The recipe I used came from one of my favorite blogs, Joy the Baker. Although I'm still a little intimidated by baking with yeast, Joy made it sound so easy, and my first yeast-raised product turned out perfectly, so I knew I had to give it a try!
Here's what happened:
First, I mixed all the ingredients for the dough in my stand mixer. The yeast even got foamy like it was supposed to! So far, so good. At this point I was supposed to cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place, or in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. I decided to let it rise in the refrigerator overnight so that I could have the doughnuts for breakfast in the morning!
This is what the dough looked like when I took it out of the refrigerator approximately 10 hours later. In this picture, it doesn't appear to have risen at all. In real life, it didn't appear to have risen at all. This is when I started to get nervous.
I decided to continue. I turned the dough out onto a floured surface. It was very sticky. Is this normal? I don't know.
Next, I rolled the dough into a 12-inch circle and used my brand new doughnut cutter to cut out my soon-to-be doughnuts. This recipe was supposed to make a dozen 3-inch doughnuts, but as you can see, I got eight 4-inch doughnuts. Fine by me!
I continued to doubt myself and wondered if this was even going to work. I kept wondering what I could have done wrong to cause the dough not to rise even a little. Is my refrigerator too cold? Let's check!
Hmm. Apparently, I keep my refrigerator at the coldest setting possible. How environmentally-friendly of me. Still, I pressed on.
I let the doughnuts rise for another 45 minutes, as instructed. In the meantime, I made three different glazes: vanilla, maple, and chocolate. Yes.
Now I just had to wait for my oil to reach 350˚F. This took quite awhile and was complicated by the fact that the only thermometer I own is a meat thermometer that only goes up to 220˚F. It is situations like this that make me wonder what people did before there was Google. After determining that my oil was hot enough, I tested out a couple of doughnut holes just to be sure. Perfect. Now it was time to get frying!
Wow! They actually look like doughnuts! I think they were probably supposed to puff up a little bit more, but who cares?!
This is how they looked before I frosted them. They didn't stay this way for long.
Happy breakfast to me! They were absolutely delicious. I have no idea if they turned out how they were supposed to or not, but at this point it really doesn't matter. Victory is sweet.
Yield: 12 doughnuts
1 package active dry yeast (2-1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm water (105-115˚F)
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
1. Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
2. Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.
3. Scrape dough down sides of bowl into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.)
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with a 3-inch cutter, then cut a hole in center of each round with a 1-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps.
5. Heat 2-1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350˚F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, two at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about two minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350˚F between batches.)
Gourmet, December 2006 [via Joy the Baker]