Newfie Toutons: Newfoundland Recipes
On my Newfie side of the family, fried dough isn’t just reserved for county fairs. Toutons (our version of fried dough) are served year-round anytime there is extra bread dough. These fried dough pucks are served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at my house! Since many Newfies still make fresh bread weekly, there is typically lots of extra dough to go around.
A Tradition of Toutons
When I was growing up, “toutons” were one of those things that only grandma could make right. That is probably because her own mother fried up these bits of leftover bread dough for her and her siblings almost daily. Actually, both my grandparents had mothers who baked bread for their families every day.
With almost twenty children between them, my great-grandmothers truly knew the art of feeding their families with love and food. Their small kitchens with wood-fired stoves served out more tasty meals in a lifetime than I can even fathom.
My grandparents were raised on a small island off the coast of Newfoundland called Bell Island. Bell Islands’ main resource was iron ore, and as such, most all men went to work in the mines from sun up to sun down, leaving the women to manage the household and children. Most families on the island were large, and raising a dozen children was fairly common.
Unfortunately, when the mines started to close, many of the young men were forced to seek employment elsewhere. For my family, and hundreds of others, the smartest decision was moving to the United States. In 1965, my grandparents immigrated to rural Massachusetts with their newborn baby, my father.
My family has remained settled in that same rural town for almost sixty years now. They have established a life and family here, and for that I am thankful every day; I love my life and community.
I’ve been making this family bread recipe for over a decade now, and it’s still my go-to bread. Toutons are usually fried up with any extra bits of bread dough that aren’t needed to bake a full loaf of bread. Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I make an entire batch of dough just to fry (shh!).
Sometimes we top them with maple syrup or powdered sugar. However, to eat them traditionally, I suggest molasses. Also, I use canola or vegetable oil to fry the bread, but my great-grandmothers would have used pork fat or butter.
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 cups all purpose white flour
- 3 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
- Oil for frying
- Proof yeast: combine yeast, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons hot water. Let proof for 10 minutes.
- Add butter, half of the flour, and the remaining water to the yeast mix. Stir to combine.
- Add remaining flour to the dough and knead by hand for 15+ minutes or in a mixer with a dough hook for 8+ minutes. Add additional flour as needed until the dough passes the windowpane test.
- Place dough into a large buttered bowl, cover, and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Heat about 1/2" oil to 375° in a cast iron skillet on a stovetop
- Cut and stretch ping-pong ball sections of dough to create 1-2" pucks
- Fry pucks for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned
- Top with molasses, maple syrup, or powdered sugar. Serve warm.
*This recipe will provide you with eighteen+ toutons or one loaf of bread. I suggest doubling the recipe and having your "toutons and bread, too" 😉
*To use this recipe to bake bread: after the first rise reserve half the dough to place in a buttered loaf pan and rise 30-60 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.