Homemade Doughnuts – The Daring Bakers Challenge, Oct 2010

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.

As you all know, October is my first month officially being a part of and participating in the The Daring Kitchen and more specifically, the baking portion. After seeing this month’s challenge, I was really excited. I LOVE DOUGHNUTS! I mean, I really love doughnuts. If they weren’t … doughnuts, I would eat them every day. But they are, so I don’t. But they do make a great treat. I recently learned that in the five+ years that I have been with Brad, I never let him on my mom’s can of biscuit donuts that she used to make for us as kids. Although he liked them, once he tried these, I could tell, there was no going back to a nice can of Pillsbury. 😦

Lori gave us for options for doughnuts: yeast, cake, bambolini and pumpkin (as I said before, Fall should be all things pumpkin). The first doughnuts that I made were the yeast… and here it goes, a story without words – or just a few words…

Steps 1 & 2

Step 3

Steps 4, 5 & 6

Step 7 START

Step 7 END

Steps 8 & 9

Steps 10 & 11

Step 12

I had a really great time making (and eating) these donuts. It’s a perfect morning treat. Next time you have guests, start a batch of doughnuts – it only takes an hour to rise and we all know that there is no sleeping in when we host guests. Take the extra hour and make them something special; I’m sure they would be really surprised at your skills and hard work. Anyone can drive to the doughnut shop in the morning, not everyone can whip a quick batch of homemade doughnuts. Try it out. It’s really much easier than you would think.

Yeast Donuts
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

Directions:
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.

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