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Donuts

I admit, I have never made donuts before. I never really had an inkling to try it, so I never did... but I once in a while wondered if I could. So I thought I would experiment with donuts.

BLOG POSTINGS > Experimenting

Donuts

by zirbirt

I like donuts.. but I don't eat them very often, for obvious reasons. Where we used to live, we had an amazing donut shop, where for $10 I could get a dozen of the best donuts I ever had. After moving a few months ago, I discovered our new town actually has NO donut shops. They used to have a Krispy Kreme but it closed down some time back. Why is this area devoid of donut shops? I have no clue.. but it is a frightening occurrence.

I typically do not mess with grocery store donuts. They are never good enough to justify all that is bad about a donut. For me, for a donut to be worth what's in it, it has to be really good. So.. if I want a decent donut, I guess I will have to figure out how to make one.

First thing is first.. I need a dough. There are some things I know.. A good donut recipe will use a yeast dough (not making cake donuts here). Also that dough should be fairly light and airy and a bit sweet. So, I am going to begin with a modified sweet bread dough. Also, I need some extra structure and texture...

In a previous posting (I think the pizza one) I mentioned how yeast, flour and fat are the primary ingredients of any bread. The ratios are typically about the same across all breads.. but there is a wildcard. That wild card is.. Protein. More specifically, eggs. Eggs can be used to change the texture of the final dough. They will usually give you a better structure and a little more chew, which in the case of donuts, is exactly what we want.

So.. DONUTS

1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 1/2 cups flour (all purpose for this one)
2 eggs
5 tsp (or 2 packages) active yeast
1 tsp nutmeg (for a little extra flavor)

So, first I scald the milk, which means warm the milk in a pan until it is steaming but not boiling (about 180 degrees)

Then in a mixing bowl, I add my shortening, and pour the milk over it and let it dissolve.

Then, I put 1/3 cup warm water in a separate bowl, and sprinkle the yeast on there and let it dissolve for about 5 mins.

I add the sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour and the nutmeg to my milk and shortening and mix. Then I blend in the two eggs, one at a time.

I check the temp, by sticking my finger into it. If its warm to the touch but not hot, add in the yeast mixture. If its hot, let it cool for a little bit.

Now, I mix in the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until it has the right consistency. For this, I want it to be a sticky soft ball.

I let that rise for about 30 minutes. Then sprinkle some flour on it (because it will be sticky) and separate it into 2 balls. Each ball gets fully coated in a blanket of flour.

You can manage this any way you want of course.. and Im sure there are better ways than I did it.. but here is how I did it.

I laid down a sheet of wax paper and floured it up generously. Then rolled 1/2 the dough out on the wax paper. I rolled the dough pretty thin, and in hindsight, I think I would have made it about double the thickness I did.


Next, I used a round cutter to cut the main donut shapes


Then a small round cutter to make the 'holes'

I removed the "not donut" part of the flour, and just moved the whole sheet of waxpaper (donuts and all) to a cookie sheet to rise for about 30 mins.

I put vegetable into a large pot, and added a thermometer. The thermometer is critical. You need to keep the oil at, or as close to 350 degrees as possible.

I then grabbed my scissors. I cut the wax paper around a donut. Then using the wax paper I lifted the donut and dropped it into the oil. I did this to avoid damaging the loose dough. If I would have tried to pick up the donut, I would have malformed it, and likely popped it. Which would have caused the air to escape and the donut to flatten.

I let the donut cook on one side for a few minutes. It will puff up a bit more. I lift it to see how the coloring on the bottom looks and once it is a nice golden brown, I flip it.

Once that is done, I remove it and rest it on a baking rack over an cookie sheet to let it dry up.

For the first grouping of donuts, I made classic glazed. So I made a very basic glaze

Glaze
1/2 cup butter (melted)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs Corn Syrup
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Just mix all that together into a bowl. Then set a warm but not hot donut on it, to coat one side. Then pull it out and put it back on the bakers rack.



For the other ball of dough, I actually made them without the holes.


I then fried them the same way.

I made a simple vanilla pudding and added it to a pastry bag with a long "injector" tip. Once the donuts were warm, no longer cold, I pushed the injector into the side of the donut and squirted in a generous helping of pudding.

I then boiled 1 cup of cream. Then poured it over about 6 ounces of chocolate. (In retrospect, I made my guanache way to thin, so I would probably do 1/2 cup of cream instead). I used the same method of laying the donuts on the guanache, then setting them on the baking rack.

Finally, I had a bunch of odds and ends. I simple clumped them together and cut them into funky shapes.

I then fried these and dropped them in 1/2 cup sugar combined with 3 Tbs of cinnamon.


All in all.. the Donut experiment went well. I have never made donuts before, so I was happy with the results. The biggest problem is that I ended up with a lot more donuts than we would ever eat.

I don't think I would ever do this again. I simply don't love donuts quite enough to make it worth the hours of standing over the deep fryer. If I did though, I think I would focus on trying to improve the dough a bit, to get it just a tiny bit lighter.. and of course I would put more chocolate in my guanache.. and I would probably try to jelly fill some and drop them in powdered sugar.


Hope you all enjoyed this posting.

Thanks for reading.


zirbirt
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