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Youtiao (Chinese Doughnuts) Recipe

Youtiao, or Chinese Doughnuts, are a traditional Chinese favorite for breakfast. This ancient food is made from a pasta dough formed into long strips and deep fried.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 4


  • 200 g all-purpose flour ordinary gluten flour
  • 110 ml cold water
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil about 45 ml
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder


  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the peanut oil.
  • Pour in the cold water and mix well with chopsticks.
  • Mix the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This takes about 3 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover closely with plastic wrap and put aside to rest for an hour.
  • Take the dough from the bowl and flatten it with your hands to a thickness of about ½ inch. Fold in half.
  • Press the dough down with your fist. Turn the dough 45 degrees, fold in half again and press down. Continue turning (always in the same direction), folding and pressing ten times. Flip the dough over and repeat ten more times. Continue this process of kneading for a good 5 minutes.
  • All this stretching and stressing strengthens the dough, so that after about 5 minutes it will become difficult to knead signaling the time to stop.
  • Place the dough in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap, smoothing out any air pockets. Put it into the refrigerator (at +4 degrees Celsius) overnight.
  • The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 45 minutes at room temperature.
  • Brush a layer of peanut oil on a clean chopping board to prevent the dough sticking. Roll the dough into a log about 30 cm long.
  • Flatten the dough to a width of about 8-10 cm, cover with plastic wrap and leave while you prepare the pan for cooking.
  • To save on oil, the pan can be small, but not too small, or the doughnuts will be too short. A pan with a diameter of 24 cm is ideal but needs to be deep enough to fill it with about 3-4 cm of oil.
  • For safety reasons, it is best to use a double handled pot, to reduce the chance of knocking it and spilling the hot oil, the consequences of which are too scary to contemplate. It is also good to keep the oil level at a distance of at least 3cm from the top edge of the pan to reduce spillage.
  • Smoke point occurs anywhere between 240-260 degrees Celsius. In other words, the optimum oil temperature for cooking Chinese doughnuts is slightly lower than the temperature at which the pan begins to smoke.
  • Cut two strips about 1.5-2 cm wide and lay one on top of the other. Press them together lengthwise with bamboo sticks or fine chopsticks.
  • Gently pinch the ends and slowly stretch until the piece of dough is a bit shorter than the width of the pan.
  • Place the doughnut gently into the hot oil and quickly roll with chopsticks so it expands evenly. Fry quickly until it has expanded and floats to the top. When the doughnut is nice and golden and is nicely inflated, remove it from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Delicious Chinese doughnuts, golden and crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside – I can hear my stomach rumbling just typing this! Served with a bowl of just right steamy porridge, they make a scrumptious breakfast!
  • After pouring oil into your pan, turn the hotplate to high.