This delicious doughnut recipe is versatile & simple. Doughnuts rise in the refrigerator overnight. All you have to do in the morning is cook them.
- 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
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
*NOTE: This recipe makes approximately 24 doughnuts that are 3 1/2 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 1/2 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 glazing the doughnuts, let drain on paper towels for at least 10 minutes before dipping in glaze.
If filling the doughnuts with pastry cream let 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.