A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Doughnuts

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

When I read that October's challenge was doughnuts, I was intrigued. I've never been a huge fan of doughnuts mind you, but I've had the odd one that was well worth the caloric intake. Those were the ones that were so fresh, they were still warm when I bit into them. And I figured homemade doughnuts could only be better...so why not?

I made my doughnuts on a day when my sister's family was coming over for the afternoon. Thank God I did. The kids devoured them, which made it all worth the effort. The adults enjoyed them too - but in a more mature, restrained way.

The dough was super easy to make and came together easily although it was quite soft and therefore, easy to make mis-shaped doughnuts. I just used cookie cutters to form mine. 
The recipe said to let them cool before glazing them, however, I found that it was much easier to just dip them in the glaze while they were still hot.
You could really get creative with the glazes if you were so inclined, but I kept mine simple and kid-friendly.
I made a chocolate glaze and a simple sugar glaze, the latter being my favorite. Our guests arrived just as they were going into the fryer and so, needless to say, I didn't have any time to get creative with my camera before they were eaten.
The best part was the doughnut holes. You could pop one in your mouth without any real thought, and therefore guilt, and skip the sticky fingers. I rolled some of the "holes" in a sugar cinnamon mixture which was also good.
My 10 year old nephew declared that my doughnuts were as good as Tim Horton's. When he received 'the look' from both me and my sister simultaneously, he quickly retracted his statement and declared that they were 'better than Tim Horton's'. He's a good kid.

I'd read that they didn't keep well and had to be enjoyed the same day. There were 4 doughnuts leftover and, just out of curiosity, I put them in a rubbermaid to see what they'd be like the next day. Disgusting. They were slightly shriveled and soggy. I threw them out.

The moral of the story is that you don't want to make these when there's only a few people around to enjoy them. They aren't hard to make, but they do take some time. And no matter how big a lover of doughnuts you may be, no one person could possible eat enough to warrant making these for anything less than a small crowd.

To see what the other Daring Bakers came up with this month, head on over to the Daring Kitchen.

Recipe for Doughnuts
(Source: Alton Brown)
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
23 ounces 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.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired. (I found them easier to glaze while hot.)


  1. Perfectly done! Classic and delicious! I love your photos! Thanks for your lovely comment on mine!

  2. Yours look fantastic! All this reading about Tim Horton has me wishing I could try them and see what all the hype is about! All I know is Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts. LOL :) Thanks for commenting on mine.

  3. They look delicious - the toppings are so pretty!

    Gotta love your nephew!

  4. Your glazed doughnuts look perfect, and of course they were better than Timmy's! Kids! I think you did a great job with the pictures, since I bet there were lots of eager tasters hovering over you.

  5. Those look great! And I totally agree that you need to be able to feed an army if make a full batch of these doughnuts. Nice job on the challenge!

  6. These look fantastic....better than Tim Horton's! :) I tried the same experiment of storing them to see what would happen and I agree -- ick the next day!

  7. The donut holes were my favourite too! Love your glaze, I have so much experimenting to do with donuts!

  8. What a stunning doughnut you make and yes the recipe makes about 4 dozen I reckon and wonderful you could feed a lot of adults and kids with the recipe. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.


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