Alutiiq Fry Bread

This recipe was handed down from Mary Youngblood’s mother, Nadia Tanape’, and is an Alutiiq Fry Bread from Alaska.  Tanape’ means “The Kayak Builders” in Alutiiq.

6 to 7 C all-purpose Flour
3 T Sugar
1 T Salt
2 T Shortening
2 pkg. regular or quick active Dry Yeast (4-1/2 t)
2-1/4 C very warm Milk* (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)
2 T Butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir 3-1/2 C of the Flour, the Sugar, Salt, Shortening and Yeast until well-mixed.  Add Warm Milk.  Beat with electric mixer on low speed for one minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Beat on medium speed for one minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir in enough remaining flour, one cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.

Place dough on lightly-floured surface.  Knead about 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and springy.  Grease a large bowl with Shortening.  Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides.  Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place approximately 40 to 0 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.  Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

Punch down dough and form into thin, flat rounds.  Fry rounds of dough in hot oil until golden and bubbles appear on the dough.  Turn over and fry on other side until golden brown (turning more than once will make the fry bread tough!).  Drain on paper towel.  Serve hot with your choice of topping(s).  For a dessert Fry Bread, serve with Butter and/or Cinnamon and Sugar.

*Mary says that her favourite variation of this recipe is to substitute 2-1/4 C Warm Buttermilk in place of the Warm Milk.  This makes a more dense and chewy Fry Bread.  YUM!


Shuck Bread
(Gluten & Sugar Free)

This is traditional cornbread.  The Choctaws call it Bu-Na-Ha.

8 dried or fresh Corn Shucks
2 C White Cornmeal
1 t Baking Soda
1-1/2 C Boiling Water
1 C partially cooked Black-Eyed Peas or frozen Black-Eyed Peas
Butter (for serving)
Salt (for serving)

Boil shucks in water for about 10 minutes; drain, and reserve.

In a mixing bowl, combine Cornmeal, Baking Soda and Water.  Stir in Black-Eyed Peas, form about 4 Tablespoons of the mixture into a ball and place on a Corn Shuck.  Fold end of Shuck over filling.  Fold in sides and then other end to make a squared package.  Tie securely with a strip of Shuck.  Continue in this manner until all filling is used.  Cook in Boiling Water for 45 to 50 minutes.

Remove Shucks and serve with Butter and Salt, if desired.  If not serving immediately, refrigerate Bread without removing Shucks.  Reheat for about 10 minutes in Boiling Water or in a steamer before serving.

Yield:  8 Shuck Breads


Bear Paw Bread

This Pueblo Bread originated in the Rio Grande area of New Mexico, and has always been made in the shape of a bear’s paw.  It is crusty, easy to make, delicious to eat, and most impressive in appearance!  This recipe can easily be halved; it can also be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to three months:

2 C Hot Water
2 t solid Vegetable Shortening, Lard, Butter, or Margarine
1 t Honey
t Salt
2 pkgs. (about 2 T) Active Dry Yeast
C Warm Water (110 degrees F)
10 C unbleached Flour

Place the 2 C of Hot Water, Shortening, Honey, and Salt in a large bowl; stir to melt Shortening.

Dissolve Yeast in the Warm Water in a small bowl.  When liquid in the large bowl has cooled to room temperature, stir in the Yeast mixture.  Add Flour one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  After 8 Cups have been added to the dough, place the remaining 2 C on a board and turn out dough over Flour.  Knead dough until smooth and elastic, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly-greased, very large bowl, turning to grease top of dough.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.  Turn out on a floured board and knead again for about 3 minutes.

Grease 4 (9-inch) pie pans or 2 baking sheets.  Divide dough into quarters and form each piece into a flat circle about 8 inches in diameter.  Fold each circle almost in half, allowing the bottom to extend about an inch beyond the top.  With a sharp knife, slash the dough twice, cutting through both layers of dough, about halfway back to the fold.  This will form three separated sections – the bear’s paw.  Place each loaf in a greased pie plate, or on a baking sheet, curving the folded side in a crescent shape.  Separate the slashes, cover loosely with a towel, and let rise until again doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place a shallow pan of hot water in the center of the bottom rack of the oven.  Place loaves on the top rack.  Bake about 1 hour, or until lightly browned and bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Yield:  4 Loaves


Cherokee Bean Bread
(Gluten & Sugar Free)

2 C Cornmeal
1 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
C Milk
2 Eggs, beaten
2 C Seasoned, cooked Pinto Beans, cooled
1 C liquid from Beans, cooled

In a large bowl, mix Cornmeal, Baking Powder, and Salt.  Stir in the Milk, Eggs, Beans and Bean liquid.  Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until done and lightly browned.


Corn Griddle Cakes

1 pkg. Active Dry Yeast
1 pint Milk
to 1 t Salt
C unbleached Flour
2 C Cornmeal
2 t granulated Sugar (optional)*
Maple Syrup (optional)

In a mixing bowl, combine Cornmeal, Flour, Yeast, Sugar* and Salt.  Stir in Milk until mixture is smooth.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Drop mixture by large spoonsful onto a hot, greased griddle, or a large skillet.  When bubbles form on the top, turn cakes and cook until golden brown on the other side.

Serve with Maple Syrup, if desired.

*You can substitute Stevia to taste, to make this a Sugar Free dish (without adding Maple Syrup)


Buckskin Bread
(Dairy & Sugar Free)

The name comes from the colour of the baked loaf.  This bread has a fine-crumbed texture and a silky, light tan crust.  It is popular with many Northwest Coast Tribes:

2 C unbleached Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
1 C Water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Quickly mix in the water.  Press dough into a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Bake bread for approximately 30 minutes, until very lightly browned on top.  Turn bread out and let cool on a rack.

Yield:  One Loaf


Huckleberry Fritters
(Dairy Free)

1-1/4 t Baking Powder
C granulated Sugar*
C Water
2 C Huckleberries or Blueberries
3 C unbleached Flour
3 Eggs
Oil (for deep frying)

Wash Berries and allow to drain well.  Sift dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.  Beat eggs with water until foamy.  Mix quickly into dry ingredients.  Fold in Berries.

Heat oil or shortening in deep, heavy skillet to 350 degrees F.

Drop batter by tablespoonsful into the hot oil.  Turn fritters frequently so that they brown to a deep golden colour on all sides.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

*You can substitute Stevia to taste, to make this a Sugar Free dish


Black or White Bean Cakes
(Gluten & Sugar Free)

1-1/2 C Cornmeal
1-1/4 C Dried Pea Beans or Black Beans
C thinly-sliced Scallions (Green Onion)
2 Eggs, beaten
2 t Salt
2-3 T Bacon Drippings or Vegetable Oil
C Milk or Water*

Sort and rinse Beans, removing any rocks.  Soak Beans overnight in Cold Water.

Drain and rinse Beans, then place in a large saucepan with fresh water to cover.  Cook over medium heat for about 1-1/2 hours or until tender.  Drain and reserve.

In a large bowl, combine Cornmeal with Milk (or Water*), Eggs, and Salt.  Fold in Beans and Scallions.  Form mixture into 2- to 3-inch patties.  Heat Bacon Drippings on a griddle or in a large skillet.  Fry cakes for 1 to 2 minutes per side over medium heat, until golden brown.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

*If using Water, this recipe becomes Gluten, Dairy & Sugar Free


(Gluten Free)

The Chippewa took these fried cakes along when the tribe was moving or warriors were hunting.  They are, however, best eaten hot!

1-1/2 C Cornmeal
C Water
4 T melted Butter* or Bacon Drippings
4 T Maple Syrup or Honey
t Salt (optional)
3 to 4 T Cooking Oil (for frying)

In a bowl, combine Cornmeal, Water, Butter or Bacon Drippings, Syrup and Salt.

In a large skillet, heat 2 T Oil over medium-high heat.  Drop batter by taablespoonsful into hot oil.  Flatten with spatula and fry cakes until crisp and browned on both sides.  Add more Oil as needed.

Serves 4 to 6

*Using Bacon Drippings instead of Butter makes this recipe Gluten & Dairy Free


Kneel Down Bread – Navajo Tamales
(Gluten, Dairy & Sugar Free)

7 ears fresh Corn
2 T Lard or Shortening
1 C Water
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scrape Corn Kernels from Cob with a sharp knife, reserving husks.

Grind Kernels in a blender and transfer to a bowl.  Add Lard or Shortening and Water to make a paste.  Divide the mixture equally into seven husks.  Tie husks on both ends with cotton cooking string, then gently bend husks in half and tie again.  Wrap husks in aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour or until firm to the touch.  Serve warm.


Leaf Bread
(Gluten & Sugar Free)

The Iroquois make this from Green Corn.  It is really more of a vegetable than a bread.

6 ears fresh Sweet Corn
1-3 T Cornmeal (optional)
Salt and fresh Ground Pepper to taste
Melted Butter

Shuck corn, reserving Husks.  Holding Corn Cobs upright on end, use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut down the middle of each row of kernels.  Use the blade of the knife, in a scraping-downward-motion, to remove Corn from Cobs.  In a blender or food processor, process Corn into a paste.  If Corn seems very liquid, stir in enough Cornmeal to make it easier to handle.  Season with Salt and Pepper and reserve.

Rinse reserved Husks under cold running water and pat dry.  Spoon 3-4 T of Corn paste into a large Corn Husk.  Wrap in more Husks to completely envelop paste.  Tie ends with strips of Husk.  Continue until all paste is used.  Six ears of Corn should make 12 to 15 small, tamale-like packages.  Steam Leaf Bread over boiling water for about 45 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before removing husks.  Serve brushed with melted butter.

Serves 4 to 6 


Hoe Cakes
(Gluten & Sugar Free)

The Algonquians called these Nokake.  The dough was spread on a board and set beside the fire to bake.  When it was cooked on one side, it was turned over and baked on the other side.  The blade of a hoe was often used to prop up the board beside the fire for baking and to lean baked loaves against a cooling rack.

2 C Water
2 C Cornmeal
2 t Salt
2 T Butter
1 T fresh dill, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring water to boil in a saucepan.  Stir in Cornmeal, Salt, Butter, and Dill (if desired).  Place in a buttered 8-inch square pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve.

Serves 6 to 8


Paper Bread – Piki
(Gluten, Dairy & Sugar Free)

Piki (or Paper Bread) is a thin, dry, rolled bread made by the Hopi Indians with nixtamalized cornmeal, obtaining its dark grayish-blue colour and unique flavour due to the use of Blue Cornmeal and culinary Ash.  The light, thin sheets are dry to the point of brittleness, melt in the mouth, and have a delicate Corn flavour.

5 T Masa Harina*
2 T Cornstarch
1/8 t Salt
1 C Hot Water

Mix dry ingredients into a bowl.  Pour in the Hot Water and whisk the batter for a few seconds until it is smooth.  Heat a nonstick skillet over low heat until it is warm.  Remove the skillet from the heat.  With a pastry brush, brush on a later of batter, using broad strokes all in one direction.  Immediately apply a second layer of batter at right angles to the first layer.  Return the skillet to the heat source and cook for about 1 minute.  The batter will sizzle and evaporate all moisture before it is done.  As soon as the hissing stops and the surface of the bread looks dry and crinkly, peel it off with your fingers by starting up one edge with a table knife, then grasping it by hand and pulling up gently.  The layer will peel away easily.  Lay it on paper toweling or a baking rack to dry completely and proceed to make 3 more Pikis to lay on top.  Do not place the Piki on a plate once baked, since it will further steam them and cause them to become sticky.  Once you have 4 layers, roll them loosely into a scroll and set aside.  Serve slightly re-warmed or at room temperature with Salsa and a Main Course.

Blue Piki:
Make batter from:
3 T Blue Cornmeal
2 T Masa Harina*
and 3 T Cornstarch
Plus the salt and water in the basic recipe.

Pink or Yellow Piki:
Add a few drops of food coloring to the basic batter as you whisk it up.

* Don’t use ordinary Cornmeal as a substitute for Masa Harina.  Masa Harina is treated with Lime Water and cooks differently. 


Batter Bread
(Gluten & Sugar Free)

This is a staple of the Cheyenne Indians:

1 quart Milk or Water
2 C Yellow or White Cornmeal
3 Eggs, separated
4 T melted Butter
1-1/2 t Salt
t Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, bring Milk to a boil over medium heat.  Gradually stir in Cornmeal and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until thickened.  Beat in Egg Yolks, Butter and Seasonings.

In a separate bowl, beat Egg Whites until they stand in stiff peaks.  Fold Egg Whites into Corn mixture and pour into a 2-quart baking dish.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown on top.

Serves 6 


Banana Bread
(Dairy Free)

1/3 C Oil
1-1/2 C mashed Banana
1/2 t Vanilla Extract (can also add a little Rum Extract and sometimes Brandy, adjusting baking mix amount for extra liquid)
3 Eggs
2 C Baking Mix (Bisquick or Jiffy mix works well)
2/3 C Sugar
1/4 C Flour
1/2 Cup chopped Nuts (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees; mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Beat vigorously for 1 minute; pour into greased loaf pans and bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. "Edge" with spatula to loosen.

Cherokee Huckleberry Bread
2 C Self-Rising Flour
1 C Sugar
1 C Milk
2 C Huckleberries (can substitute Blueberries)
1 Egg
1 cube Butter
1 t Vanilla Extract
Cream Eggs, Butter, and Sugar together.  Add Flour, Milk, and Vanilla.  Lightly sprinkle Flour on Berries to prevent them from sinking to the bottom, and then add Berries to the Flour mixture.  Place in a baking pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 40 minutes, or until done.
Yield:  4 - 6 servings.
Cherokee Yam Cakes
1 C cooked mashed Yams or Sweet Potatoes
2 C sifted Flour
1-1/2 t Sugar
1-1/2 t Salt
2-1/2 t Baking Powder
1/2 C Salad Oil
1/2 C Milk
Sift Flour, Baking Soda, Sugar and Salt into a bowl.  Pour Oil and Milk into a measuring cup, but do not stir.  Add the Oil and Milk mixture to Yams and blend well.  Then add to Flour mixture and mix lightly with a fork, until the dough just holds together.  Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead gently until smooth (about 12 kneading strokes).  Roll dough about 1/4" thick and cut into rounds with floured biscuit cutter.  Place founds on a lightly breased baking sheet, and bake at 425 degrees F for about 10-20 minutes.  Serve hot, or split when cold and toast.
Yield:  18 3-inch Cakes