One homemade doughnut recipe, infinite possiblities.
This doughnut recipe can be used to make pretty much any kind of homemade doughnut you can imagine. Chocolate or vanilla glazed? Of course. Cream filled? Absolutely. Doughnut holes? You betcha. Rolled in sugar, frosted or glazed, covered in cereal, sprinkled with bacon, filled with fruit or pastry cream… whatever you can imagine, this is the only doughnut recipe you will ever need.
But, you want to know the best thing about this doughnut recipe?
The dough is super simple, and cut-out doughnuts can rise in the refrigerator overnight so that all you have to do to enjoy homemade doughnuts in the morning is cook them. In your bathrobe, of course.
If there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t love doughnuts, I’ve never heard of them.
And, to be honest, they don’t sound like the kind of person I’d be friends with anyway. Because doughnuts are AWESOME. Anyone who doesn’t like them must be unstable, don’t you think? Possibly dangerous. Defiantly someone who should be avoided.
While I lack the imagination to envision a world in which everyone doesn’t inherantly love doughnuts, I will concede that mediocre doughnuts exist. All over the place. In fancy packages that lure you in and convince you to spend too much money on what turns out to be somewhat disappointing. It’s a problem.
For example, the doughnuts at my local grocery store are… ok. Good enough. And this is exactly why I usually regret eating them. Because, here’s the thing: if I’m going to indulge in little bits of fried, sugary dough for breakfast, I want them to be so good as to be worth every calorie.
Every. Single. One.
Otherwise, later in the day, when I’m rummaging around in the refrigerator trying to find enough green vegetables to counteract my sugar hangover, I start to regret my breakfast decisions.
And “regret” and “doughnuts” should never, ever, be in the same sentence.
If you’re going to eat doughnuts, homemade doughnuts are the way to go.
I’m not saying you should eat them every morning. But, every now and then, treating yourself, your family, and maybe even your friends and neighbors to warm, tender, freshly made homemade doughnuts that melt in your mouth and are impossibly delicious, is a praise worthy deed deserving of lavish praise. And maybe a foot rub.
As I said at the beginning of this post…
This doughnut recipe makes the reality of homemade doughnuts possible, without having to get up at 4am.
Here’s what you do:
- Make the doughnut dough about 2 1/2 hours before you want to turn in for the night.
- If you want to fill some or all of the doughnuts with pastry cream (highly recommended), make that after you get the dough going, cover it and put it in the refrigerator.
- Roll out the dough, shape into doughnuts, lay them out on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise while you sleep. Go to bed and dream of pillowy clouds of dough.
- In the morning, set the doughnuts out on the counter for an hour or so to finish rising. Pour a cup of coffee and linger over the newspaper. Or go back to bed. Your choice. This is not the time to get dressed and start doing something productive.
- Fry them up, fill them, glaze them, roll them in sugar. Eat. Share. Enjoy your life.
doughnut recipe notes:
It’s important to use a deep fry thermometer when cooking doughnuts so that you can monitor the temperature of the oil. Do your best to keep the oil between 320-340 degrees. Oil that’s too cool will allow the doughnuts to absorb too much oil. Oil that’s too hot will burn the surface of the doughnuts while leaving the middle doughy.
I’ve included instructions for both chocolate and vanilla glaze below. These doughnuts are also fantastic rolled in sugar with a sprinkle or two of nutmeg blended in. But, of course, the sky is the limit. Top them or fill them with whatever you desire. My personal favorite is to roll them in sugar and fill them with pastry cream. Equally delicious is to fill them with pastry cream and top them with chocolate glaze.
Make them whatever size or shape you like. I purchased a set of double sided round dough cutters on Amazon a while back and use them all the time. The package comes with 6 different sizes. In the doughnuts pictured here, I used a medium sized one for the pastry cream filled doughnuts, and one slightly larger for the vanilla and chocolate glazed doughnuts. The smallest one is perfect for doughnut holes.
Last but not least, here’s a little secret…
This doughnut recipe uses the same dough I use for my favorite buttery dinner rolls and overnight cinnamon rolls. For doughnuts, I simply added a touch of nutmeg, lemon zest and vanilla. Otherwise, it’s the same dough because… it’s really, really good bread dough. I tell you this because, if you enjoy these homemade doughnuts as much as I think you will, you might also want to try the dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls.
But try the doughnuts first.
- 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature, between 75 and 85 degrees
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
- 6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 6 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Pour the milk into the bowl of a standing mixer, and sprinkle in the sugar and yeast. Stir to combine and then let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast begin to come alive. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, melted butter, vanilla and lemon zest.
- Fit your mixer with the dough hook, add 5 cups of the all-purpose flour and mix on low speed (speed number 2) until the dough begins to come together. Slowly add enough of the remaining cup of flour so that the dough comes together into a soft, slightly sticky ball. Depending on the humidity in the air, this might take the entire remaining cup or only a bit of it. What you're looking for is a soft, smooth ball of dough that clings to the dough hook, and does not stick to the sides of the bowl, but does stick slightly to the bottom of the bowl. If you stop the mixer and touch the dough, it should feel slightly sticky, but not so wet as to be confused with cookie dough.
- Once the dough has come together, sprinkle in the nutmeg and salt. Continue to kneed in the mixer for about 8-10 minutes. The dough should look very soft and smooth.
- Butter a large bowl and dump the dough into the bowl. Butter a piece plastic wrap (or spray with non-stick spray) and use it to cover the bowl. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
- While the dough rises cut out 24 squares of parchment paper, each square about 1-inch larger on all sides than the cutter you will be using to cut out the doughnuts. (This is unnecessary if you are only making doughnut holes. For doughnut holes, simply cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.)
- Set 2 baking sheets out on the counter. After the dough has risen, dump it out of the bowl onto a clean countertop and roll out to ½ inch thick. Cut out the doughnuts using a dough cutter. Place each doughnut on one of the individual squares of parchment paper and lay it on a baking sheet. Continue to roll out the scraps and cut doughnuts from the dough until you've used all the dough.
- Spray sheets of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and cover the doughnuts. At this point you can leave the doughnuts on the counter to rise for about 1 hour before frying, OR you can place the doughnuts in the refrigerator to let rise overnight. If refrigerating the dough, let rest at room temperature for 1 hour before frying.
- Pour enough vegetable oil into a large, deep saucepan to come up the sides 3 or 4 inches. Heat the oil to 370 - 375 degrees. Place 2 or 3 of the doughnuts into the hot oil, parchment and all. Immediately after lowering them into the hot oil, use a pair of kitchen tongs to remove the parchment. Let the doughnuts cook in the hot oil until the bottom is a deep golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently flip the doughnuts over in the oil and cook another 3-5 minutes until both sides are golden brown. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Do your best to keep the temperature of the oil between 360-375 degrees.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Dip the tops of doughnuts in the glaze and let rest on a cooling rack with a sheet of foil underneath to catch drips.
- ½ cup butter (8 tbsp)
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Add the butter, milk, corn syrup and salt to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is just starting to simmer.
- Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the vanilla and powdered sugar until the mixture is smooth.
- Use immediately to glaze doughnuts by dipping the tops in the glaze. Let the doughnuts rest on a rack with a sheet of foil underneath to catch drips.