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My wife is making these, and they break after frying. She looked around online but nobody makes something like this using oil in the batter; only her (late) father.

Here’s what she did:

First, make syrup:

400 g dark brown sugar
200 ml water
50 g lemon juice

This was cooked for about an hour, low enough so just one little bubble came up at a time. Cool overnight to room temperature.

main dough:

1000 g all-purpose flour
400 g cooking oil. (She used common canola oil today)

Heat oil to 250°F. Combine with flour and syrup. Let rest for a few hours on the counter, so it’s room temperature. (About 78–80° in the kitchen area)

At this stage she noticed it was too flakey.

This is rolled out and folded and cut to make a flower shape of dough ribbons that I measure to be just over ¼ inch in cross section.

This flower shape is cooked in hot cooking oil (seems about 375°F, same as we used for other things).

Here’s the problem: they crack when touched while still in the oil, trying to lift out. If they survive that, they crack later or in the following steps when handled. They are too fragile.

final step

After cooling a few minutes on a paper towel, transfer to warm honey syrup (90 to 110°F) and let soak for 3 minutes. Remove to wax paper or metal mesh.

The honey syrup is

400 g Brown sugar
200 ml boiling water
50 ml lemon juice

3 TBL honey

Make syrup as above; add honey after it cools to target temperature.

question

What factors influence the dough’s final properties? How can it be not too brittle to cook and handle?

p.s.

Using a lower frying temperature seems to help. (But too low and I know it leaves a greasy unfried cookie, so that’s a work-around not the right solution.)

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One possibility is that the too brittle end result might be related to the fact that the dough was too flaky when originally mixed. Making the dough bind together better seems like it would help with the problem of brittleness. I think the problem might be when you're mixing the oil - it may be that other recipes don't use oil for this very reason... which doesn't mean it isn't possible to make the recipe with oil, just that it might be trickier.

In your recipe, it looks like you're adding the sugar syrup, flour, and oil at the same time, and mixing. The oil will coat the flour, and prevent gluten from forming (giving a consistency that is tender, not chewy). Given that this seems to be working too well in your dough, you might double check your proportions - a little less oil and a little more water might fix the problem.

If you are very sure of the ratios of ingredients, perhaps you might mix the sugar syrup in first, work the dough a bit, and slowly add the oil in second. This might give your dough a chance to develop some binding, and give the dough a little binding, before the oil coats the dough and prevents more. Or, depending on how wet the dough is, mix part of the flour with the syrup, and part with the oil, then mix the two parts of the dough very well. Again, this should let some gluten form to bond your dough together, but avoid any trouble working with a dough that has only half the liquid it needs.

The only other idea I had that might help would be that your flowers are loosing a little too much moisture during frying. Frying longer at a lower temperature might work (a bit) to not evaporate quite as much out of the dough, but obviously you've hit a limit. You might instead fry at a higher temperature, but for less time (so there's less time for moisture to escape), or possibly cut your flowers a little thicker so they will not dry out too much and become brittle while frying.

  • She says she did in fact mix the flour and syrup fist. But it’s too dry and not suitable for more kneading before adding the oil. – JDługosz Aug 13 '16 at 22:22
  • @JDługosz - then, perhaps we're on the right track for how it should work. I would suggest mixing the syrup with half the flour, to make a knead-able dough, then add the second half with the oil so it isn't too dry to work with, and see if that gets the dough to a more workable consistency. – Megha Aug 13 '16 at 22:33
  • So the half that is kneeded without oil will "cover" the rest? – JDługosz Aug 13 '16 at 23:44
  • @JDługosz - Hopefully. The dough should have some gluten bonds from the kneading, and adding the oil and the other half of the flour should keep the gluten from overdeveloping. I suspect if you make two doughs and mix, you'll end up with something like a pie crust, some flaky layers. Although, if you were mixing seperately all along, I suppose I should mention that oil pastry dough (oil pie crust) mixes both together at once, and you might want to look at those recipes and see if their techniques are helpful. – Megha Aug 14 '16 at 0:18

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