Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's Go Nuts for Doughnuts! - October '10 Daring Bakers

Talk about photo-finish. I've been busy trying to get ready for a vacation and then going on vacation that it took me til deadline to actually make the challenge this month.

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.

We were also given a choice to make cake doughnuts or yeast doughnuts. I decided to go with Alton Brown's yeast doughnut - one which my son is more familiar with. He would be the one consuming the sinful goodies.

Or so I thought. I did a taste test...Wow! Best doughnuts I've tasted. No kidding. Inside it was soft, fluffy and airy. Outside, the crust is thick and crispy. I, unashamedly, finished 5 donuts in one sitting. My son ate all the doughnut holes - all 12 of them.

I halved the recipe and didn't have any nutmeg so I used cinnamon instead. Instead of heating the milk in the saucepan, I just warmed it up in the microwave for 2 minutes. I also put some of the sugar in the yeast mixture to speed up the activation process. Didn't really time how long I fried each side of the doughnut, maybe between 30-45 seconds each side. I just eyeballed it. After it cooled for a little bit, I covered them with cinnamon sugar.

Here's a video of Alton Brown making his doughnuts and then the recipe follows.


Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004  

  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 2-1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
  • 4-1/2 teaspoon (2 packages) instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 23 ounces (4-2/4 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.) I just used the microwave for 2 minutes in this step.

Place the shortening 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. (I added some of the sugar to this mix to speed up the activation.) 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. (I didn't have nutmeg so I used cinnamon instead.)

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. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired. Allow to cool slightly before coating in cinnamon sugar.



  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together on a big storage bag. Put the doughnuts inside the bag and shake to coat.


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