Doughnuts. Donuts. Either way, they're delicious. Today I'm sharing a fun and *fairly* easy recipe that's been modified from Martha Stewart's original. Because her version was good, but, let's be realistic - who's going to check the temp of their water, refrigerate overnight, and get up early only to wait 3-4 hours? Yeah, I didn't think so.
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled enough that it's not hot
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
In the bowl of a mixer, combine 1 envelope yeast with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water – I microwaved it for 30 seconds. It needs to be warmer than room temp, but not hot. The Martha Stewart recipe recommends 110 degrees, but it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s precise. Let the mixture sit until it’s foamy (it may not be super foamy, but will have noticeable bubbles), which is about 5 minutes. Then add 1 cup of flour, and beat on low speed until it’s well combined. The original recommends that you refrigerate it overnight, but I am immensely impatient and only let it go for 7 hours. As long as it’s doubled in size, it should work fine.
In another bowl, combine 1 envelope of yeast, 2 tablespoons warm water, and warm buttermilk – again, I just microwaved it for 30 seconds. As with the first yeast mixture, you’ll need to let it sit for about 5 minutes until it’s foamy. In a separate mixer bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and remaining 2 1/4 cups flour. Then add the foamy buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and butter. Beat the mixture on low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. The original recipe stated that the dough needed to “come together,” but I really don’t see how it could come together without adding more moisture. Mine was well mixed, but crumbly. The largest clump was maybe the size of a dime.
Next, add the flour-yeast mixture from step one. Beat until the dough is soft and sticky, about 3 to 4 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough into a ball, and then place the dough, smooth side up, in a bowl coated with vegetable oil/spray. Cover with a light dish towel. This is another place where I cheated a bit. Generally, the dough should stand in a warm dry place for about 3 hours, or until it’s doubled in size. But, I started this process in the morning, and by the time all of this was done, it was about 9 hours later and I really didn’t feel like making doughnuts for dinner. So I let it stand in a warm place for two hours, and then moved it to the fridge, where it finished doubling in size overnight. All in all, it refrigerated for about 15 hours. I like to sleep in.
If you’re like me and prepared the dough the night before, remove it from the refrigerator, and allow it to come to what is vaguely room temperature, which will probably take about an hour. If you’re a regular Betty Crocker, or, apparently, Martha Stewart, and you didn't refrigerate after step 3, you can skip all that. Divide the dough into thirds, and cover two of those with plastic wrap. Roll each piece to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface, and then cut out your doughnuts. You can buy actual doughnut cutters, but a round cookie cutter and something small and round (pastry bag tip, or something) will get the job done just fine. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and let them rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.
It’s fry time! I used the deepest pan I had on hand, because the oil needs to be at least 2 inches deep. The original stipulates that the oil needs to be at 350 degrees, but I found it was hard to keep it right at that temperature, even with a thermometer. My oil bounced between 320 and 380, and the doughnuts seem to cook best between 340 and 360. Slip them into the oil (I usually did no more than 8 at a time) turn once, and remove when golden brown. If you’ve never fried anything before, it can be a little intimidating, but you’ll learn what to expect and what to look for quickly. When the hole started turning golden brown, I knew to flip them. It’s not the end of the world if you flip them, decide they’re not ready, and flip them back, but you’ll want to turn them slightly sooner than you think because they’ll continue to brown a bit after being flipped. Once they’re done, drop them onto a paper towel, which will absorb the excess oil.
If your family is anything like mine, they won’t want to wait for you to glaze them. I coated the first third or so in cinnamon sugar as soon as they were cool enough to touch, which sated their hunger while I fried and glazed the rest.
I’ll be sharing 3 easy glaze recipes later this week, so be sure to check back for those. Happy eating!