Perfect Yeast Doughnuts

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Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp (100 ml) water
  • 5 oz buttermilk (150 ml)  (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg, beaten (at room temperature)
  • 2 oz (57 g) butter, melted
  • 16 oz (454 g) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 2 oz (57 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp (3.5 g) regular or quick-rise yeast (one and a half teaspoons)
  • oil for frying (I use sunflower or grape seed oil or a combination)
  • sugar for coating the doughnuts
  • jam, Nutella and or real whipped cream for filling, if desired

Special equipment:

  • parchment or wax paper, cut into about 4″ squares (smaller pieces for doughnut holes)
  • large pot, deep fryer or wok
  • a sharp doughnut cutter (a reader asked what I recommend, and I like this one as there is no guessing where the center of the doughnut is–perfect doughnuts every time).
  • candy/oil thermometer, not necessary, but very helpful if you’re not a deep-frying pro

Directions

  1. Place the water, buttermilk, beaten egg and melted butter in the bread machine pan or stand mixer bowl, then add the dry ingredients, except for the yeast.
  2. Make a small indentation in the dry ingredients, then add the yeast.
  3. Set the bread machine on the ‘dough’ setting. If using a stand mixer (see directions in printable recipe below, as steps with the yeast are different), run it with the dough hook, until a soft dough is formed, then cover and set aside until at least doubled in size.
  4. I do not specify a time on the dough rising because there are too many factors that will determine the length of time. Which yeast was used (regular or quick rise), if the yeast was fresh or old (older yeast doesn’t work as well, or sometimes not at all), and the temperature of your kitchen. Normally it’s about 20 minutes.
  5. Once the dough has risen, place it on a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide it in half, keeping half the dough covered, so it doesn’t form a skin.

6. With a rolling pin, roll out half of the dough to about 1/2″ thickness. (Do not rest the dough.)

7. Cut with a round, sharp doughnut cutter (about 3″ diameter). Or else use a sharp cookie cutter, then make the holes with a smaller cookie cutter (about 1″ diameter), saving the holes.

8. Place each doughnut on a piece of parchment or waxed paper, then place on a cookie sheet. Put the tray in the oven (turn it on for 1 minute, SET A TIMER, then turn the oven off again, just to make it barely warm). The oven warming step should not be necessary in the summer unless your a/c is very cool.

9. Next, boil some water and pour it into a measuring jug. Place the jug of water in the oven with the tray of doughnuts (this will create steam will keep a skin from forming).

10.With the remaining dough, divide into quarters, then divide each piece in half to make 8 equal amounts. If you are perfectionistic, you can weigh each piece–not that I’d ever do any such thing!

11. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball, and place on parchment or waxed paper pieces and place on a cookie sheet; place in the oven with the other doughnuts and holes to rise until doubled in size.

12. Heat the oil to about 350ºF (180º). If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil with a doughnut hole: if it doesn’t start frying immediately, the oil is too cold, if the hole turns brown right away, the oil is too hot. Adjust the heat accordingly.

13. Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil using the paper to carefully lower them into the oil.

14. Turn them over as soon as they become golden brown on the underside, then remove and place on a paper towel lined plate once they are ready.

15. When the doughnuts have cooled, roll them in sugar to coat evenly.

16. If you choose to fill the large yeast doughnuts, push a skewer into the center of the doughnut to make a hole, then place some room temperature jam, or slightly warmed Nutella into a piping bag and pipe the filling into the doughnut.

17.  Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable not to fill them with anything, but if you like the look of the jam and cream filled doughnut below, just slice it in half, at a slight angle, then slather on some raspberry jam, and pipe in some real, freshly whipped cream.

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