Chinese Crullers (Youtiao)
- 250g (2 Cups) Plain/All-purpose Flour
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1+1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
- 79ml (1/3 Cup) Water, Give or Take (Depends on kitchen humidity)
- Vegetable Oil, As Needed
- Add all the ingredients except the water into the mixer bowl.
- On low setting with a dough hook, knead till everything is combined.
- Begin to add the water bit by bit as you knead on same setting.
- This part is crucial, you need to get the softness of the dough just right.
- Unfortunately there isn’t much of a guide to this for water measurement as it may very much depend on how humid your location is.
- You’re looking for as soft of a dough as you can get, without it sticking to the bowl. So when you feel it is beginning to stick to the bowl then stop and feel it.
- Knead for 15 minutes or so, check the consistency once more. If needed, add more water and give it another 5 minutes or so.
- If doing this by hand, you’ll just need an additional 5 minutes more of kneading.
- Flour the counter and flatten the dough into a long rectangle that is 0.6cm (1/4″) thick and 10cm (4″) wide. Try to make it as neat and uniform as you can so you won’t have to trim and waste any dough later on.
- Spread cling wrap over the counter, place the dough on top and wrap it tightly.
- Turn it over so the ends of the cling wrap are weighed down for an airtight seal.
- Place it on a tray or plate and chill overnight to relax the gluten. This step’s essential for something like this that uses no yeast.
- Next morning, patience will be your best friend. Take out the dough and give it at least a couple of hours to come back to room temperature. It needs to feel incredibly soft again or else it won’t fry up properly and may not cook the way it should.
- Now flip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and lightly flour the top of the dough too.
- Divide into 2.5cm (1″) wide bars, try to cut an even number for the next step.
- Stack one on top of another to form pairs.
- Using a well floured skewer, press down the center lengthwise to almost form four connected bars.
- Holding onto both ends, gently stretch till you are at least doubled in length of what the original strip was. If you don’t like using too much frying oil like me, you can then cut these strips in half so they won’t need as much oil to fry up. Either 23cm (9″) or 10cm (4″) or so for the two options.
- Repeat for the others. Cover if not soft enough yet.
- Now heat up the oil – you want enough oil to allow room for the crullers to turn and float. I did it in a regular, small saucepan about half filled and just one cruller at a time, checking the temperature with a thermometer every two or three crullers.
- Once the oil steadily increases to 204C (400F) it is ready to fry. It is important to turn the heat a little lower and judge whether it is stable. If it is too high of a heat it will quickly overheat and burn what you are frying. If it’s turned too low it will drop quickly once you start frying. But steady increases and slight adjustments are crucial – this is what I learnt 🙂
- Lower the cruller in and quickly use a long utensil like chopsticks or tongs to turn it constantly and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is golden all over. Don’t want to see any pale parts down the splits or it may be doughy in the middle.
- Place on a wire rack over a pan to drain excess oils. They are nice slightly warmed in an oven before dunking into hot or cold soy milk.
- They can also be frozen after being fried.
- They should be crisp on the outside and lots of airy holes whilst being somewhat pleasantly chewy. You can always test one and let it rest before tasting to see how you want to adjust the cooking process.