Mmm, Lakota Kabubu Bread

Growing up I lived on some pretty regular staples.

Every Wednesday, my mother fed us liver and onions (gross 🤢) it was to keep us from being anemic. I'm not sure it really worked because I was anemic my whole life, but I applaud the consistent effort!

We ate mackerel cakes, which were made of eggs, flour and canned mackerel (fish) cooked on a griddle. We devoured them heartily as children because we were poor and essentially ate once a day growing up. Harder to be picky when you're hungry!  But I admit, I can't bring myself to make them now. 😏


Corn cakes (pancakes with creamed corn 🤢) - I never liked these and later found out at 17 years old that I had a corn allergy. Needless to say, this recipe wasn't a loss when corn was nixed from my options. Although I did accidentally buy creamed corn once and reluctantly made it for my husband. He went gaga for it but since our youngest has a corn allergy too, corn is not something I cook with. 


And Kabubu bread (yum!😍)

Of all of those staples above, the only one I loved was Kabubu bread. My mother made it about once a week. She would stir the simple ingredients together into a big bowl, lay one of her crisp clean dish towels over the top of the bowl and set it on top of our refrigerator. As I mentioned before, we grew up poor so it shouldn't be a surprise when I say our fridge was hot to the touch on top. Making it the perfect place to warm and rise the dough. It also killed a plant my grandmother said was unkillable, but that's another story. 😂

My mother knew the Kabubu ingredients and instructions by heart but in her box of recipes, there was a very old, faded typed recipe by a relative. 

I was in my 20's when she gave me the yellowed papers that had been typed up on an old typewriter. Eventually, I used the Kabubu bread letter so much that it was nearly ruined and I had to rewrite it on a recipe card of my own. In retrospect, I wish I had been wise enough to save the letter in my mementos and write the recipe down before the paper was damaged. I do however have the matching sheet with Wojapi (fruit stew) and Wohapi (meat stew) that was shared by the same relative. And I keep it safe from harm. 

You can see, this recipe card has been used a lot. There is flour crusted on this card along with some of the ink washed out. 

It has also been revamped at least four times. The original typed recipe called for lard but my mother changed it to shortening. She tried yeast for a year but it was not authentic so she stopped using it. I now use extra virgin olive oil. And discovered years ago that the dough doesn't really change whether it sits for 30 minutes or is cooked right away.  It still tastes great even with the generational changes. But if you want the original, try lard in place of the olive oil. 

So what is kabubu bread you might be asking yourself? 

It's a hand-shaped flatbread cooked in a skillet. It's very close to "Indian" Frybread as it's so unfortunately named. Except instead of deep-fried, it's just skillet baked. 


Without further ado, let me share my family's generations old recipe.

Lakhota Kabubu Bread (skillet frybread)

2 Cups flour (white, not whole wheat)

1 TB Baking Powder (Alternate substitution: 1/2 TB Cream of Tartar and 1/2 TB Baking Soda)

1/2 Tsp Salt (optional but recommended)

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Cup warm water (I actually use hot, but my hands are used to it, keep in mind you will be kneading and touching this dough)

Mix your dry ingredients, then add oil and enough water to become sticky. Knead and add a tsp or so of flour until smooth. (At this point, you could cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes like my mother used to. But I don't ever do that, so you could skip to cooking if you like.)

Heat your skillet on medium (do not add any oil). Lightly oil your hands with olive oil and pull off a small ball of dough about the size of a golf ball. Flatten the dough onto your palm. Stretch the dough gently to the shape of your hand (or palm if your ball of dough isn't large enough). You should have a nice, nearly hand sized piece of bread. If you end up with holes, you stretched too far or too quickly OR your ball was not large enough. It might take practice to get the technique down. Gently place the flatbread onto the skillet. Flip when the edges become dryer looking (not glossy) or when the underside is turning a light brown.

Your bread will be mostly white with brown spots here and there. Eat your bread warm with stew or dip in wojapi (recipe here) for a treat. 

By Erin LaVaux,

My family also loves kabubu bread with scrambled eggs and bacon on Saturday mornings. And with chili when it's cold (or any day because chili is awesome and we live in Texas 😂)!

This is a fun bonding recipe to share with kids. My girls began learning to stretch the dough around the same age I did at approximately 7 years old. Just sit children around the table and let them each grab a ball of dough to shape while you cook. They'll love it and treasure the memories with you. Happy eating and toksa (later)!