The Gilad Family's Sfenj. Food Photography: Shelly Gilad.
The Gilad Family's Sfenj. Food Photography: Shelly Gilad.


A good Sfenj should be light and airy like a cloud. Popular in the Middle East and Northern Africa, these might just replace donuts as a new fried fav

Sfenj, which originated in North Africa, are yeasted dough rings that are deep-fried and served with honey or dusted with powdered sugar. The Gilad family’s sfenj is a bit Swedish- and spiced with cardamom- and a bit Canadian because it is served with maple syrup and a little salt.

“For me, it is a meditation that brings back memories. When I make Sfenj, I can feel Grandma Mama by my side again.” Click to enter the Gilad family kitchen.

Ingredients for Sfenj

For the Dough:

  • 7½ cups (1 kilogram) flour sifted
  • 1.8 oz (50 grams) fresh yeast or 4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • ⅔ cup cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3⅓ cups (800 ml) water lukewarm
  • 1 cup oil for greasing hands
  • oil for deep frying
  • cubed carrots to check the oil

To Serve:

  • maple syrup or agave syrup or honey


Prepare the Dough:

  • 1. Place the flour and yeast in an extra-large bowl (the dough will rise and double its size). If using baker's fresh yeast, crumble it with your hands into the bowl. Add sugar, salt and cardamom and mix the ingredients with your hand.

  • 2. Pour the water and stir with your hand for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be very soft and sticky, but don’t be tempted to add flour.

  • 3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place overnight in the fridge. Alternatively, place in a warm place (just over room temperature – but not too warm) and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1½ - 2 hours.

  • 4. When the dough has proofed, dip a wooden spoon in oil and give it a quick stir for 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles in size again, about 30 minutes.

Frying and Serving:

  • 5. Fill enough oil for deep frying in a wide deep pot (about 3"/7.5 cm deep) and place over medium high flame. To check if the oil is at the right temperature, put a small piece of carrot in the pan. If there are no bubbles around the carrot, then the oil is not hot enough. If the carrot turns brown in less than 15 seconds, then the oil is too hot.

  • 6. When you're ready to fry, dip your hands in oil. Pull up a handful-size dough with one hand and, using your other hand, pinch it off. Hold the dough with both hands, and punch a hole through the middle with your fingers. It sounds complicated but it's really easy and fun. Stretch the dough a bit to form a ring, then gently slide into the hot oil. Add as many rings as you can fit but make sure you have enough room to flip them over.

  • 7. Fry the sfenj until the bottom is golden brown, then, using a stainless-steel slotted spoon, flip them over and fry for about 2 more minutes.

  • 8. Remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Prepare a second batch with the remaining dough.

  • 9. Drizzle syrup over the fried sfenj. The sfenj should be enjoyed immediately, still fresh and warm, but its best to let them cool for a few minutes before taking a bite.

*שמנו לב שחסרים כמה פרטים קטנים להשלמת הפרופיל שלך ב־FOODISH, אפשר להוסיף אותם בקלות בעמוד המשתמש שלך.