Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homemade Yeast Doughnuts

Every Sunday growing up my family and I would go to church, immediately after going straight to Grandma's house for coffee, doughnuts and bagels (7 year-olds drink coffee, right? This may or may not be the reason I currently drink a minimum of 3 cups of black coffee a day). The doughnuts didn't come from some franchise shop (I'm not Munchkin hatin'-- those things are amazing, especially for bribing people), but from a local bakery, making them something special. I'm not a fan of cream-filled things (sorry!), or jelly-filled things (sorry again! This on top of what I admitted to in the past, I'm starting to question why I even bother to bake...), so obviously I went for the frosted doughnuts with sprinkles. Beautiful, colorful sprinkles. So when I decided to make doughnuts of my own, that's exactly the kind I made. No cream, no jelly, just sprinkles.

Adapted from Alton Brown
Homemade Yeast Doughnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup shortening 
  • 2 packages instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (lukewarm to the touch, not hot!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface (Alton suggests you weigh the flour, which I did and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately that means I don't have it converted into cups...)
  • 1 gallon frying oil (peanut is best, but I used canola) 

  • Place shortening in a bowl. Heat milk over medium heat, just enough to melt the shortening. Pour warm milk into the bowl with the shortening. In a separate bowl put warm water and sprinkle with the packets of yeast, allowing to dissolve for 5 minutes. Transfer the yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the shortening/yeast mixture when it only slightly warm. Next add eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half of the flour, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the rest of the flour on low speed, then switch to medium speed and beat until well-combined. Change to the dough hook and beat the dough until it's smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 3 minutes). Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough. Let rise for an hour until the dough has doubled. Roll out the dough on a generously-floured surface to about 1/2 inch think. Using a biscuit cutter, doughnut cutter or whatever large and small round cutter you'd like,* cut out your doughnuts. Place on a floured surface or baking sheet and cover with a towel. Allow to proof for 30 more minutes. Place a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan. Heat oil to 365 degrees F. Fry the donuts (a couple at a time, don't overcrowd!) for a minute per side, until cooked and light golden brown. Place cooked doughnuts on cooling rack and allow to cool before glazing. 
  • *I used a larger glass for the doughnut and a shot glass for the hole. I just finished college, don't judge. 

  • Vanilla Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp* milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Combine ingredients and mix well. *Add more or less milk to reach desired consistency.

  • Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup

  • Heat cream over double boiler until it just begins to bubble. Pour over bowl of chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for a couple minutes, then slowly whisk to combine. Add butter and corn syrup and mix well. Cool slightly before glazing doughnuts. 

  • Dip or drizzle donuts in glaze of your choice, and top with sprinkles (absolutely not optional).

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