January 18, 2015

Perfect Yeast Donuts

Okay, I know today was supposed to be Double Chocolate Banana Bread, and I promise you'll get your chocolate fix, but you guys, I JUST MADE DONUTS!!! And you know what?? They were pretty easy!! I rarely sit down and immediately blog the thing that I am still munching in one hand, but this is kind of a big deal. Because now YOU need to make donuts!!

Perfect Yeast Donuts (adapted from Christina's Cucina)
Printable Recipe
Makes about 16 donuts

6 Tb lukewarm water
5 oz buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg, beaten, room temperature
1/4 cup (4 Tb) butter, melted
3-4 cups (1 lb) all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 cup (2 oz) sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp quick-rise or bread machine yeast
oil for frying (I used sunflower oil based on the original recipe's recommendation and loved it! )

sugar, powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar for coating the doughnuts

*There are instructions for making this dough with a bread machine in the original recipe*

Place the lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Add the butter, beaten egg, salt, and buttermilk. (Having these ingredients at room temperature is crucial!!) Now, before you add the flour, pay close attention, this will make or break your donuts. If you have a kitchen scale, ignore the cup measurement and weigh out one pound of flour, then you're good to go. In my case, that was only 3 cups! If you do not have a kitchen scale, start by adding three cups of flour.  You can always add more later. 

Add the flour to the liquid ingredients and mix until it comes together in a soft dough. Switch to a dough hook (or, if kneading by hand, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface) and knead for 5-8 minutes, until you have a smooth, elastic dough that is tacky to the touch but not super sticky. Mine was a bit too sticky:
...so I added 1/4 cup of flour. If your dough looks like mine, or is sticking to the sides, add more flour in 1/4 cup increments, kneading for a minute or two between each. Take your time! You want it to come away from the sides and barely be stuck to the bottom, like this:
When your dough looks like this, set it in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for an hour or two, until doubled. (I usually just grease the mixer bowl, no need to get a new bowl dirty!)

Once the dough has risen, divide it in half, leaving one half, covered, in the bowl. Knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured surface, then roll it out about half an inch thick. This is a fairly springy dough, so make sure it's not just stretched and stuck to your work surface, or your donuts will immediately shrink when you cut them. Cut donuts with a round, sharp cutter (about 3 inces diameter) then make the holes with a smaller cutter (about 1 inch diameter), saving the holes. (I used a biscuit cutter and a hole cutter from a linzer cookie set, but you can use just about anything with a round shape and a sharp edge. Many plastic spice jar lids would be perfect for your center hole cutter. 

Place each doughnut (and hole!) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the tray in the oven, turn your oven on, immediately set a timer for 1 minute, then turn your oven back off when your minute is up. You're just barely warming the oven. Place an oven safe bowl or dish full of boiling water in the oven with your baking sheet. This will keep a skin from forming on your rising donuts. 

Roll out and cut the other half of your dough (the original recipe also has instructions for making donuts to fill with yummy things) and place it in the oven as well. Let your donuts rise until rounded and puffed, about 30-45 minutes. 

Pour about 1/4 inch of oil into a dutch oven or frying pan, and heat to about 350º degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil with a doughnut hole: if it doesn’t sizzle a bit immediately, the oil is too cold, if the hole starts browning right away, the oil is too hot. Adjust accordingly.
Gently place the donuts into the hot oil using a flat spatula. (The original recipe also suggests giving each donut its own little piece of parchment, then using the parchment to slide them into the oil. Your choice!) Carefully flip them as soon as they become golden brown on the underside, then remove when the other side is golden and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Keep an eye on them, they cook very quickly!! When the donuts have cooled enough to handle but are still warm, roll them in sugar/cinnamon sugar/powdered sugar and serve!
You don't have to have gallons of oil, or a deep fryer, or a special cutter, the dough is a cinch to put together (as long as you have a bread machine or stand mixer, that is... otherwise you'll have to spend some time kneading) and they fry up so fast that I burned a whole batch of donut holes when I got distracted. And holy MOLY are they delicious!!
You could glaze them, frost them, sprinkle them, fill them, whatever you want. A simple sugar coating has always been my favorite though. No freaky preservatives or ingredients, just scrumptious light and fluffy bread, fried to golden perfection, rolled in sweet, sparkly sugar. Seriously people, you have got to try these!!


  1. They look great April! Well done! xxoo

  2. So exciting!!!! I've also enjoyed making homemade donuts, starting from using King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking's recipes and then trying some more conventional ones. My very very favorite recipe is from www.cookscountry.com for their Apple Fritters. It is a bit of work to dice all those apples into tiny pieces like they want, but the doughnuts are sooooooooooooo good. I guess it's all to personal taste with donuts, though, now that I think about it... just like how to spell it :)

  3. They look amazing! I've never tried making Donuts but I think I might have to give these ones a go, even though I don't have a bread maker or a stand mixer! I hope I can get quick-rise or bread machine yeast here in Australia, but I guess normal dry yeast would work too?
    Love your blog April, it's always great to see what people on the other side of the world make and eat.

  4. Oh, this just made MY day! Your doughnuts look absolutely perfect, April! The next time someone tells me the recipe didn't turn out properly, I'm sending them over here! I can't believe these turned out like this in 1/4" of oil...wow! Fabulous results!

    Thanks for crediting my site, too -I appreciate it!

    Christina @ christinascucina.com ;)

    1. Hi Christina!! :D I was going to come back and comment and link on your blog, but I've had two boys with stomach flu ever since I posted this :/ I ended up using a teeny bit of oil because my donut holes wouldn't stay flipped when they were floating, and I kept overcooking them. But once I got the hang of the timing, they really were perfect!! And that weighing thing is totally the key. Thank you so much, we'll be making these LOTS!!

  5. P.S. Shared your photo and blog name on my Christina's Cucina Facebook page!

  6. great receipts !!:)



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