(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.)
Finally, a Daring Baker challenge that I was really excited about! This just looked fun, I love doughnuts, and I’ve never made them before. There were a few different recipes to choose from, but I picked the Good Eats yeast doughnut recipe, because Good Eats recipes rarely go wrong.
They started with a simple-but-sticky yeast dough – bloom the yeast, mix it with warmed milk and melted shortening, add a couple of eggs, and then the flour and just a bit of nutmeg. I mostly followed the recipe as written, except I don’t keep packets of yeast around – instead, I have a bowl of the super-strong yeast for sourdough in the fridge. And instead of rising it in my big dough-rising-bowl, I followed a suggestion from the King Arthur flour blog, which says that the best place to rise dough is in a big glass measuring cup, because it makes it easier to see when it’s doubled.
The combination of the too-small rising bowl and very enthusiastic yeast caused the dough to attempt an escape:
Luckily, it was spotted in time, and I did not have to spend an hour cleaning sticky yeast dough off my stovetop.
After the first rise, it got rolled out and cut into doughnut shapes. I did some in the traditional hole-in-the-middle shapes, and a few smaller ones I cut out with a biscuit cutter to fill with jam. They got laid out onto baking sheets to rise again:
I tried deep-frying them in a big cast-iron wok instead of using a Dutch oven. The internet says the increased surface area of the oil makes it less likely to bubble up and all over the stove. Plus, I only needed 3 inches of oil, so it seemed like a waste to fill my entire Dutch oven.
That worked out great. I had some issues with my clip-on thermometer, so I ended up using my Thermapen. It couldn’t be left in the pot, so I just had to check the temperature every batch. I was conservative, and only put in a few for the first batch:
After a minute, they got flipped:
And then after one more minute, they came out to cool:
I made a quick ganache to put on top, and added some sprinkles:
The next batch got cinnamon and sugar:
Then some glazed:
And finally the filled ones:
The scraps and doughnut holes went in last, and they just got tossed in the cinnamon-sugar. The final tally:
They were amazing. The insides were light and fluffy, and they didn’t come out at all greasy. The cinnamon-sugar ones were my favorites, but the rest were good too. They made an excellent, if not particularly nutritious, Saturday night dinner.
I’d do them again, hopefully with more people around to eat them next time!