Doughnuts are an interesting dough. Sometimes it’s spelled Doughnut, but can be spelled donut. They can be either light as air or dense and cakey. Stuffed with savory ham and cheese, or drizzled with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles (Damn, now I wish I had rainbow sprinkles).
Like the bagel, everyone pretty much has their own preference, flavor, and final product. Unlike a bagel though, if you set out a tray of doughnuts everyone will eat them even if it’s not their favorite.
This sourdough baking has been extraordinarily fun for me. I love to bake but don’t always find the time and it’s too easy to avoid making a “mess”. With sourdough baking becomes part of the ritual. It’s almost like a family member. Jamie does ask me from time to time how the starter is doing. How is the bread rising? What do I read in the cryptic messages of bread air holes? Does it bode for a good future?
Sourdough is great. It also makes me feel extra genius and wise as I usually manipulate an old baking recipe into a new sourdough one. It sounds like big magic right? All I do it substitute the ratios of water and flour for what already is present in my starter. Depending on the recipe I choose how much starter to swap in for.
There is a bit of experimenting that goes on. Poor Jamie is forced to endure many renditions of one bread at times.
This is all meant to encourage and push you to explore your inner baker’s voice. See what happens when you change a recipe. Or when a “mistake” is made. There’s lots of discovery still to be had in baking.
This doughnut recipe is one of those wonderful experiments. The outcome is a dough that is halfway between air and cake. They had a very slight sourdough taste that meditatively reminds you that YES! You made this heaven on earth.
YEILD: 9 large doughnuts and 10 “holes”
- 1 tsp active dry yeast (more if your starter is sluggish)
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter or shortening
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 400g – 600g all-purpose flour (3 ⅓ – 4 ¾ cups)*
- 260g unfed starter (1 cup)
- Oil, for frying
- Toppings as desired: cinnamon & sugar (pictured), chocolate icing, powdered sugar, honey glaze, rainbow sprinkles!
- In a small pot or saucepan warm the milk on the stove. Use low heat to bring the milk to about 100℉.
- Add your butter/ shortening to the pot and let it melt. By the time it’s done melting the milk will have cooled off some.
- Add your yeast to the milk mixture** and let it dissolve. Set aside for now.
- In your mixer bowl add the salt, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, eggs, starter and 400g/ 3 ⅓ cups of flour. Begin to mix on low until everything has come together.
- Doughnut dough looks like a soft smooth pillow of yum. It’s not sticky and just feels so right when you handle it. Honestly, like squeezing your lover’s (or your own) butt cheeks! If your dough needs more flour to reach this point add a little at a time. Also, remember that the more the gluten develops everything holds together better.
- Add your flour slowly and let it come fully together. Let it mix on low just a few more minutes before adding more flour. This enriched dough takes longer to come together so be patient.
- Once your dough resembles delicious buttocks place it in a warm place, or a proofer. Let it rest for about an hour to rise until it has doubled in size.
- After the dough has doubled dust a surface with some flour to roll out your dough. Roll the dough to about ½-inch thick. Be sure the dough is not sticking to the counter.
- Prepare a lined pan with parchment paper.
- Using a 3-inch circle or square cookie cutter, or glass, etc. cut out your doughnuts! If you have a tiny cutter use this to cut out the center hole.
- With the remaining dough and dough balls… you can leave the dough balls alone and set them on the pan with your finished doughnuts to eat later. Or, gently combine the dough back together again for another roll-out.
- Once you have all your doughnuts cut out, set them in a warm place to rest and rise for about 30 minutes. If after 30 they don’t look like they’ve risen, give them a little more time.
- Prepare your frying pan or pot. I like to use enough oil so that my doughnuts float while frying. I used a 9-inch by 3-inch-deep pot for mine. Begin to heat the oil to 350℉. Try to maintain this temperature during the frying process. You may have to adjust the temperature of your burner as you go.
- While the oil is heating, prepare a plate lined with paper towels for the drippy doughnuts after frying.
- At this point, you may also want to prepare your toppings. If you are dusting cinnamon and sugar, or anything, like me you’ll want to have it on hand right away. Dipped toppings, like a honey glaze, can be dealt with later after all the frying is done.
- Remember, take your time, but move with purpose.
- Being careful not to burn yourself in the hot oil, dip one or two or three doughnuts into the frying pan. Watch them as they will begin to brown. Usually 2-3 minutes. If they are browning much faster check your temperature, or lower the heat. You want to make sure you cook the raw dough all the way through. Fast fry can mean raw results.
- Use a metal slotted spoon to carefully flip the doughnuts over to get browned on the other side.
- Once both sides are pleasantly browned remove them from the oil and set on the paper towel-lined plate.
- Dusting Toppings: Almost as soon as you can, roll, your doughnut in your cinnamon & sugar or other powder. You need the dough as hot as possible to slightly melt the sugars so that they stick to the sides.
- Dipping Toppings (ex. Honey glaze): Relax and keep frying. You can dip and drizzle when you’re done. If you start when the dough is hot the heat will melt the sugary glaze right off.
- Filling: You can do this anytime. Preferably when cooled. The heat can mess up a creamy filling!
- Keep frying until all of the dough is done. Roll and dip your heart out and sink your teeth into these terribly delicious sweets!
*Flour may vary depending on how wet your starter is, your environment, etc. Just add slowly and you’ll surely get there.
** Yeast is alive, which means it can die. If yeast (prior to baking) is taken to a temperature over 120℉ it will start to die. When adding warm liquids to a batter or dough be sure to check the temperature before you pour!
For Molly <3