Doughnuts

Doughnuts have always been on my “to-do” list, but I was always a bit intimidated. After surviving making bagels, I figured that the time had come to take on the challenge.
A few helpful hints:
1)      Do not let the shaped doughnuts rise for more than the 1-1 ¼ hours. The first time that I made these, I used the theory of “the longer something has to rise, the bigger and airier it will be.” Apparently, this recipe has a rather short breakdown period. I let the doughnuts rise for about 2 ½ hours and they ended up being rather deflated. They tasted fine, but they were rather unattractive and flat.The second batch rose for only an hour and they were much prettier.

2)      If you are using plastic wrap to cover the shaped doughnuts as they rise, please make sure that it is generously greased. There is nothing as disheartening as getting ready to fry beautiful airy doughnuts, and to have the tops pull off and completely deflate when you pull the covering off.

The second, prettier batch.
Yeast Doughnuts
For the Doughnuts:
1-⅛ C. Whole Milk, Warm
¼ C. Sugar
2-¼ tsp. (One Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
2 Large Eggs, Beaten
10 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Melted
4 C. All-Purpose Flour
¼ tsp. Salt
Canola Oil
For the Glaze:
3 C. Powdered Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Vanilla
½ C. Cold Water Or Milk
To Make the Dough:


Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot (105-115°F).Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve. Add yeast into a small bowl. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
This should be done with the dough hook attachment, not the whisk. I realized this after I took the picture and didn't remember to get updated pictures.

Melt butter in separate bowl until almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure that the eggs don't cook. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.

The yeast gets all foamy and happy after 10 minutes.

With the mixer on 3 (if you have a KitchenAid) or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure that it is thoroughly combined.


With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, and then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.

After five minutes of kneading, you should have a soft, but not overly sticky dough.
After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
To Make the Doughnuts:
The next day, the dough is reminiscent of airy sugar cookie dough.
Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
If you do not have a 3-inch or 1-inch round cutter, feel free to use other shapes. The back of a piping tip is also a good substitute. 
Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
Before rising, the doughnuts look similar to sugar cookie cut-outs.
Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet. Cover with large tea towel or greased plastic wrap and place in a warm place in your kitchen.
If not allowed to rise for too long, the doughnuts should be nice and fluffy prior to frying.

Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughnuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Doughnuts:
Heat plenty of canola oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375- 380°F —do not let it get hotter than 380! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.


One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.

 


Place doughnuts immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze:
Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, and then remove with slotted spoon). Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze). Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.