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Quick & Easy Gourmet: Fried Bread Puffs

By Simeona Nygren
Published: June 6, 2011
FINGER TEST – Before rising, the bread should be sticky enough to form a string like this.
FRYING – Push the dough off of a large spoon with your finger, in one swoop.
FLIP CAREFULLY – Peek at the underside of the bread puffs to make sure they're golden brown before flipping.
PERFECTLY DONE – The golden puffs should be placed to drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
Food styling and photos by John & Tanya Bäck

In Serbia these are called ustipci (pronounced oosh-teep-tsee). But your friends and family will probably just call them delicious. Makes approximately 4 dozen.


2 tablespoons active dry yeast

¾ cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups milk

½ cup butter

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs
Zest of 1 large lemon plus the juice

6 cups flour (more if needed)

1 teaspoon salt

1 quart vegetable oil for frying


1. Proof yeast and warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar about 5 min in a 6 quart mixing bowl.   

2. Heat 1½ cups milk, butter and sugar in microwave for approximately 2 minutes. Then add remaining ½ cup milk to cool it off, followed with slightly beaten eggs, lemon zest and juice. Add this liquid to proofed yeast.

3. Mix salt with some of the flour. Add flour gradually. Beat by hand or with hand mixer or standard mixer until all 6 cups of flour are well blended.  

4. Test dough with your finger. It’s ready if a little sticks to your finger when pressed.

5. Cover first with plastic wrap and then a towel.

6. Let the dough rise in warm place about 1 to 1½ hours.  Do not punch down.

7. Pour about 1½ inch of oil into a 10- or 12-inch cast iron frying pan. Heat oil until medium hot (about 300 to 310 degrees). Test temperature by carefully dropping 1 large tablespoon of dough into oil. You’ll want to push the dough off the spoon with your finger or another smaller spoon. If the oil slightly bubbles around the puff, you’re good to go.

8. Watch oil temperature and regulate accordingly. Don’t fry too fast or center will be doughy. You should be able to fit 6 to 8 puffs into the pan at a time.

9. Turn over the puffs with a slotted spoon when they turn golden brown at the edges.

10. When golden on other side remove to cookie sheet lined with paper toweling. Sprinkle them with sugar (if desired) while they’re warm.

Note: Extra bread puffs can be frozen, as long as they are not sugared. Simply wrap them in plastic wrap and then in foil or freezer bags. When needed, thaw by slightly heating in microwave and then go ahead and sprinkle with sugar.  

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