Sunday, December 16, 201224comments


Originally published on November 5, 2008

Toutons: Pronounced tout(rhymes with pout)-ens.

All readers from Newfoundland or those have had some connection with this province, will undoubtedly know what a touton is, most others will not. A touton is simplicity itself and perfect simplicity at that. As uninspired as it may seem, a touton is merely a piece of fried bread dough. While that may not seem particularly appealing, it is an age old culinary tradition in
Newfoundland whose virtues are universally enjoyed by all who have known it. A crispy outside and a tender slightly chewy inside make them very texturally appealing, which in my humble opinion has accounted for a large part of their long time popularity.

I have never seen anything similar or heard reference to anything similar to a touton in any other place but Newfoundland. Likely an invention to use up leftover bread dough from the daily baking of bread that was very prevalent in Newfoundland kitchens until recent decades, the dough was flattened into small rounds and traditionally fried in rendered fatback pork. Toutons would then be served with 'Scruncheons', which are the crunchy little cubes that are the result of frying the diced fatback pork.

Toutons are traditionally considered a breakfast or brunch item and can still be found quite commonly on the breakfast menus of many local restaurants. It is much rarer to find them cooked in fatback pork as modern day dietary considerations have seen an evolution to more healthy fats. The toutons you order in Newfoundland restaurants are far more likely to be fried in canola oil than anything else these days. I confess that I fry mine in a combination of olive oil and clarified butter, a flavor which I have become accustomed to over the years. The other very traditional accompaniment to toutons, still very much appreciated by purists, is a drizzle of molasses. A pat of butter melting over the top is a tasty indulgence as well.

I use my standard white bread recipe for toutons which you can find here:

Form dough into about 2 ounce balls and flatten into 3 inch rounds.

Use a combination of olive oil and butter to fry the toutons in for more flavor. You can also fry them in traditional rendered pork fat if you choose. Otherwise heat a half inch of canola oil over medium low heat to about 275 degrees F in a large skillet. (Over that temperature may result in toutons with a doughy center. You want these to bubble and begin to fry immediately so that they don't absorb a lot of oil but frying as slowly as possible is very important.) When they are golden on one side flip them and fry for an equal amount of time on the opposite side. I place them on a parchment lined aluminum cookie sheet in a 250 degree F oven for another 10 minutes or so to ensure that they are cooked through. 

One other idea that I incorporate toutons into are touton breakfast sandwiches as pictured below. I make slightly thicker toutons than I normally do, split them like an English muffin and use them to sandwich bacon, cheddar, garlic scrambled egg and roasted red pepper. Definitely one of my brunch favorites!!

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+ comments + 24 comments

May 11, 2008 at 3:12 PM

Toutons! Love 'em! Yours look a lot fancier than the ones my nan made. :-)

May 11, 2008 at 11:10 PM

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May 15, 2008 at 1:55 AM

When Dad was alive we just cut them open, put a bit of butter and molasses in the middle, and then drizzle the molasses right over the top. I'm coming to NL (Hr. Main) in 5 weeks, will the kitchen be open? :)

May 15, 2008 at 7:16 AM

The kitchen always open!! B.

May 15, 2008 at 3:03 PM

I need directions! My brother, sister and I are heading into the city on Saturday June 14th so I can show them around (I used to live in Torbay).
But seriously, I can't get the link for the white bread to work. Mom has made bread for years but doesn't have a recipe. I'd like to see how close you are to "perfection". (Of course, I have to say that because it's Mom's bread who was taught by Nan).

May 15, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Never mind. I'm a twit. The link worked. :)

May 15, 2008 at 5:11 PM

LOL! No problem. When you asked for d1rections, I thought you meant to my house!!! ;)

March 14, 2009 at 1:06 PM

hey my name is emily and i am doing a hertage fair project and i decided to make a cookbook with a bunch of newfoundland i was wondering if you would know where to find a good recipe for figgy duff jiggs dinner pea soup and dough boys uhh blueberry pudding lassy bread ... i dont want to copy the recipes exactly as they are i want to make them unique

August 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM

re: toutons. We had these growing up all the time...loved them. We did not have a name for them and we would eat them dunked into a bowl with sweet cream & abit of sugar mixed together. Delicious. (We are of Russian descent & had alot of vegetarian food.)

March 16, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Newfoundland grub.
Can't get any better than this.

January 11, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Ahhhh Toutons, love'em & still make 'em tho I haven't lived back home for 30 years! You mentioned that you hadn't heard of anything similar~~well, I happen to have~LOL There is something very similar served in Quebec~they call them 'Beaver Tails'~~same thing as far as I can figure out~just shaped different & of course, they aren't fried in salt pork renderings! I enjoyed a version of Beaver Tails,out here in B.C.,that they take from the frying oil & immediately dunk in Brown sugar,pretty good!!

February 7, 2012 at 6:31 PM

My grandmother (born and raised in Saskatchewan) used to make "doughboys" which not until I moved to Newfoundland found out are the same

February 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

i'm from nova scotia and we just moved over to NL this sept (st john's) I was amazed that I'd never heard of these before but I must say that I'm a huge fan :)

February 19, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Never heard of toutons. they look good. kinda a cross between our pancake and sweet roll sounds like. thanks for letting me know. learned something new today. jj of michigan usa

March 3, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Toutons are definitely not a cross between pancakes and sweetrolls.First of all they are not sweet like pancakes and sweetrolls.No sugar added to toutons.

April 3, 2012 at 2:43 AM

Northern BC here -
I was raised on these, but we call them "Dough Gods". Some of my earliest memories are Mom making a big batch of bread dough up and Dad stealing the last round for these. I still make them, and so do a lot of other people up this way. My sister lives in Kansas and a lot of people there make them too! Definately a home cooking thing (not restaurants) but not just found in Newfoundland either. :)

June 9, 2012 at 3:15 AM

I just discovered this today. An American whose ancestors from generations ago come from Québec said she ate these as a child and insists they are traditional Québecois. She assumes that her French Canadian side of the family has handed down this dish from Québec! I know a lot about foods of the worlld and traditional Québécois food and I never heard of toutons. I did extensive research, even in French, online and in food encyclopedias and found no other connection than to Newfoundland. When I told her, she refused to believe me and was rather categoric. Too bad. Why give credit to the wrong people. It is a Newfoundland invention and if I understand correctly, there is no other place where one can find toutons. In any case, I will make them soon. They look and sound delicious! I love molasses but I will aso try with maple syrup!


June 9, 2012 at 3:20 AM

There are fried breads from all over the world, some similar, some quite different. Do a Google search.

June 9, 2012 at 3:29 AM

Still, the actual toutons are from Newfoundland. There are recipes for fried bread from all over the world, each unique. BeaverTails are a QUébec creation dating only from 1978. These are not yeast dough. They are made of whole wheat and shaped like a beaver tail. Just not the same!

November 27, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I was raised in Nova Scotia with my great-grandparents coming from Newfoundland so these were a staple in our home. Even now my kids know that bread day means Toutons and we live in the Seattle area! The closet thing I have found are Utah Scones but they don't eat them the right way with molasses and that's just not okay in my books!

November 28, 2012 at 9:20 PM

We had them growing up in Minnesota but called them 'Dough Gobs'
My wife had them growing up in Kansas too.

They're all over.

December 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

I was raised and am from New Brunswick. As a child, and that wasn't yesterday, my Mother would always save some of her bread dough to make these dough pancakes. We also ate them with molasses. I also made them for my own children. At our house it was from Acadian roots.

April 27, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Alas SORRY we too have them here in Nova Scotia. I grew up on the South Shore. I am no Spring Chicken either as the other lady said of herself... As Kids We called them Polly Woggs. Some called them Polly Joes. We also served them with Butter and Molasses. My Mom always kept a loaf of bread back just for them. I make them as well with the traditional white bread dough .Even though we usually ate them with molasses if the molasses jug was empty we ate with butter or whatever...when there is a housefull of kids you ate when it was there or you missed out...My Great Greats also made them so sorry to the lady who sounded quite put out that someone other than Newfoundland would lay claim to the invention I think by the posts you can see no one place can lay claim to Fried Bread Dough..Only to the Name by which they are called....I too did some looking into it Years ago..In Russia its known as Leplushki... So heres to Toutons...Polly Woggs...Polly Joes ...Leplushki...To name a few..If it looks like a Duck ...Walks like a Duck and Quacks like a Duck chances are Its a Duck.....Whatever the name or place of origin I think we can all agree that they are Delicious and everytime we eat one it brings back those memories of growing up Wherever....

April 28, 2013 at 9:34 AM

So true. I have heard from people all over the world including Italy and Russia and it seems there are plenty of versions and names for fried bread dough.

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