Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Doughnuts (and Cinnamon Rolls!)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

This was my first time making donuts. I guess I was thinking donut-making was far more complicated.

It's not.

A standard yeast dough is rolled out and the donuts are cut and allowed to rise.

A few minutes in hot oil and voila! Donuts!

Who knew?

The whole experience went really well and I didn't have any problems except one. My oil got too hot and I think some donuts got darker than I expected. However, if I ever decide to do some serious donut making, I'll dig out my deep fryer, with it's temperature control, and then I'll be golden. Like donuts.

And how did they taste? Wonderful! They were just as good or better than any purchased donuts I've tried. If I make these again, I'm definitely going to try a chocolate glaze. Those would rock!

Quickly, before I go, I'll share what I did with the rest of the dough (I made 1/2 recipe and only made 6 donuts... I don't need platefuls of donuts around my house!) I rolled out the rest of the dough into a rectangle about a scant 1/4 inch thick and layered on melted butter, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, and sugar and rolled them up into cinnamon rolls.

I thought I'd try making them in a muffin tin, for a change of pace.

They were quite good, but I think I won't make them in a muffin tin again. They seemed dryer and more chewy on the bottoms. Still good, though.

OK, that's that. Thanks to Lori for a fun and tasty challenge!

Yeast Doughnuts:
Recipe from Alton Brown on the Food Network
Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
3. 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, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
6. 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 (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.


Anonymous said...

the interior of the bitten donut looks just about perfect! :)

Clivia said...

Oh my! Did everyone make donuts today? I'm stepping away from the computer right now. I'm much too suggestible to be looking at these gorgeous treats.

Laura said...

These look perfect, and I like your idea of making cinnamon buns. I tried baking the yeast doughnuts and was quite pleased.

The Betz Family said...

Your doughnuts and cinnamon rolls look delicious! And you make it sound so easy. Nice job on the challenge!

Cupcake Activist said...

These desserts are perfect autumn desserts. It's starting to get cold outside and cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate sound so nice!

Renuka said...

The cinnamon rolls look absolutely gorgeous....and the doughnuts are divine.....well done daring baker.

Jeanne said...

What a brilliant use for the extra dough! Both the cinnamon rolls and doughnuts look delicious!

Anonymous said...

What a smart idea to make cinnamon rolls with some of the dough. I instead, have probably eaten at least 10 doughnuts!!! They look great

Bunny said...

Both the donuts and the rolls look perfect!

Lisa said...

Those are some of the most perfect looking donuts and holes, BUT, those baked cinnamon buns are just brilliant! I wish I had thought of using some of the leftover dough for that! Awesome job as always, Jacques!

Judy said...

Your doughnuts and cinnamon buns look divine!

Heather said...

Your doughnuts look delicious and what a good idea to make cinnamon rolls. Like you I had never realised how easy doughnuts are to make - always thought you needed some sort of commercial machine to shape them - they are however very dangerous to have around!

Katrina said...

My boys LOVE donuts. I try not to eat or make fried food, but once in a while, I'm nice just for them, you know, I never take a bite or a donut hole myself or anything.
Now, about that wheelbarrow? ;)

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Ahh doughnuts. They are the bane of my existence. Thank god I don't know how to make them!

Great idea to make them into cinnamon rolls!