I distinctly remember my first doughnut. It was one I bought from the Shoprite bakery during my college days when I was not such an avid baker. As I took my first bite, I was disppointed to find that it tasted more like a sugar loaded brioche rather than the cake-like consistency I was expecting. While it was not love-at-first-taste, I did grow to like doughnuts over the years especially as my bread baking skills improved.
Doughnuts really are quite simple to make and do not require a lot of special equipment. They generally fall into two categories: yeast and cake. Yeast doughnuts take a little longer as naturally one has to allow for rising time, but they create a lovely, fluffy and airy doughnut. The process of deep frying is the key to get it right. It is important the oil be the correct temperature so that your doughnut is nice and crispy on the outside.
There are a large number of varieties and many cultures have some version of a tasty fried dough such as beignets, crullers, fritters, Sufganiot, and krapfen, just to name a few. For my first homemade ones, I found it safer to play along with the October 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge, hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. And of course, I have now sworn upon myself never to bite into a store-bought doughnut. Homemade is best!
3/4 cup milk
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 sachet active dry yeast
3 tbs lukewarm water
1 egg, room temperature
1/8 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Chocolate or sugar icing
- Place butter in a bowl and pour warm milk over. Set aside for 5 minures until butter is melted.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy.
- After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture.
- Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, combine the ingredients.
- Mix on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
- Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
- Change to the dough hook attachment and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth,
- This should take approximately 3 to 4 minutes. If you do not have a stand mixer, knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
- Transfer to a well-oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm, and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size in a warm environment.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. Flour well to prevent doughnuts from sticking to the counter.
- Cut out dough into rings using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass.
- Use a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center hole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel.
- Let rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat oil in a deep fryer to 365 °F/185°C before placing the doughnuts into it.
- Lower the doughnuts into the hot oil gently to avoid splashing and cook for 1 minute on each side until golden brown.
- Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes prior to glazing.
- Yields 10 large doughnuts. Glaze with icing sugar or chocolate and top with sugar sprinkles or nuts.
Doughnuts – 100% Homemade!