Making homemade yeasted donuts may seem like an overwhelming task, but rest assured, it is easier than you think and oh-so-satisfying. I have some useful tips in the post below for frying up your very own glazed donuts.
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Frying Donuts at Home
Yes, this recipe calls for yeast and yes, it calls for frying. Don't let that intimidate you in the least! Working with yeast is not as difficult as you may think. And, frying donuts at home requires some preparation and some kitchen tools (see below for my recommended tools), but this recipe will walk you through exactly how to do it.
I adapted this recipe from one of my tried and true recipe resources, Cook's Illustrated. They did all the recipe testing for us and came up with a tender, light and chewy fried donut recipe that you can easily make at home. I incorporated some of my own tried and true techniques to make it truly friendly for the homemaker.
How to Make Glazed Donuts at Home
The first step in making glazed donuts is to prepare the dough using flour, sugar, yeast, milk and egg. Making the donut dough works best if you have a stand mixer and dough hook as the mixer can do a lot of the work in kneading the dough. You can certainly knead the dough by hand as well.
Allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes to allow the gluten to begin to develop. Next, add in the salt and room temperature butter, a little bit at a time, allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next.
Then, let the mixer knead the dough for a good 10 or so minutes to let the dough come together and form a smooth ball of dough.
If you're looking for a donut that doesn't use yeast and you don't need a mixer, then check out these baked cake donuts that are going to fit the bill. But I think you should not walk away so quickly - these are worth reading on for!
Convenient Timing for Baking Your Donuts
The recipe calls for allowing the dough to rise for one hour at room temperature and then placing in the fridge overnight so you can bake the next day. You can choose to skip the overnight in the fridge step and move directly to cutting out the donuts.
It's entirely optional in terms of which you choose to do. This recipe is meant to allow convenience in terms of timing. Refrigerating the dough is something called cold fermentation which allows the dough to develop more complex flavor and its gluten to relax so that it is easier to roll out.
After the dough has risen, cut out the donuts then allow to proof a second time. To speed this up, place the donuts in your cool oven with a loaf pan of boiling water on the lowest rack. Close the door and allow the donuts to rise in the steamy environment.
Prepare to Fry Your Donuts
Now it's time to fry! Prepare your work station while the donuts are proofing by heating up the oil in a large pot on the stovetop, placing next to the stovetop a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels on which to place the fried donuts, and have your spider skimmer readily available.
Carefully place the donuts, a few at a time, in the hot oil for 60-90 seconds per side, adjusting the flame or heat on your burner as needed to keep the oil temperature consistent. Allow donuts to cool then dip in the glaze on both sides.
Tips for Making Glazed Donuts at Home
- Make sure you have fresh yeast. If it’s been sitting in your fridge or pantry for longer than you can remember, chances are it’s no good and it’s not going to result in light and airy donuts. Grab yourself a new package of yeast and you'll be glad you did! Any brand will do, as long as it’s fresh it’ll give you the result you’re looking for here with these glazed donuts
- You do not need a deep fryer to fry these donuts. You can use a deep skillet or large dutch oven. Be sure to pour the oil into the pot then turn on the burner. And, be sure that your oil has reached 360ºF (182ºC) before you being frying. It takes about 5-10 minutes for the oil to reach this temperature. A candy thermometer that clips onto the side of your pot is handy for monitoring the temperature as it rises as well as while you’re frying. If the oil is too hot, your donuts will burn and if the oil is not hot enough, the donuts will soak up all that oil and turn inedible
More Tips for Frying Donuts at Home
- When you're done frying the donuts, allow the oil to cool completely in the pot. Never pour it down the kitchen drain, as it'll clog your pipes. You can strain the oil for future frying use into large mason jars using a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Or, pour it into a container and throw it into the garbage
- Frying anything in your house can cause less than pleasant odors to linger for a while afterwards (this sounds like the beginning of a commercial, doesn't it?!). What I like to do to help get rid of the frying smell is boil a large amount of water in a clean pot, throw in a bunch of bottled lemon juice and vanilla extract (use up the inexpensive kind in the back of your cabinet, save the good stuff for baking!) and let it boil away for about 20 minutes. The lemon and vanilla will amazingly minimize that lingering bad odor. Just watch the water level to make sure it doesn't get too low, otherwise you'll burn the bottom or the pot
Useful Kitchen Tools for Making Glazed Donuts at Home
Large Dutch Oven (for frying the donuts)
Candy Themometer (for measuring temperature of frying oil)
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Looking for more donut recipes to make at home? Give these a try:
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulsted sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into ½-inch pieces, softened
- 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
- 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup hot water
- pinch of kosher salt
- Stir flour, sugar, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Add milk and egg and mix with rubber spatula until all ingredients are moistened. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until cohesive mass forms, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl if necessary. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Add salt and mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix until butter is fully incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 7 to 13 minutes longer, scraping down bowl halfway through mixing.
- Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl, flip dough, and form into ball.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. You can choose to skip to step 4 after 1 hour of rising, or transfer the dough to the refrigerator overnight (or up to 48 hours).
- After the dough has chilled, but before you remove the dough from the fridge, prepare for the next step by adjusting oven racks to lowest and middle positions.
- Place loaf pan on lower rack.
- Cut out 14 (6x6-inch) square pieces of parchment paper (12 for the donuts, 2 for the donut holes) and place on prepared baking sheets.
- Spray squares with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Transfer chilled dough to lightly floured counter.
- Press into an 8-inch square of even thickness, expelling as much air as possible.
- Roll dough into a 10 by 13-inch rectangle, about ½ inch thick.
- Using a 1-inch cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut a hole out of the center of each round.
- Transfer donuts and holes to the prepared baking sheets, placing one donut on each square. (If desired, use 1-inch cookie cutter to cut small rounds from remaining dough to create additional donut holes. Transfer to baking sheet with donuts.) Meanwhile, boil one cup of water in a saucepan or microwave.
- Pour the 1 cup boiling water into the loaf pan that's set on the lower rack of your oven.
- Place baking sheets on the upper rack of your cool oven, uncovered.
- Close oven door and allow donuts to rise until dough increases in height by 50 percent and springs back very slowly when pressed with your knuckle, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, water, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- About 20 minutes before the end of the second proof time, add vegetable oil to a large Dutch Oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-low heat to 360ºF (182ºC).
- Use parchment paper squares to gently pick up donuts, one at a time, and add to oil, being careful not to let the parchment get in the oil.
- Fry until golden brown on undersides, 1 to 1½ minutes, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 350ºF (177ºC) and 365ºF (185ºF) degrees.
- Return oil to 360ºF (182ºC) and repeat with remaining donuts.
- For donut holes, transfer all to oil and stir gently and constantly until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to prepared rack to cool.
- Let donuts and donut holes sit until cool enough to handle, at least 5 minutes, before glazing.
- Working with 1 donut at a time, dip both sides of the donut in the glaze, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Place on unlined rack.
- Repeat with donut holes.
- Let donuts and holes stand until glaze has become slightly matte and dry to touch, 15 to 30 minutes, before serving.
- This recipe calls for allowing the dough to rise for one hour at room temperature and then placing in the fridge overnight so you can bake the next day. You can choose to skip the overnight in the fridge step and move directly to cutting out the donuts if it's more convenient for you
- Donuts are best consumed the day they are made
- Store donuts at room temperature in a tightly sealed container or ziplock bag for 2-3 days. Rewarm in the oven or microwave
- Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
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