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.
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.
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.
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 ½ 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.
Homemade doughnut tips and tricks:
It's important to use a deep fry thermometer when cooking doughnuts so that you can monitor the temperature of the oil. Several different factors can affect frying temperature. I suggest cooking one "test" doughnut in your hot oil before proceeding with the rest. If your test doughnut is overdone on the outside and undercooked on the inside, lower the oil temperature a bit. If your test doughnut is overly greasy and heavy from having absorbed too much oil, raise the oil temperature.
These doughnuts are fantastic rolled in sugar with a sprinkle or two of nutmeg blended in, or covered in vanilla or lemon icing, or chocolate ganache. My personal favorite is to roll them in sugar and fill them with pastry cream.
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.
More recipes that use the same dough as these doughnuts:
- Extra Soft and Buttery Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Homemade Caramel Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Bread
- Apple Fritters with Maple Glaze
- Doughnut Holes Filled with Salted Caramel Pastry Cream
- Cinnamon Bread
Homemade Yeast Raised Doughnuts are a Building Block Recipe
Building block recipes are tried-and-true recipes that I consider foundational to great home baking. They are the kind of recipes I come back to over and over again, sometimes baking them as is, but often using them as a jumping off point to create something new. > Scroll through all Building Block recipes.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
- 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature, between 75 and 85 degrees
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
- 6 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 6 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
Optional glazes and icings
*NOTE: This recipe makes approximately 24 doughnuts that are 3 ½ inches in diameter. The recipe will make more or less depending on the size of your doughnuts.
MAKE THE DOUGH:
- 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.
FRY THE DOUGHNUTS:
*NOTE: Several different factors can affect frying temperature. I suggest cooking one "test" doughnut in your hot oil before proceeding with the rest. If your test doughnut is overdone on the outside and undercooked on the inside, lower the oil temperature a bit. If your test doughnut is overly greasy and heavy from having absorbed too much oil, raise the oil temperature.
- 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 360-370 degrees.
If coating the doughnuts in sugar, let the doughnuts rest on the paper towel for 10-20 seconds and then roll in sugar to coat (a sprinkle or two of ground nutmeg mixed into the sugar is a nice touch).
If icing the doughnuts, let them drain on paper towels for at least 10 minutes before covering them with icing.
If filling the doughnuts with pastry cream let them cool completely before filling. Scoop pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Use the tip to puncture the bottom or the side of the doughnuts and squeeze some pastry cream into the center of the doughnuts.
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