Youtiao, Chinese Fried Dough Stick (油条)

Today, we wanted to show you how to make Youtiao,
Chinese deep fried breadsticks. They’re a really classic breakfast food
that you can find all over the streets in China… a good Youtiao’ll be crispy on
the outside, nice and airy on the inside, and also easily pull apart. Now, at least for me, I can’t really separate
breakfast Youtiao from freshly made soymilk… so if making homemade soy milk’s new to
you, I’d definitely recommend checking out our how to make soymilk video as well. So right, to get started with Youtiao, we’ll
need flour. This was 200 grams of all purpose flour, 10.5%
protein to be exact. For the style of Youtiao that we’re making,
we’re going with 62.5% hydration, so 125 grams of water. Now because we’ll never not be annoying
and obsessive, to make the Youtiao extra crispy, to that water we’ll add in some dried cuttlefish
bones. Now, please understand that these bones are
totally optional, you can get great results without as well… but cuttlefish bones are
high in calcium carbonate, which promotes puffing and also helps reduce browning which
allows our Youtiao to fry for longer. Historically, the most traditional Youtiao
additive was Borax, which would probably be fine but may or may not be acutely toxic…
so pounded cuttlefish bone it is. So then to those 10 grams of cuttlefish bones,
add in your water, and continue to pound that together for about a minute. Then pour that through a tofu or cheesecloth,
and squeeze out any excess liquid. Now again, if you can’t find cuttlefish
bones, don’t worry, just charge ahead without… because we’ve got a few more leaveners on
the way. We’ll also be adding in one gram of baking
powder, two grams of baking soda, and two grams of our old friend… choufen, ammonium
bicarbonate. Now note that Chinese choufen is actually
not pure ammonium… it’s generally about half ammonium bicarbonate and half baking
soda, so if you’re using pure ammonium bicarbonate, use only one gram and up the baking soda to
three grams. We’ll also be adding in six grams of egg
white, which crisps up Youtiao dought much in the same way it does pizza crust, and also
six grams of salt. So just add all those to your bone water,
give it a good mix, then sift in your flour. Combine well, and knead for about five minutes
until it comes together and no longer sticks to your hands. Then cover that with a damp towel, and let
it rest for one hour. An hour later now, we’re ready to make some
Youtiao. Oil up a silpat or some other smooth surface,
and also rub a generous amount all over your dough. Then, roughly shape it out into a log, slice
that log in half, press it down with you hands, then roll it out into a thin sheet about two
millimeters thick. Then slice that sheet in half, and cut those
into roughly two centimeter wide strips. Stack the dough pieces on top of eachother,
then continue with the remainder, cover all that with a damp towel, and let the dough
relax for another ten minutes. Now to fry, get a pot of oil up to 180C, then
quickly finish forming your Youtiao. To do so, press down on the dough with a chopstick
so that the two pieces stick together, lightly press the edges, and firmly press and shape
the ends into a sort of fan with your thumbs. Then pull it longer, move over to the wok,
pull it a touch longer again… and drop in the oil. But at this point… we gotta be honest, we
bumped into a problem. For some reason, our Youtiao just weren’t
puffing up nice like we’re used to. We tried getting the oil hotter… but that
wasn’t much help. Eventually we figured out that that the issue
was dry dough. We were outside, it was a windy day, and setting
up the camera and everything took a while. So while this batch was edible it’s not
what you or us really want, so we took things inside and made a whole new batch. Much respect to the venders that can do this
outside everyday on the street. So forgive the lighting here, our kitchen
is about as bright as the crypts of Winterfell… same deal, 180 centigrade oil. Drop your stretched Youtiao in, and let it
do its thing. It’ll quickly rise, but don’t flip til
it’s nice and puffed up… about thirty seconds or so. Let it go on the other side for about fifteen
seconds, then continuously flip the guy until it’s browned to your liking, about fifteen
to thirty seconds more. Now quick word that sometimes when you drop
in your Youtiao, you might can get a bit of curving… if that happens, you gotta straighten
it like within the first three second of cooking… but even if you can’t get to it, a slightly
curved Youtiao isn’t the end of the world. Now if you’ve never had Youtiao before,
word of warning that they’re only good straight from the fryer. After even just ten minutes they start softening
and becoming chewy… so be sure to enjoy them immediately after cooking.

  1. Be still my heart! Two! Two! Two CCD videos~ah, ah, ah

    I'm verklempt here. Thank you Steph and Chris. You made a miserable day brighter.

    (that's an attempt to mimic The Count from Sesame Street! ahahah)
    Jenn 💖 ☺

  2. Since we’re only using the cuttlefish for calcium carbonate… could I substitute the cuttlefish bone water for high grade chalk water??

  3. I used to go to an incredible Chinese spot in my hometown, and they had the absolute best soup I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot of pho and ramen.

    I only found out later that that dish was Taiwanese beef noodle soup. I don’t know how popular this dish is where you all live, but I’d love to see you take a stab at it.

  4. That choufen thing seems hard to find along with safe to eat ammonium stuff, can we replace it with something else? Maybe like baking powder or more baking soda)

  5. Thank you for saying obsessive. But I think that's why we're all here. Definitely not annoying. 👍

  6. Are these usually eaten with anything on them? I bet my daughters will want to drizzle them with honey.

  7. Wow your youtiao look so good!! Completely blown away by the addition of cuttlefish bone. I have had very decent results with baking powder and an overnight rest…. But now I want to try your method. By the way – straight out of the fryer will win everytime, but reheating in the oven can salvage some youtiao. In fact, I freeze mine sometimes and reheat mine in the oven or over the toaster! Good enough when I don‘t feel like whipping out the street vendor set up at 5am 🙂

  8. FIY, while there are never as god as fresh right out of the flier, pop em in the oven for 2 minutes and they crisp right up. I discovered these amazing things on a trip to China a few years ago and since found a place locally that makes them. Most weekends have with my morning espresso. delicious!

  9. Are there any recipes besides noodle dishes where one doesn't need a wok or are not dependend on deep-frying?

  10. lmao at the crypts of winterfell joke. I absolutely love your cooking videos! the stir fry and fried rice videos were especially helpful to me in learning how to cook chinese cuisine better, and your uyghur big plate of chicken recipe turned out great! neither i nor my dad are chinese grandmothers however, and our noodles had more holes than the plot to the 3 star wars prequels

  11. Is the cuttlefish bone the same type of bone they sell I'm the petstores for bird to sharpen there beaks with?

  12. As a Chinese American boy growing up in the States, I am not embarrassed that this is the best resource I have for learning how to cook Chinese food, but at the same I am grateful that you exist. Thank you!

  13. In Malaysia we call then charkoay. Best eaten dipped in a hot glass of steaming sweet coffee with milk..

  14. Kudos for the recipe and mentioning that this is one of the styles for Youtiao. I grown to love more chewy, dense and crunchy Youtiao after trying it out from a small village, sadly they don't make it anymore. And I have it dipped slightly sweetened black coffee breakfast. Would be awesome that you all tried making Cantonese Fried Dough – 咸煎饼 (Ham Jin Beng) with Five Spice too!!

  15. So many videos recently, awesome! Youtiao has always been a favourite with my family, super excited to try this out.

  16. The fact that you are obsessive is part of what makes your channel so special and awesome!

    (The outro music confuses me so much and makes me think I'm watching Binging with Babish for a second)

  17. Nice recipe, I can't wait to try it out!

    Also, love your shirt, Steph! Very fitting for the video 😀

  18. Hi Steph and Chris! Quick question; I have a ceramic hob at home so I can't use a wok. May I ask which gas stove you are using? Looks like an Iwatani, is that right? Would you recommend?

  19. I love that you really being precise about the measurements! No willy-nilly cup-"measurements" for powders and such crap. Keep up the great work! (I especially enjoyed the bit about ammonium bicarbonate, and if you really wanna obsess over it you'd gotta go calculate molar equivalents 😛 )

  20. I'm pretty sure what we know today as doughnuts is probably related to these and introduced to us by the Chinese, so thanks!

  21. Hello there,
    I am so immensely happy to have found your channel, now having watched all of your videos. Really fantastic work, just the perfect balance of technique, authenticity, “authenticity”, fun and seriousness.

    Now, I like the fact that all technical stuff is result-oriented, and even if it is not ever about the gear itself, I do have a request, or rather a suggestion, for a video: I noticed all the different cleavers you are using, and I started wondering: do you use them deliberately for different purposes, are they differently conceived (saw one with metal handle), do you prefer any style over another, and what are the stories behind them (maybe one was given as a bridal night gift by your grand-grand-grand³ father in the 12th century minutes before he was taken by the emperor to be his master chef, or maybe you just bought it at the supermarket etc). I know, for sure, that many of my tools bear memories of relatives in my family, often I do think about my late grand mother, when using tools he held in her hands many years, wars and sorrows and happinesses ago.

    In any case, do keep up the good work, I’ll see you in the next one.

  22. in Singapore some dip it in 'kopi kosong'.
    in Indonesia it usually sold with sauce option: chilli-vinegar; chilli-vinegar-peanut but the seller usually not Chinese so it might have been adjusted to local tongue.
    exotic style usually treat it as normal bread and adding topping like melted cheese, tuna mayo, Nutella, etc.

  23. Here's something you can do with the leftover fried dough stick, save them for your next hot pot, they will absorb the soup and be flavorful and soft

  24. How can you drink soymilk? Are you not worried about the very high levels of phytoestrogen in soy products? Consuming phytoestrogen can disrupt levels of the body's endocrine hormones. Also called dietary estrogen, also found in high levels in corn–but soy is the absolute worst offender.

  25. According to the data, this food was invented in 1127-1279 AD.The public used this to express their anger at the traitor Qin Hui.

  26. Taiwan has the hands-down best youtiao I've eaten, in the grimy breakfast spots. Mainland China, while having equally delicious youtiao, has delivered disappointment in the form of: diarrhea; weird, troubling numbness on the lips and tongue; and the saddest, the guy who smashed a ball of sticky rice flat, put a youtiao in it and wrapped it up into a tasteless glutinous lump. That apparently has a name but I'll be damned if I bother to learn what these Jiangsu folks call their failures (looking at you Jiangsu xiaomai).

  27. Thank you soooo much! I always wanted to prepare 油条 at home! Keep up the great work! could you show us a good recipe for 小龙虾 too ?

  28. Your videos are fantastic! Thanks for the step by step filming, and also providing tips on when things don't necessarily go perfectly! These were a Saturday treat when I was a kid and can't wait to make them!

  29. I love your explanation on Chinese food! You understand the flavors and techniques like a native Chinese chef!

  30. thank you for the recipe especially the stir fry eggplant and mabutofu it's my favourite, please make Chinese soup dishes as it is winter now in Australia. In southeast Asia Cambodia, for example we call the youtiao '' joui-kaev ''. thank you and please continue making great video.

  31. Could you sub the cuttlefish boney for baking soda which got baked in the oven? Because that is essentially just calcuim carbonate

  32. Lol my mum told me these where selling at mcdonalds until i realized she meant “donut sticks”

  33. Proper youtiao are “date red” coloured and does not get chewy in at least half a day. But these days, only my grand aunt can occasionally achieve that, it’s even rare amounts Beijing vendors. It’s a bit more common in Tianjin, but not what it used to be either.

  34. I was born in Taiwan and this has always been my favourite breakfast. Looking forward to trying to make this to go with my mother’s freshly made soy milk or refried to make fan tuan.

    I have a question about the smell, the last time we attempted to make it, the smell of ammonium was enough to make us dump the entire batch. How do we make sure that we don’t get that this time?

  35. Why are ads so long? They used to be 60-90 seconds. I am not watching two 2 minute advertisements.
    Also, you can find cuddle fish bone in the avery department of a petstore.

  36. one big difference: you like yours with soya milk (white); over here (most whom I know) like it with hot black coffee (black), while some die hards (mostly the elderly) still dip theirs into the coffee like you into your soya milk.
    The ones I love best are those which are cruncy on the outside and chewy inside. They must not be too greasy & best enjoyed hot.

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