Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daring Bakers: Let’s go nuts for Donuts!

Can you believe that I have never deep fried anything? Deep-frying, along with lighting the gas grill, seemed like dangerous cooking feats. Why would I want to heat up a gallon of oil to 365 °F? That seems like a bad idea for home cook, right? There is just one problem, I love fried food! Give me a pile of chicken wings, some French fries and fry me up a Snickers bar and I’m a happy camper. Although on the other hand, it might be good that I don’t fry at home, I’d be 400 lbs…


Luckily I joined the Daring Bakers. My first challenge was more of an aesthetic challenge than a baking one. Decorating sugar cookies was super fun and now I’m ready for the holidays! This month’s challenge is what I have been hoping for, something to really push my boundaries, test my baking skills and make me a little uncomfortable. This month we would be making donuts (doughnuts?)


I love donuts, so this Daring Bakers challenge is a win-win. I get to play with hot oil and I get to eat lots of donuts! NOM! Neither of these things is an unusual happening. I use hot oil on an almost daily basis in the lab. I’m also lucky enough to walk by not one, but three Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to work. Making my own donuts would save me so much money! But don’t worry, I didn’t fry them in silicon oil, that would be disgusting.


Yeast Donuts
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

I cut the original recipe in half because I didn’t need two dozen donuts sitting around my house! Depending on the feeling of your dough you might need to add more flour. I originally went with the listed amount of flour and then wound up adding a half cup more during kneading. If your dough is really sticky and tough to knead, then feel free to add more flour.


Also, be sure your oil is at 365 °F (185 °C) before you start frying and don’t let it drop below 360 F (180 C). Keeping the oil hot cooks the donuts fast and keeps them from absorbing a lot of oil.


¾ cup (180 ml) Milk
2.75 tbsp (35g)
1 pkg (7g) Active Dry Yeast
2 1/3 tbsp (40mL) Warm water (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
1 Egg, beaten
¼ cup (27.5g) White Granulated
0.75 tsp (4.5g) salt
½ tsp (3g) Nutmeg
11.5 oz (325g) All Purpose + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil

Place milk and butter in a saucepan and heat on medium-low until butter melts, set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl combine milk, butter, water and yeast. Add sugar, egg, salt, nutmeg and half of the flour. Mix until combined. Add remaining flour and beat until well combined. If using a stand mixer, change to the dough hook and knead for 3-4 minutes. Or, turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead by hand for 5 minutes.

Lightly spray a bowl with cooking spray and add dough, turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Flour your countertop and roll out the dough to 3/8-inch (9mm) thick. Stamp circles with a 2 ½ -inch round cutter, stamp the inner circle with a 7/8-inch ring. Set the donuts and donut holes on a floured cookie sheet. Cover donuts with a tea towel and allow to rise for an hour.

Heat your oil in a dutch oven or deep pot. The oil should be at least three inches deep. Place the donuts in the oil, 3 or 4 at a time. Fry on one side for 45-60 seconds and flip. Cook for another 30-45 seconds. Remove from the oil and place on a wire rack, over a baking sheet to allow excess oil to drip off. Allow donuts to cool for 15 minutes before icing.


Pink Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp water
Pink food coloring

Mix all the components together in a wide-shallow bowl, adding water slowly until desired consistency is reached. Dip donuts in glaze and then lift them straight up, out of the bowl. Allow them to set for a few minutes before devouring.

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating

½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon

Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl. Toss still warm donuts in cinnamon-sugar, turning to coat.


NOM NOM NOM!!!
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