Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

In Chocolate, Frostings and Icings, Yeast Breads on August 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm
From Adriana Baking

I haven’t lived nearly long enough to write of childhood, but in this case, I write with experience.

Since I was young, I’ve loved animals. My sister would volunteer to take the the nursery school’s rabbits home for Christmas vacation, then watch the teachers lock up her nursery classroom, leaving it too cold and lonely for two little bunnies to stay in.  Once we took them home, I loved feeding them carrots through the wire bars of their enclosure, watching them nibble at them until only a few orange shreds were left. They liked mint leaves too, and I would give them each a few sprigs for a post-dinner snack.

When I was in elementary school, I harbored a scrawny, blind kitten, who was abandoned by its mother, and desperately hoped to revive it from its near state of death.  I could not keep him inside, for our house cat, Snowball, disliked- no, abhorred, all other cats with such a strong passion she could probably set fire to a whole forest of trees. The kitten eventually died, to my great dismay, and I didn’t get over it very easily.

From Adriana Baking

Even as a little girl, I understood that animals were living beings and that they had feelings. I was especially familiar with cats; they lived all around our house. I often went outside and sat on the grass, carefully letting them sniff me when they got near, and letting them rub against my legs when they learned to trust me. The neighbor kids were also used to cats and treated them nicely.  But sometimes when my parents invited their friends over, they would bring their children along. Being preschoolers, some even younger, their children would get excited at the fact that we had a cat, and run up to her without realizing that they were scaring her. Our poor cat had gotten her tailed pulled by toddlers before, and she cast wary glances in their direction as the kids approached. Their parents warned them to be calm around her so she would let them pet her, but their kids didn’t understand why she should be scared of them.  Wanting to reach out and stroke her soft white fur, they pet her a little too hard. Inevitably, our cat pawed them gently, warning them first before swatting them.  They soon realized that their parents’ warnings were for their own good, and were more careful around Snowball.

I was much the same about other things. I think every child goes through this phase, becoming more curious about something once their parents tell them that whatever it is that they are forbidden to do is dangerous.

“Don’t take your hands off the bicycle handle bars; it’s dangerous.”  I tried it, and decided it was fun.

Or in the kitchen as my parents cooked dinner.

“Don’t get too close to the frying pan, Adriana. There’s hot butter in there that might burn  you.”
Never being burned by butter, I didn’t realize just how much it hurt until the fish was added to the frying pan, and the butter bubbled up and found its way out of the pan onto my arms.

From Adriana Baking

I almost always succumbed to curiosity as a child. If one of my parents would tell me that rollerblading down a steep hill or bicycling down a ramp was dangerous, I would have the need to experience it for myself so I could judge just how dangerous it really was. My parents were always right of course, but being forbidden or warned against something boosted my curiosity. Rollerblading down that hill gave me more than one skinned knee, but it was my favorite past time for a long time. I wasn’t the out-of-control rebellious little girl you might be picturing in your mind right now. I knew the limits and stuck to them, but I did like to try out all sorts of things on my roller blades.

For as long as I have been wanting to make doughnuts, my father has been refusing to give in. “It’s too messy, and hot oil can burn you,” was his main excuse. Though not so much a dangerous activity, it was definitely a messy process, I soon found out after convincing my father that frying doughnuts on a hot summer day was exactly what I wanted to do.  I made a mess out of the kitchen and got splattered with hot oil in the process, but enjoyed myself thoroughly.  It wasn’t out of curiosity for something I wasn’t allowed to do that made me long for a hot homemade doughnut so much as making them myself and knowing for sure that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Will I make them again? Yes, I probably will. Another recipe has caught my eye! I also love spending hours in the kitchen watching yeast slowly rise and become foamy, made up of thousands of little air bubbles. Or feeling the elasticity of risen dough under my rolling pin, having the power to shape and elongate it into any form I wish.

From Adriana Baking

I chose to make Pioneer Woman’s doughnuts because of her easy step by step instructions, which were very helpful. My dough was very sticky and it was so fragile it deflated slightly as I gingerly placed it into the hot oil. They puffed up a great deal after they were fried, so that wasn’t too much of a problem.  I made a chocolate glaze, a vanilla glaze, and a cinnamon sugar coating for the doughnuts.  I don’t think that I will ever be able to enjoy a store-bought doughnut again.  These were light and melted in my mouth, and didn’t have the fake plastic-y taste of commercial ones.

Homemade Glazed Doughnuts

yields 18 doughnuts

1-⅛ cup Whole Milk, Warm
¼ cups Sugar
2-¼ teaspoons (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten
1-¼ stick Unsalted Butter, melted
4 cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
Canola Oil

3 cups Powdered Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Vanilla
½ cups Cold Water Or Milk

Preparation Instructions

To Make the Dough:
1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts:
Remove the bowl from the fridge and turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out the remaining dough and cut as much as you can, repeating the process until all the dough has been used. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter. Place both the doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen; if your kitchen is drafty, briefly warm the griddle, then turn it off and set the sheets on top to keep warm. [I place the sheets in the oven with the pilot light on]. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour or an additional 15 minutes if necessary. The doughnuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Doughnuts
Heat plenty of canola oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—do not let it get hotter than 380 degrees. 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor. One to two at a time, gently place the doughnuts into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.  Place the doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Flip it over until the doughnut is no longer oily.
Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side. Allow the doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze
Mix all the glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth. One by one, dip the doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon). Remove them from the glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet used to glaze any drips of glaze . Serve them warm if possible, or room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze

recipe from Alton Brown via Joy the Baker

This is enough glaze for a double batch of doughnuts!

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Combine the butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

  1. Just wanan say that the donut looks absolutely amazing!!

  2. wow, i applaud u for trying to make your own donuts! that takes GUTS – maybe i’ll try it sometime… when i feel like im up for it. im pretty scared of crazy hot oil and deep frying stuff, but u make the homemade donuts sound so worth it!

  3. i am so glad you took a chance on these…hot oil and all because they look fantastic. I’m kind of scared of deep frying myself. So seriously. I commend you. They look well worth it.

  4. I’ve always wanted to make donuts too! Only I’ve never quite gotten around to it because the frying part is kinda scary….But seeing yours kinda makes me wanna make it even more!
    I love watching yeast working its magic and expanding- everytime I bake bread, I literally check the dough every 5 minutes to see how much it’s risen 😀

  5. That cinnamon sugar donut looks so good!

  6. I missed reading your posts all summer, and I didn’t think it was possiable but your writing has gotten even better. I love every post! and your doughnuts look so tastey!

  7. These look so tasty!

  8. Hey there! I am so glad you found my blog!
    I did cool the butter however I did not freeze it, I will try that next time, thank you for the tip!
    I love your blog and can’t wait to start following it.

    Keep in touch

    With love and cupcakes,

  9. Oh my goodness, I remember when, a few years ago (must have been 11 or something), I strapped on my roller blades, grabbed a big stick, and thought I could carefully roller blade down a hill near our house. My plan was to use the stick to maneuver myself. Yeah, that DID NOT work. I ended freaking out half way down, trying to bail off to the side of the road and landed in a pile of smooth rocks with the stick having jabbed and scraped my belly and back. Lesson learned, will NEVER do that again!

    I remember fostering a kitten when I was younger– he was super little and was sick. He died, too, and it was heart breaking. We had named him Bo Bo. I’ve always cared for animals, too (always been a cat attractor!). That’s why I’m vegan.

    Beautiful photos, btw!

  10. Hi, would just like to know how long it took before the donuts turned stale? I noticed that freashly fried yeast donuts turn stale after just an hour in room temp. Can you suggest what dough conditioner to add to the recipe that will keep the donuts soft even for 8hrs just like commercially made donuts. Please email at thanks.

  11. These look so amazing. I’m normally not a huge doughnut fan, but I don’t think even I could say no to one (or six) of these!

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