Posts Tagged ‘Sopaipillas’

Topic: New Mexico Puff Bread

Earlier today I saw a recipe on a freshly pressed blog for Easy Sopapillas pumpkin cheesecake bars-well after leaving a comment explaining that Sopaipillas are a New Mexican deep-fried bread and not a bread pudding type desert bread I decided to deviate from my normal ancient foods post and give you a recipe for these delicious breads. Note: the recipe I  spotted originally came from Pillsbury who should have changed the name to something else, or explained what an sopapilla was and where it came from.

Sopaipillas are a New Mexico speciality, served like green and red sauces with almost every spicy dish in the state. Traditionally they are drizzled with honey to “cut” the heat of the local cuisine. Since when properly puffed they are hollow ( like a pita), they are frequently served stuffed as well.

The following recipe is from Southwestern Kitchen by Jane Butel.

Note: In the recipe it calls for 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. If you choose to not use yeast in the recipe I would recommend changing this to 1 teaspoon baking power.

Also many recipes use water instead of scalded milk. I used an electric skillet to fry the dough


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening, lard or butter

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast ( optional)

1.4 cup warm water ( 110F. 45C)

About 1/2 cup scalded milk, cooled to room temperature

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and cut in the shorting until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

If you are using yeast, dissolve it in the warm water in a small bowl and add it to the cooled milk sitting well. ( If not using yeast, use 3/4 to 1 cup milk and omit the 1/4 cup water.) Add 1/4 cup of the milk to the dry ingredients and work into the dough. Add more liquid gradually until the dough is firm and springy and holds its shape.

Knead dough thoroughly, about 5 minutes, until smooth, firm, and elastic. Invert a bowl over the dough and let rest 10 minutes or until the dough is softened. Heat 3 to 4 inches of oil in a deep-fat fryer to 375F ( 190C).

Work with one-half of the dough at a time, keeping the balance well covered with the bowl. Roll one section to 1/4 thickness or slightly thinner, then cut into triangles or 2-1/2 inch squares; do not reroll any of the dough. Fry sopaipillas, a few at a time, in hot fat. They should puff and become hollow soon after they are immersed in the oil. If they do not puff up, keep holding under the surface of the oil with tongs or spoon hot oil over the surface until they puff. Makes 24 small puffs. Drain on a paper towel.

I agree with Jane Butel’s belief that the inspiration for sopaipillas probably came from Navaho Fry Bread, which the seventeenth century Spaniards who came to New Mexico would have seen them cook; or visa versa. Anyway that puts this wonderful bread  in the ancient foods category, although neither the Navaho’s or anyone else would have had baking powder at this time. Both were probably done either without leaving, or possibly with baking soda( using sour milk,for the chemical reaction)  or possibly with wild yeast. 

Here is a photo of the finished product:


Original Material:

Recipe from SouthwesternKitchen by Jane Butel

Photo on gabrielaskitchen  

It seems this is also a wordpress blog, so thank you as I did not have a photo of sopaipillas.

Article by Joanna Linsley-Poe

Oct 3, 2011

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