Well, I completed another baking challenge, and have learned more about both my inadequacies in the kitchen and the ways I can gradually improve my skills. This month, we made doughnuts. I've almost never worked with yeast, besides a handful of pizza doughs and sundry biscuits or buns, so this challenge was a chance for me to get my yeast on. I'm getting to be more adept at (and less afraid of) hot oil frying. I actually really love the bubbling when you drop a fryable substance into the simmering oil - if frying didn't make things so darn oily, I'd do it every day, just for the bubbles.
No one in the Leaven household is a big doughnut junkie, and my better half might be considered an enemy of the doughnut, but we were willing to give these a taste, for the love of the challenges.
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.
from Alton Brown
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
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
4.5 tsp (2 pkgs/14g) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 eggs, large, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 2/3 cup (23 oz) flour + extra for dusting surface
Vegetable oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)
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. 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.
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.
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 2-3 minutes. If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer, knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown.
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in a baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
|this recipe seriously makes a lot of doughnuts!|
I made a simple sugar glaze with powdered sugar, vanilla, and water and dipped some of the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar. Both were pretty good. I'm glad they turned out pretty well. We enjoyed a couple of doughnuts each and the in-laws enjoyed the rest. It's good to know I can make doughnuts. You never know when a skill like that could come in handy.
I do want to try out my new churro-maker from Spain, so this won't be the last time I fry dough-like substances. I would like the next time to involve thick, goopy dark chocolate, like the churro experiences we had in Madrid and Denia. Until then, I am happy to complete the challenge but also happy I won't need to make any yeasty doughnuts for a while.