How To Make Youtiao?
So we wanted to show you how to make Youtiao, Chinese fried dough sticks. Also called Chinese Crullers or You Char Kwai, these are great breakfast food that you can find on the street all over China.
We’ll be making a southern style Youtiao, with leavening agents. They’re super crispy, and puff up real nice. They’re perfect for dipping in some fresh homemade soymilk, so be sure to check out our soymilk video as well!
How To Make Youtiao?
How To Make A Chinese Fried Dough Stick?
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Today, we wanted to show you how to make Youtiao, Chinese deep fried breadsticks.
They’re a really classic breakfast food that you can find all over the streets in China, a good Youtiao’ll be crispy on the outside, nice and airy on the inside,
and also easily pull apart.
Now, at least for me, I can’t really separate breakfast Youtiao from freshly made soymilk, so if making homemade soy milk’s new to you, I’d definitely recommend checking out our how to make soymilk video as well.
So right, to get started with Youtiao, we’ll need flour.
This was 200 grams of all purpose flour, 10.5% protein to be exact.
For the style of Youtiao that we’re making, we’re going with 62.5% hydration, so 125 grams of water.
Now because we’ll never not be annoying and obsessive, to make the Youtiao extra crispy, to that water we’ll add in some dried cuttlefish bones.
Now, please understand that these bones are totally optional, you can get great results without as well, but cuttlefish bones are high in calcium carbonate, which promotes puffing and also helps reduce browning which allows our Youtiao to fry for longer.
Historically, the most traditional Youtiao additive was Borax, which would probably be fine but may or may not be acutely toxic… so pounded cuttlefish bone it is.
So then to those 10 grams of cuttlefish bones, add in your water, and continue to pound that together for about a minute.
Then pour that through a tofu or cheesecloth, and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Now again, if you can’t find cuttlefish bones, don’t worry, just charge ahead without, because we’ve got a few more leaveners on the way.
We’ll also be adding in one gram of baking powder, two grams of baking soda, and two grams of our old friend, choufen, ammonium bicarbonate.
Now note that Chinese choufen is actually not pure ammonium… it’s generally about half ammonium bicarbonate and half baking soda, so if you’re using pure ammonium bicarbonate, use only one gram and up the baking soda to three grams.
We’ll also be adding in six grams of egg white, which crisps up Youtiao dought much in the same way it does pizza crust, and also six grams of salt.
So just add all those to your bone water, give it a good mix, then sift in your flour.
Combine well, and knead for about five minutes until it comes together and no longer sticks to your hands.
Then cover that with a damp towel, and let it rest for one hour.
An hour later now, we’re ready to make some Youtiao.
Oil up a silpat or some other smooth surface, and also rub a generous amount all over your dough.
Then, roughly shape it out into a log, slice that log in half, press it down with you hands, then roll it out into a thin sheet about two millimeters thick.
Then slice that sheet in half, and cut those into roughly two centimeter wide strips.
Stack the dough pieces on top of eachother, then continue with the remainder, cover all that with a damp towel, and let the dough relax for another ten minutes.
Now to fry, get a pot of oil up to 180C, then quickly finish forming your Youtiao.
To do so, press down on the dough with a chopstick so that the two pieces stick together, lightly press the edges, and firmly press and shape the ends into a sort of fan with your thumbs.
Then pull it longer, move over to the wok, pull it a touch longer again… and drop in the oil.
But at this point… we gotta be honest, we bumped into a problem.
For some reason, our Youtiao just weren’t puffing up nice like we’re used to.
We tried getting the oil hotter… but that wasn’t much help.
Eventually we figured out that that the issue was dry dough.
We were outside, it was a windy day, and setting up the camera and everything took a while.
So while this batch was edible it’s not what you or us really want, so we took things
inside and made a whole new batch.
Much respect to the venders that can do this outside everyday on the street.
So forgive the lighting here, our kitchen is about as bright as the crypts of Winterfell,same deal, 180 centigrade oil.
Drop your stretched Youtiao in, and let it do its thing.
It’ll quickly rise, but don’t flip til it’s nice and puffed up… about thirty seconds or so.
Let it go on the other side for about fifteen seconds, then continuously flip the guy until it’s browned to your liking, about fifteen to thirty seconds more.
Now quick word that sometimes when you drop in your Youtiao, you might can get a bit of curving, if that happens, you gotta straighten it like within the first three second of cooking.
but even if you can’t get to it, a slightly curved Youtiao isn’t the end of the world.
Now if you’ve never had Youtiao before, word of warning that they’re only good straight from the fryer.
After even just ten minutes they start softening and becoming chewy… so be sure to enjoy them immediately after cooking.
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