October Daring Baker’s challenge – Doughnuts!

This was my first Daring Baker’s challenge, and what a fantastic one it was! The challenge forced me to confront my fears of hot oil, with the only downside being that Frank got to see exactly how much of a giant baby I can be. (Yes, he has seen me in a onesie, but this was far more similar to a cry-baby)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Lori also encouraged us to make more than one type of doughnut from her recipes provided. And now for my excuses! I would have loved to get completely immersed in this challenge and get creative, but sadly I have just been too frantic to dedicate the time to it, and so I only made one type of doughnut. I will definitely take the recipes away however, and make them another time when things are more calm at the Pig Palace. With my new-found confidence! 😉

I chose to make traditional yeast doughnuts, as these are my favorite kind. I also decided to coat them in cinnamon sugar, as there is nothing better than fresh doughnuts with cinnamon! The recipe was wonderfully straight-forward, and the doughnuts turned out perfectly. The only hitch was the hot oil…
We borrowed a deep-fryer from Frank’s brother, as I was worried about deep-frying for the first time (oh yes!) on a gas stove. When the oil was at the right temperature I became too scared to put the doughnuts in, so I yelled for Frank and made him do the first round (while dancing behind him with all the teatowels we own, as he said this is the best way to put out an oil fire). He made it seem so easy that I pottered on and did the rest, and now I’m keen to try all sorts of other delicious deep-fried goodies!! Frank’s favorite part? The doughnut holes. Bite-sized deliciousness!

Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
Rising time – 1.5 hours total
Cooking time – 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

1.5 cups Milk
1/3 cup butter/margarine
2 pkts Active Dry Yeast
1/3 cup Warm Water
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup white Granulated Sugar
1.5 tsp table salt
1 tsp grated nutmeg
4 2/3 cup plain flour + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)
1/4 cup granulated sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon for dusting

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the margarine/butter is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time.

Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Once cooled toss in cinnamon-sugar mix.

8 Responses to “October Daring Baker’s challenge – Doughnuts!”

  1. 1 Honey @ honeyandsoy 27/10/2010 at 4:19 pm

    Yay!! I love doughnuts in cinnamon too, and congrats on confronting your hot oil fear… the doughnuts really look awesome!

  2. 2 Tes 27/10/2010 at 6:34 pm

    It’s funny how I thought of decorating doughnut for Halloween this week and you just put this yeast doughnut recipe. This is so perfect! The doughnuts look yummy!

  3. 3 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 27/10/2010 at 7:48 pm

    Welcome to Daring Bakers Loll! Great challenge to start off with too! I ran out of time this month but hopefully will get a moment to do next month’s! 🙂

  4. 4 briarrose 28/10/2010 at 12:31 am

    Looks so tasty. Great classic doughnut.

  5. 5 Ellie 28/10/2010 at 12:38 am

    These look so good and you just reminded me that I have to make these tonight. This month has been so crazy that I completely forgot! Can’t wait to try them.

  6. 6 Anna Johnston 28/10/2010 at 10:47 am

    Well done with confronting the hot oil fears, love a good donut too…., suddenly very hungry for one, or two 🙂

  7. 7 Renae 28/10/2010 at 6:01 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the challenge and overcome your fear of hot oil! Donut holes are my favorite too, so I can see why Frank loved them.

  8. 8 Susan: My Food Obsession 29/10/2010 at 11:20 pm

    Your Doughnuts look fantastic! I have just joined the daring bakers too, next month will be my first challenge – very excited!

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