might be called Bannock. In Appalachia though, it’s called skillet bread or fry-bread.

I’ve only seen this recipe in one other place, a blog called Writing in the Blackberry Patch. She uses self-rising flour, but my great-aunt always used plain white flour and added her own baking powder and salt. I don’t know how my great-grandpa made it. I just remember thinking he was very clever.

This bread is served cut into wedges or torn into pieces. It’s traditional to serve it covered with sausage gravy or bacon gravy or tomato gravy. It’s good under creamed tuna too. Ella Fay liked hers covered in apple butter.

I don’t think this recipe is in the Fox Fire books, but if anyone knows that it is, please leave a comment so I can look it up in my own collection and show it to my Granny. She loves it when stuff she already knows is in those books.

This recipe calls for 3/4-cup milk and 1-tablespoon vinegar. You can replace this with 1-full cup of buttermilk if you prefer. Another alternative is to use 1/2-cup yogurt and 1/2-cup milk.

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Country Style Skillet Bread or Fry Bread

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4-cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4-cup margarine or other fat for frying

Directions

First get out a large skillet, at least 10-inches. Place the margarine in the skillet and allow it to heat over a low to medium-low temperature. You don’t want it to be too hot.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Crack in the egg and pour in the milk and vinegar. Stir the batter with a fork. It will be very thick, but it will not be a dough. It’s thicker than muffin batter, maybe like drop biscuit batter. Add another spoonful or two of milk if your batter is dry. Mix well.

Use a large spoon or your hand to scrape the batter into the hot skillet on the stove. Spread it all out until it almost covers the bottom of the skillet but doesn’t touch up against the sides. A little touching is okay, but you don’t want it to get stuck to the sides of the skillet.

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Make sure the temperature of your skillet is low. Cover the pan with a lid if you have one. This will help it bake more thoroughly.

Allow the bread to cook for 5 to 8-minutes, or until the under side is golden brown and the top has a few bubbles on it, like pancakes.

Now is the tricky part. Using your largest pancake-turner, flip the whole thing over, back into the skillet, and let it settle into place. Cook the second side over low heat, until it’s golden brown and the bread is cooked through. You can poke a knife down into the center to see if it comes out clean. If any dough is sticking to it, then the bread needs to cook a little longer. Turn down the heat if you need to, so it can cook through without burning.

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When the bread is done flip it onto a plate. Let it cool for at least 5-minutes and then cut it into wedges. This amount serves 1-very hungry grandpa and a little girl who has helped with the chickens, the turkeys, the cow and worked up a hearty appetite, or 2-starving teenagers. This is a filling bread, and with the milk and egg it’s got enough protein to stick to your ribs.

fry-bread-skillet3Here’s a close-up of the edge. You can see how it rises in the center while the top and bottom cook.

  4 Responses to “Country Style Skillet Bread”

  1. Maggie, did you ever stir up memories with this recipe. It was a favorite of my great-grandma, Mammy. There’s a story in itself. My cousin, Diane once told Mammy that she was the meanest white woman in the world. Cousin couldn’t sit for a week but she said it was worth it just to say exactly what she wanted to say when she said it.

    Mammy made this quite often when she lived with us. With dried beans, fresh green beans from the garden, sliced fresh tomatoes which had been out in the sun ten minutes before she washed and sliced them. And a mound of cottage cheese, cold from the fridge, and sometimes fried potatoes. That was how we ate when I was a kid. And if we were lucky sometimes fried fruit pies. I couldn’t eat that way now, though sometimes I’d really love to.

    This was real Ozarks eating. (Really Alabama eating because that’s where my mother’s family came from).

    But I still think the Salaratus (sp?) is the best I’ve ever tasted. That’s my story and I’m sticking’ to it.

    Frankie

    • What a funny story. I’m not sure such a whooping would have worth it to me, lol. This recipe is as country as it gets. I think a lot of the country food from the Ozarks and Appalachia have the same roots. I’ve heard from other readers who ate the same way as you describe. My Granny didn’t make fried pies but she did make giant vats of stewed fruits that she baked pie dough on top of. We called them fruit-pies, but they aren’t like the pretty ones you see in stores today. They were so good though. Sometimes I wish I could eat the way I used to, but I feel so much better these days and I am not willing to give up how good I feel, even for something as tasty as this skillet bread, or granny’s pies. One day I hope to make this skillet bread with GLAD flour. I think it would work, it’s just a matter of making the time to perfect it.

      I am so pleased you enjoy the Saleratus Corn Bread so much. We do too. It’s one of our staples and we eat it at least once a week. It’s a real keeper. 🙂

  2. I’ve lived through some times so difficult that I didn’t think I could ever come out on the other side with a brain left in my poor head. But PTL, I did and strange as it may sound to some, I’m glad I went through them because each one made me a much stronger person as well as resourceful.

    As the old saying goes, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do”. I pity younger generations with their “fast food addictions” and the “I want that and I want it NOW.”

    My sons didn’t have a lot but it hasn’t seemed to have marked them
    for life so badly. And my 2 older sons can literally “smell” a needed item a mile away if it’s a bargain.
    Unfortunately #3 son married a real spender the first time but, his present wife is a real winner in all categories. PTL And I love all 3 of my daughters-in-law for which I consider myself 3X blessed.

    Frankie

  3. Oh that’s funny about marrying a spender the first time around. LOL, my MIL thought I married my Fred for his money. Now I just roll on the floor thinking about it. As if he ever had any money for me to marry him for. *snort* I started praying for my son’s wives when they were toddlers. I still pray for them. I havne’t met them yet, neither have the boys, as far as I know, but wherever those ladies are, I’ve been praying for them since they were babies. I trust that the Lord is keeping them close to Him, because with my boys, they’re going to need the Lord. Hee!

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