My first Daring Bakers Challenge for this month was to make donuts. You might be wondering what a Daring Bakers challenge is, well it is a group of mostly food bloggers who take on a food baking challenge chosen by other foodies once a month. This month Lori from Butter Me Up choose the challenge and gave several recipes options to choose from. I was excited to try donuts out, I had only made them twice before and not sure if you can count the first time since I used canned biscuits and was about 10 years old. (hey, they were good though)
I choose Alton Brown’s recipe for yeast donuts. Let’s just say I have a new-found respect for donut chefs/makers. They look rather simple but there is a learning curve (suppose that’s why it’s called a baker’s challenge). The recipe was easy to follow but I found out later that my dough was a little too sticky which made it hard to get the nicely rounded shape off the cookie sheet and into the frying pan, in the same shape. I then decided that donut holes were good, then just cut pieces of dough thrown in worked too!
Okay so let’s get started on the recipe so you can make your own donuts and learn from my mistakes.
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
- 2 packages instant yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
- Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients 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 of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center hole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Time for the fun part glazing and decorating!
Chocolate Glaze Recipe:
- 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 butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until 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.
I also decided to roll some of my donut holes in powdered sugar and others in cinnamon sugar, and both were tasty alternatives if you didn’t want to mess with making the glaze. Making the glaze was very easy though so don’t be shy about trying it out.
More fun than glazing was eating the donuts…mmmmmm!
- If you don’t have a thermometer then you really need one. I used an electric frying pan with a temp dial on the side but I still don’t think it was accurate enough. In my case not hot enough.
- When the directions say cook 3-4 donuts do it, if you put more in the temp. of the oil will go down and cause your donuts to soak up more of the oil.
- I didn’t have a donut cutter so I used a drinking glass and a small round biscuit cutter for the center. If I try again I think I would like a donut cutter.
- When using glaze and sprinkles make sure you use the sprinkles immediately or they won’t stick to the glaze.
I believe if you follow the directions exactly and follow my tips you will have wonderful donuts. My donuts were good but a bit too greasy because of the temperature not staying high enough. Hope you try your hand at donuts sometime.