A type of Chinese doughnut, Bánh Tiêu is stands out from the rest due to its unique characteristics. They should be light, round, slightly sweet and crunchy center with a hollow center. I got this recipe from a Vietnamese cookbook authored by the well known Madam Quốc Việt aka Gia Chánh Quốc Việt. The original recipe instructs to prove a starter dough for 12 hours before making the main dough which then has to prove for an additional hour before frying. However, I after a few times of following the recipe exactly I came to ponder why not just mix everything at once and fry the dough immediately afterwards? After all the leavener in this recipe is baking ammonia; unlike yeast, baking ammonia doesn’t “grow” if you prove it, so what’s the point of proving the starter? So into the kitchen I went to test my new theory. Happy to say, I was a success!
-40g bread flour
-1/4tsp baking ammonia
*Mix everything together and prove overnight (12 hours).
-250g bread flour
*Mix together starter, sugar, water, and salt. Add this mixture to the flour and knead to form a smooth dough. Prove for ½ hour, divide into 10-12 portions, roll into balls and sprinkle sesame seeds on both sides of the dough balls, prove for another ½ hour. Finally, heat a frying pan with enough oil deep fry. Roll balls into flat circles and drop into the hot oil. Within seconds the dough pieces should float to the surface and puff up. Remove when golden.
½ hour version (based on the original version above):
-290g bread flour
-1/4 tsp baking ammonia
-3/4 tsp salt
*Mix together flour and sugar. In a in a different bowl mix together ammonia, salt and water. Add this mixture to the flour and sugar. Knead to form a smooth dough. Rest dough for 5 mins, before dividing into 10-12 portions. Roll each portion into round balls and sprinkle sesame seeds on both sides. Heat a frying pan with enough oil to deep fry. Roll dough balls into flat circles and deep fry until puffy and golden.
Can add ¼ tsp 5 spice powder for a more interesting flavor. All purpose flour can be substituted if bread flour is not on hand.
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