Friday, January 28, 2011

Homemade Donuts

Jake asked me recently if I would try making donuts for him. I'm not really a huge fan of donuts... I'd rather eat something salty, like tortilla chips... but I like him a lot, so I thought I would give it a try... just for my husband.

I got the recipe that I used from The Pioneer Woman's blog. It was actually a pretty easy endeavor. My photos won't be nearly as good as the one on the blog I got the recipe from... but they'll do. 

For the donuts, you need:

  • 1 1/8 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of instant or active dry yeast [equals one packet]
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 sticks unsalted butter, kind of melted 
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

First... put on the super cute apron your mom made for you, and put your hand on your almost 40-week pregnant belly to quiet the energetic little one inside of you [who must be excited about donuts]. Okay, so those instructions were specifically for me... but wearing an apron is a good idea. It's fun, you look cute, and you feel domestic. Oh yeah, and you keep your clothes clean.

Put the milk in a microwave safe container and heat it until it's warm, but not hot. Somewhere between 105 and 115 degrees. If it's hot, it will kill your yeast. Add the sugar to the milk and stir it around. Pour it over the yeast, which you measured into another bowl. Stir it just a little bit, and then leave it alone for 10 minutes. 

While you're waiting, heat the butter in a bowl in the microwave. Don't melt it completely; just until you can stir it together and melt it all. You don't want it to get too hot because you'll be adding the eggs to the butter, and you don't really want scrambled eggs in your donuts. 

Crack your eggs into a separate bowl and beat them with a fork. Check your butter to make sure it's not too warm, and then add the eggs to the butter. Or the butter to the eggs, since the egg bowl won't be warm. Stir the entire time you are adding. Pour the egg/butter mixture into whatever bowl you are using to mix everything together. I used a Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment. 

Turn on the mixer [medium low] and add the now-bubbling yeast mixture to the eggs and butter. Let the mixer  combine those ingredients. Measure out 4 cups of flour and add the salt to it. Then, slowly, 1/2 of a cup at a time, add the flour to the wet mixture, until all of the flour is gone. 

When the flour is gone, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Then set your timer for 8-10 minutes and let the mixer do its magic. Stop the mixer again and scrape the bowl... and then run the mixer again for just a minute. After the minute, stop the mixer, remove the hook, and let the dough sit for a few minutes. Then, grease a bowl and put the dough in it. Flip the dough over so the top is greased, cover it with plastic wrap [NOT foil] and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours; overnight is ideal. 

The next day [or 8 hours later...], you can roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. You can either use a donut cutter, or a 3 inch round cookie cutter... or improvise, like I did, and use a 3 inch drinking glass to cut the donuts, and then a washed Snapple jar to cut the hole. 

Roll out the dough to 1/4" or 1/2" thick, and cut out the donuts and their holes. Put them on a floured cookie sheet. 

[tangent] I had the Donut Man theme song stuck in my head ALL DAY because of this project... "Life without Jesus, is like a donut... like a donut... like a donut... life without Jesus, is like a donut, 'cause there's a hole in the middle of your heart..." [/tangent]


Now you need your donuts to rise. If you have a warm place to put them, go for it. This house is pretty cold, so what I did was turn the oven on to it's lowest temperature, and when I "thought" it was warm enough, I shut it off and put the donuts inside. They need to rise for at least an hour. 

Here's where the pictures finally come into play... yay! 

[here are the donuts rising in my warm oven]

[don't they look awesome? The Pioneer Woman said on her blog that you want them to look light and fluffy, not solid; as though if you breathed on them, they would collapse. I liked her description]

Then you are going to heat up some oil to 375 degrees. Don't use a thermometer like the one I have in my picture... I honestly don't think it was meant to leave in the oil during the heating process, and I think I kind of "fried" it [no pun intended]. 

[only 100 more degrees to go... *Jeopardy theme song plays*]

Stack a bunch of paper towels together on top of a paper bag. You'll be using this right after the donuts come out of the oil. When the oil has evened out and isn't getting any hotter, put in your first donut. It's probably good to just start with one so you can figure out how long it needs to cook. 

 [let it cook for about a minute]

 [turn it over with a slotted spoon]

I used a pancake flipper with slots in it because it was bigger. I found that if I held the donut slightly under the oil when I turned it on the 2nd side, then it didn't get an uncooked 'ring' around the middle of the donut. Take out the donut with tongs, spoon, or weapon of choice and hold it over the oil to let it drip. Put it on your paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over... repeat a few times, so that you can get as much oil off of the donut as you can. 

[now that you've figured out the perfect cooking time, you can do more than one at a time]

[golden perfection]

[after you've cooked all the donuts, you have to cook the donut holes, of course. These obviously won't take as long to cook as the donuts did. And these buggers are hard to "flip" because... well, they are circles. I found that holding them underneath the oil and kind of stirring them, that I was able to evenly cook them. Please don't burn yourself!]

Here is where you make the glaze, after you've finished making/draining your donuts. 

For the glaze, you need:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cold water or milk 
[mix until smooth]

[put the donuts in the glaze, turn them over, and then pick them up to let the extra glaze drizzle off. Put them on a cooling rack, or improvise yet again as I did, on top of a baking sheet to catch the excess glaze]

[they'll always be 'sticky,' but after they've set a little bit, you can put them in a container or on a plate. Wa-la! They are finished. Now go and impress your husband.]

I accidentally doubled the amount of butter needed and had already added them to the eggs before I noticed anything. I didn't want to waste what I had already put together, so I doubled the whole recipe. Although it was considerably an 'easy' process, I really didn't want to have to do two batches of donuts... hence the reason why the other half of the dough is still chilling in the refrigerator. Maybe tomorrow...


Kate said...

You are a cooking machine! I wish I could find time to cook like you! I just have time to make what we need. I'll have to try making these this week once we have flour! Do you think they would frost well? Zach likes chocolate frosted donuts so I was just wondering.

Joe D. said...

Awesome. They look just like the homemade doughnuts my mom used to make! Made me hungry. I'm pretty sure there is room in my house for homemade doughnuts!

Chantel said...

Oh my goodness, I had absolutely and completely forgotten about the donut man. At least I never heard enough of him to even know the song, but I well remember some of the crazy donut scenes. ;)

My Infertile Confessions said...

Those look delish! I thought I would check out your blog since you are following mine... I love it! Congrats on making it to full term! I am nominating you for an award on my blog check it out! :)