Friday, May 18, 2012

You Tiao, Chinese Donuts, Fried Dough Crullers

Hello everybody,

I hope you had a nice week. Last weekend, I made You Tiao or Chinese Dough Crullers and was pretty pleased with the results. Very few people still bother to make you tiao freshly at home, especially in Asia, where they are commonly sold at food courts, markets and restaurants. It is a pity because outside of Asia, it is quite difficult locate a fresh and crunchy one, embraced by hot oil merely seconds ago. Want to re-create this experience?  Don't worry, because you tiao is actually very easy to make.  If I had to describe the technique involved in making you tiao, I guess it would be very similar to making a beignet or a doughnut, except because you tiao has more leavening agents, when fried, it produces larger air bubbles, creating "holes" in the bread.  The final results? A you tiao that is crispy, juicy and crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.

Here is a detailed, step by step you tiao recipe. *Just a side note, if this is your first time making you tiao, trust that this recipe will give you good results in terms of taste and texture.  But to get the you tiao perfectly straight and joined together at the "hips" without splitting holes in the middle will take some practice.  Be patient, you will get there.  Also, because you tiaos are usually cut into bite size pieces before serving, the look of the you tiao when they are whole and un-cut will matter even less.  You'll see what I mean when you actually make it. This will all make sense.

You Tiao, Chinese Doughnuts, Fried Dough Fritters

Yield: 24 Full Sized You Tiaos

Printer-Friendly Version

6 cups (1-1/3 lbs) bread flour
2 cups of water
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1-1/2 Tsp Alum
1-1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil to Coat Dough
1 Large Can Crisco for Frying

In a large mixing bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, alum and salt. Stir to mix. Next, add water and stir with a fork until all the ingredients have dissolved.

In a separate bowl, measure the bread flour. Add the bread flour directly to the water mixture. Use a large spatula to mix the flour into the dough, scraping down the flour on the sides of the bowl as you go along.  At the point, the texture of the dough will appear rough and a little sticky- this is normal and ok.  Let the dough stand for 15-20 minutes.

Next, grab the dough around the edges and fold it back back into to the center of the dough. Repeat this step until the whole outer edge has been folded back into the center. Continue to do this 3-4 times and then let the dough rest again for 15-20 minutes.  (Note: The dough may be appear rough and sticky at this stage, again this is normal, continue.  Depending on your local climate, if the dough appears too sticky and you have already let it rest, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour and work it into the dough. Most of the time this step won't be needed.).

After resting, repeat the step above once more, pulling from the edges and folding the edges of the dough into the center and continue to do this 8-10 times.  (You will notice that the dough will get smoother and more elastic as you continue to fold).

Next, lift the dough up with your hands, drop 2 tablespoons of oil into the bowl, coat the oil all around the bottom of the bowl and return the dough back into the bowl.  Turn over once to coat completely. Allow the oil to coat the entire surface of the dough ball.  Let this oiled dough ball rest for 1 hour.

After resting the dough ball, remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Wrap the dough up and shape it into a rectangular log shape.  Let this rest for 4 hours. Make sure the dough is covered completely or you will find dry patches.
You Tiao Dough after resting for 4 hours.  Ready to be rolled and cut.
Unwrap the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, 3 inches wide and 1/16 inch thick.  This will result in a very long strip of dough.  Tip: It may be easier to gently tug on the dough to stretch the dough out in sections.  When the dough is long enough, you will find that the width of the dough will naturally become 3 inches wide and the thickness will be approximately 1/16 inch thick.
You can use a rolling pin to flatten and pull the dough out into a loooong strip.  Once the dough is 3 wide, you will notice that naturally, the thickness will be approximately 1/16 inch thick.
Cut the dough into strips.
Cut the stretched out dough into strips. Score the center of one side of the dough with a knife to create a small impression. Place two strips on top of each other and use a bamboo skewer or a pastry cutter to press lengthwise in the middle of the strip to secure.
Score the dough in the middle gently with a knife.  This will help the two dough strips to adhere to each other better.
Finally, stretch out the dough strip slightly (give it a gentle tug) before dropping it in the hot oil.
A You Tiao Dough, scretched out.
In a large skillet or wok, heat vegetable shortening on high for 2 mins. Once it has melted, turn the heat to medium.  Fry the you tiaos for about 1-2 mins on each side, flipping each over until the dough has turned a golden brown color.

Enjoy warm. If you would like to store the you tiaos, the best way to preserve their freshness is to cut them up into bite sized pieces and freeze. When you are ready to eat it, pop of a few of them into a toaster oven and they will heat and crisp up nicely. You can also use these doughnuts to top congee and other Asian desserts.
You Tiao nicely chopped up ready to be served.
Thanks for reading!  If you have other topics you would like me to research, please leave me a message in the comments.


Source: Recipe adapted from Chinese Snacks Cookbook by Huang Su Huei

Resource: Dough Scrapper Silpat

Full disclosure:
* is an official distributor of Silpat.
The Browncookie blog is the official blog of sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.


  1. how much baking soda did you use? don't we need any yeast? thanks

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I used 2 tsp spoon of baking soda. There is no yeast needed. The baking soda and baking powder do all the heavy lifting. :) Thanks for visiting!

  2. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi!

    What's the purpose of alum? Can it be omitted? Thx...

    1. Alum is an acid like citric acid or others so that the soda Na2CO3 base can react and form bubbles CO2 carbon dioxide.

      Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, lemon juice buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!

    2. Thanks for replying TL! What a great answer! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...