After my yeast dough success with my Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls and Monkey Bread, I set my sights on yeast-raised doughnuts. I thought about them for a week, doing tons of research and reading about ratios. I started a batch on Saturday morning thinking that this would somehow be a simple one-and-done success. It’s safe to say I was a little over-confident.
The first batch over-proofed and collapsed. I immediately started a second batch, wherein I killed yeast for the first time in my baking career. Neither batch made it to the point of frying. Frustrated, I decided to give up for the day and concentrate on making soup instead–it’s hard to screw up a pot of soup. I had dinner, watched Netflix, and tried to forget about my double failure.
But, if you know me, you know I can’t move on quite so easily. That’s how I ended up making a third batch at 1am on Sunday morning. I mixed a shaggy dough and kneaded until it was smooth, before praying a little prayer to the doughnut gods and placing it in the fridge to rise overnight.
When I woke up around 10am, I took the cold, risen dough out of the fridge, rolled it to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut a bunch of doughnuts. I proofed them while I inhaled the first of two large iced coffees.
Yes, I did all the rolling and cutting pre-coffee. I deserve a medal. Or an extra doughnut.
I heated some shortening in my largest cast iron skillet and got to frying…and I had my first glimmer of success. Sometimes the third time really is the charm. I gave that batch a dip in a classic glaze and took a bite. They were soft and a little chewy with a crisp edge–they were just a little one-note in terms of flavor.
Sunday night, I made a fourth batch of dough, this time with the tiniest bit of nutmeg. I cut and fried again on Monday morning, gave the doughnuts a dip in a quick chocolate glaze, threw some sprinkles on top, and…
Y’all, these are the best doughnuts I have ever had. Ever. Ever ever ever. I logically know that there is someone out there who makes a better homemade doughnut than I do, but…damn, these are GOOD. I can usually resist the treats I make, but not these. Nope. The crisp fried edge, the slightly chewy interior, the chocolate dip, the smattering of sprinkles–I just can’t help myself. Add in that this recipe basically comes together in the fridge–meaning that you can have warm, fresh doughnuts pretty soon after you wake up–and…well, this is about as good as breakfast gets.
Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
makes about 2 dozen 2 1/2-inch doughnuts and doughnut holes
2 cups bread flour*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
1 cup buttermilk*
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
2 quarts shortening or frying oil (like peanut, safflower, or canola), for frying
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.
Combine buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula to fold liquid into dry ingredients. Fold in eggs until a sticky, shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until dough is smooth. Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Cut a large sheet of wax paper into 30 4-inch squares. Place squares on two rimmed baking sheets.
Remove risen dough from refrigerator and punch it down. Turn cold dough back onto a floured surface and roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or graduated cookie cutters to cut doughnuts. Place cut doughnuts on individual squares. Place doughnut holes at least one full inch apart on wax paper. Re-roll scraps as necessary.
Gently lay plastic wrap or a sheet of wax paper over the tops of the pans and allow doughnuts to rise in a warm, draft-free environment* for 45-60 minutes. Once puffy, remove doughnuts from oven.
Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and set in close proximity to the stove.
Heat shortening or oil to 350F. Working in small batches, fry doughnuts 1-2 minutes per side, until golden. Remove to rack. Continue with remaining doughnuts. Doughnut holes will only need 30 seconds per side.
At this point, unadorned doughnuts and doughnut holes may be frozen for up to a month. Otherwise, proceed with dipping (see Chocolate Dip recipe below).
Dipped doughnuts are best the day they are made.
- If you do not have bread flour, you may substitute an equal volume of all-purpose flour. Your doughnuts will not have as much chew as those made with bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
- If you do not have buttermilk, you may make a substitute with lemon juice (or vinegar) and milk. Pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk until the liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Let sit for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe as written. Whole and low-fat milks are fine, but I do not recommend skim or nonfat.
- I preheat my oven to 200F, turn it off, and slide the doughnuts inside. After 45-60 minutes, they are puffy and ready to fry. Works every time.
makes enough for 2 dozen 2 1/2-inch doughnuts and doughnut holes
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (or mild honey)
3-5 tablespoons milk
rainbow sprinkles, optional
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix in corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of milk. Add additional milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.
Set a cooling rack over a sheet of wax paper.
Dip doughnuts one at a time and place them on the prepared rack. Decorate with sprinkles before dip sets, if desired (I usually do this after I’ve dipped four doughnuts). Dip and sprinkle doughnut holes.
Chocolate Dip will set after about 20 minutes.