Breakfast / Dairy Free / Goodness on the Side! / Sweet Treats! / Using Freshly Ground Flour

Ojaldas {Panamanian Fried Bread}

20130325-104116.jpg {Today’s recipe is a re-post of my original guest article for ojaldas on the Grain Mill Wagon website. I thought I would also post it on my blog to include in my archives. I would say though that if you are looking for some good whole grain recipes to take a look at the Grain Mill Wagon site because it is a very useful resource!} Back to ojaldas, though! Read on and enjoy!

This past year, for the first time in the 12 years that my husband I have been together, I learned a secret from my mother-in-law. I guess it really isn’t a secret as much as she had never made these awesome treats called “ojaldas” around us, as a family, before. I am sure my husband had them growing up, but he failed to mention them to me as well. You see, my mother-in-law is from Panama. She has a lot of delicious foods that she makes that originate from her heritage in Panama and I love it! I love learning new foods and how to cook them.

A few months ago she mentioned that she wanted to make bread one weekend. Usually it is my father-in-law or myself that make bread and so I figured what she meant was that she wanted me to make homemade bread. So, I did. I made a few loaves of honey wheat bread one Friday evening. The next morning I woke up and she was scurrying around in the kitchen cooking. I asked what she was making and her reply, “ojaldas.” Panamanian fried bread! So that is what she meant when she said she wanted to make bread that weekend! She doesn’t really use a specific recipe. Flour, salt, baking powder, water, egg. Not all ojalda recipes use egg, but she said her dad always put egg in it growing up. So, of course, so must I.

She says the secret to making it is to knead, knead, knead until the dough is soft and stretchy…getting all of the gluten activated. Then, after it has been kneaded well to let the dough rest. She told me her dad would many times make the dough at night and put it in the fridge to rest and fry the bread the next morning. I have made this recipe a few times now and I have done that as well. It makes preparing it a little easier in the morning.

This morning it was a family affair making these ojaldas. My mother-in-law was teaching my oldest daughter to make them, as you will see from the pictures I post. The recipe that I am going to share with you today is pretty much the quantities that my mother-in-law uses, but she doesn’t usually put sugar in hers. I add about 1 tablespoon of sugar to the dough. I also came up with a more specific liquid quantity to make it easier to share the recipe with others. These ojaldas are not difficult to make, but do take a few extra minutes from the required kneading. Don’t let it intimidate you though. This special treat is definitely worth it! If you try these out, let me know how you like them. As always, enjoy! -Shelley.

Ojaldas (Panamanian Fried Bread) Recipe:

2 c flour {I usually use in between 1/4 – 1/2 freshly ground whole wheat flour}
1 T sugar {optional}
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
1 egg, whisked in a measuring cup + enough water to bring the liquid up to 3/4 cup mark
2 T oil
Oil to fry in

First, start off by grinding some wheat flour in your WonderMill. {I understand that not everyone will have access to freshly milled whole wheat flour…so just use what you have on hand and it will work fine!} Out of the 2 cups of flour total, I usually use about 1/2 c – 1 c of freshly milled wheat flour. I wouldn’t recommend using all whole wheat flour because there won’t be enough gluten in the flour to get the dough nice and elastic.

In a mixing bowl combine flours, sugar, salt and baking powder and mix well.


In a liquid measuring cup add egg and whisk.


Add water to the egg to bring the liquid up to the 3/4 cup mark. Then add oil to egg/water mixture.


Pour liquid to dry mixture and stir until combined. Start kneading to see how the dough comes together. You don’t want it to be too sticky or too dry.


Turn out onto floured board and knead. {This time they kneaded right inside of the bowl.} Add a little flour, as necessary, if the dough is too sticky to handle and knead a little more. Conversely if the dough is too dry, add about a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together nicely. Keep kneading until the dough it soft and elastic.


Shape into a ball and wrap in clear plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Allow the dough to rest for at least 1 hour. {We didn’t do this step this time, either}. It keeps for a couple of days in the fridge as well.

When ready to use, remove from fridge and shape dough into a thick “rope”. Cut rope into small pieces, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.




Flatten each piece out with your hands and make a thin disk. My mother in law doesn’t use a rolling pin, but I like to. I find the thinner I make them, the puffier they become while frying. I like the big air bubbles that get trapped in the dough. So, either flatten each piece with your hands, or roll each piece flat with the rolling pin.




In a small or medium skillet heat oil over medium high heat. You want about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom of the pan. The oil needs to be hot enough that when you drop the disk of dough in, it needs to bubble right away.


Cook until golden brown on one side, flip and cook until golden on the other side. Place on a paper towel lined plate and repeat until all pieces are fried.




Eat plain, top with butter, or butter and honey, or butter and cinnamon and sugar, or jelly.


{Or, if you are like me…top with butter, honey and cinnamon and sugar!}




Or use as a savory base and add beans, cheese, lettuce, etc. Or have it along side some eggs for breakfast. Really, it is just a matter of preference or what you are in the mood for!



If you enjoyed this post you may also like…

Patacones {Panamanian double fried plantains}

Patacones {Panamanian double fried plantains}

Patacones {Panamanian double fried plantains}


4 thoughts on “Ojaldas {Panamanian Fried Bread}

  1. Thanks for the recipe of “Ojaldas”…I am a foodie who loves experimenting with different cuisines..I loved the street side fondas in panama as well had a great experience of having the Panamanian tortillas..I would surely try out with the ojaldas as i would love to taste it…


  2. Pingback: Patacones {Panamanian double fried plantains} |

  3. Pingback: Coconut Plantain Delight |

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