Fried Bread? Yes!

Zingerman’s 4th Annual Camp Bacon is coming soon and to help get everyone prepared, we’re sharing tasty excerpts and recipes from Ari’s book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon

pig-sunAmerican Fried Bread

I learned this really simple dish from the book Things Mother Used to Make, published in 1914 by Lydia Maria Gurney. It’s probably as down-to-earth, backwoods American cooking as you’re going to get. You can serve it as is for breakfast or add a bit sorghum syrup, maple syrup, or molasses drizzled on top. It’s also good sitting next to a salad for lunch or a light supper.

If you have reserved bacon fat on hand already you can just use that. If not, start by frying some bacon (let’s say one slice per slice of bread) in a skillet. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan. (In tight time, the meat would have been used for other purposes later, but I’d say chop it and serve it on a salad alongside the bread.)

Keeping the fat hot, put slices of stale bread into the pan. You can, of course, use most any bread, but my current favorite is a Zingerman’s Bakehouse mainstay and longtime American classic. Around here we call it Roadhouse Bread, but it was known in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as Rye ‘n’ Injun, or, at times, Thirded Bread. It’s made with a mix of rye, wheat, and corn (hence the reference to thirds) and has a bit of molasses in it, as well. It’s great on its own, and better still with bacon.

While the bread is frying add a couple of teaspoonfuls of either warm water or milk to the pan, and, if you like, flip it and cook until it’s nicely browned on the other side. As Mrs. Gurney said at the start of the last century, “This is a very appetizing dish.”