Mom’s Dough Gods

When we kids were at home, Mom made dough gods almost every time she made bread. We devoured them hot from the pan coated with sugar and cinnamon. We thought they were better than doughnuts.

Some people call them dough gobs, but they were dough gods to us. I don’t know how they got that name, but they deserve it. They truly are a heavenly treat, despite the fact that they are one of the simplest foods you can make. Stir up some bread dough, let it rise an hour or so and fry it in any kind of cooking oil you have available. Mom used lard, shortening or vegetable oil, and her dough gods always turned out golden and tasty.

You don’t need a special dough. The recipe below makes a standard nine by five inch loaf of old-fashioned white bread or a batch of dough gods. Double the recipe and you can bake a loaf of bread along with the dough gods. There’s really no extra work to make both at the same time, so you get the loaf of bread as a bonus.


1 cup milk
1 heaping tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 package)
1/2 cup water
1 T sugar
1 T butter
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
Oil to fry dough gods in
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon


As with all bread baking, start by scrubbing your hands well.

Put one-half cup warm water (90º to 110º) in a cup with a quarter teaspoon of sugar and stir in the yeast. While the yeast is proofing, warm the milk to about 110º and pour it into a large bowl. Stir in the salt and sugar. Melt the butter and add it to the milk.

Stir in the flour one cup at a time, beating thoroughly between additions. After you have stirred in the first cup, mix in the yeast. Continue adding flour one cup at a time until the dough becomes stiff and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Let the dough rest in the bowl for five minutes, then scrape it out onto a well-floured work surface with a spatula and use the spatula to turn the dough to coat it with flour before starting to knead it. Powder your hands with flour, and knead the dough until it is smooth and satiny, about four to five minutes.

If you have never kneaded dough, you should check out for an excellent lesson on kneading or go to for a good video showing you how to do it. Actually, doing both is a good idea. Just go to the sites and use the search for “knead dough.”

Return the dough to a greased bowl, roll it to cover the surface lightly with grease, and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Put the bowl in a warm spot in the kitchen (I use the top of the refrigerator) and let the dough rise until it has doubled in bulk, usually an hour or a little more. Punch it down and knead it on a lightly floured work surface five or six strokes. Pat it down to about an inch thick and use a knife or baker’s scraper to divide the dough into twelve or fourteen pieces. Roll the pieces into balls about the size of walnuts and cover them with a damp towel.

Put the sugar into a shallow bowl or pie tin and mix in the cinnamon. Put some paper towels in a baking pan or on a plate to absorb any oil from the dough gods after they are fried.

Heat a quarter to half-inch of vegetable oil in a ten or twelve inch skillet over medium high heat. While the oil is heating pat some of the dough balls into circles about a quarter inch thick, then stretch them out even thinner.

Test to determine if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of dough torn off from one of the bigger balls into the oil. It should brown on one side in about thirty seconds and finish in another thirty seconds on the other side.

Put two dough gods into the oil, let them fry for about a minute, then using tongs or a slotted spoon, turn them over to finish cooking. If the first one is not golden brown when you turn it, just turn it back for a few more seconds and raise the heat a little.

When both sides are golden brown, take the dough gods from the oil and let them drain while you put the next pair into the pan. Dredge the two you just cooked in the cinnamon sugar and put them on a plate.


NOTES: Dough gods are best eaten warm, and a couple of kids can keep up with the pan, at least for the first four or five dough gods. You can omit the cinnamon and even the sugar if you want.

I think that Mom used tongs to handle the dough gods, but I have a faint recollection of her using a cooking fork. Just be careful not to splash any hot oil on eager hands snatching dough gods from the plate.

And finally, I found a couple of recipes on the Web that called for frozen bread dough (thawed and allowed to rise of course). I would never use it, but perhaps I am a Luddite in the kitchen.

6 thoughts on “Mom’s Dough Gods”

  1. Hi Chuck!
    Thank you for this detailed recipe. My husband and I had dinner with my parents tonight and my dad was reminiscing about the amazing treats his mom would cook when he was younger. I had never heard of “dough gods” until this evening and I was so delighted to come across your blog! You are such a blessing! Keep up the amazing work. I will be surprising my dad with this recipe for his birthday 🙂 God bless!



  2. My family is Irish and we also had a special treat like this. Some of our family called them Thurthoghs. Do you have any information on where the name came from – Doughgods?


      1. I know this is an old post but maybe it will get to you anyway. My mother made these as well from leftover bread dough and we called them dough gads. We ate them hot with butter and jam. My parents were from Wisconsin and my mother was Norwegian. I’ve tried a lot of searches and I’ve only found a couple other people who knew what these were! I’d love to find more history.


      2. Hi, I am still around and thank you for your inquiry. All my grandparents and parents were German. My mother learned to make dough gods from her mother. That is all I know. We too ate them with butter and jam or jelly, but my favorite was to eat them hot from the pan dusted with cinnamon sugar. Some of my school friends who ate them at my home told me that they Sid not have them at home, but that may have because their mothers did not bake bread.

        Good luck and let me know if you find any more info.

        Eat well,


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