I think we have a winner! I made these donuts and Delta Cream Donuts, which were supposed to resemble Krispy Kreme’s. Lara Ferroni’s donuts used bread flour, which I thought was really interesting. It made the donut very fluffy and soft. They rose beautifully and were so easy to roll out. These were the first donuts that I could pick up easily and put in the oil without mis-shaping them or making finger marks. They puff up so much in the oil I was afraid they would explode! The donut holes turned into perfect spheres, which I loved. I couldn’t decide whether to use butter or shortening, so I used both. I remembered really liking Pioneer Woman’s glaze for the donuts, but I didn’t like it today. It tasted really sweet and powdered-sugary. Then I added a little water and it was much better. I also added some honey in part of the glaze as well. Not bad! Instead of Alton’s chocolate donut glaze, I made a simple chocolate ganache. Both worked well, as long as I use milk chocolate. The glaze was a little better but it’s also more work.
I found some more great tips from a blogger who made these donuts with Lara herself. I didn’t use the extra recipe on the page because I found a variation that didn’t use as much yeast.
The Delta Cream Donuts were good as well, but were denser because you roll them out thinner and they just plain don’t rise as much. The taste is there, and the texture is good, but they were overshadowed by the other donuts.
Makes 8 to 14 doughnuts (mine made 9, but my donut cutters are like 3 1/2″)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, divided
1 cup whole milk, heated to 110˚F, divided
2 to 21/2 cups (320 to 400 grams) bread flour, divided
2 tablespoons (30 grams) superfine sugar (Food processor? I didn’t bother)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, softened
Vegetable oil for frying
In a medium bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon of the yeast into 3/4 cup of the milk. Add 3/4 cup of the flour and stir to create a smooth paste. Cover and let rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Combine the remaining milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the rested flour mixture along with the vanilla and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add 1 cup of the remaining flour and top with the sugar and salt. Mix on low for about 30 seconds or until the dough starts to come together. Add the butter and mix until it becomes incorporated, about 30 seconds. Switch to a dough hook and add more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time with the mixer turned off, kneading the dough at medium speed between additions, until the dough pulls completely away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. It will be very soft and moist, but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out. You may have flour left over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. Gently degass the dough, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 12 hours).
Line a baking sheet with a lightly floured non-terry dish towel. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or cookie cutter, cut out 3-inch-diameter rounds with 1-inch-diameter holes (for filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the holes).
Place the doughnuts on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm spot to proof until they almost double in size, about 30 to 40 minutes, testing at five-minute intervals. To test whether the dough is ready, touch lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it has overproofed; you can punch it down and reroll it once.
While the doughnuts are proofing, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360˚F. With a metal spatula, carefully place the doughnuts in the oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing.
Delta Cream Doughnuts
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening or lard
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Optional: pinch of nutmeg or cardamom
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Pour the water warm into a small bowl, and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it sit for 3 minutes. Stir it with a work, and set it aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, shortening, sugar and salt over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and pour it into the bowl of an electric mixer. Let it cool until it’s as warm as a baby bottle.
3. When the mixture has cooled, add 1 cup of flour, and beat well. With the mixer on low, add the softened yeast, the eggs and the nutmeg or cardamom (if using). Add enough of the remaining 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour to form a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Mix well.
4. Grab a bowl large enough to hold the dough, and oil it well. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and flip the dough to grease it all over. Cover and chill for 3 hours over overnight.
5. After the dough has chilled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface or Silpat®, and pat or roll the dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut it with a floured doughnut cutter or make 3-inch squares with a pizza cutter. (You could also use a biscuit cutter and cut the holes in each doughnut with the large end of a cake decorating tip.)
6. Place the doughnuts on a lightly floured baking pan. Let them rise for at least 30 to 40 minutes, or until very light and more than doubled in size.
7. While the dough is rising, you can make the glaze. Grab a medium bowl, and whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, water and vanilla. Set aside.
8. Using a deep heavy-bottomed pot, a deep-fryer, or an electric skillet, heat at least 2 inches of oil to 365 degrees F. (This is a somewhat slow process, but if you’re using a deep pot, don’t just set the temperature to high and walk away. If the oil gets too hot, it will take a long time to cool and could shatter your thermometer. Start at medium, and gradually increase the heat.)
9. While the oil is warming, line a baking sheet with paper towels, and set a cooling rack on top of the sheet to drain the doughnuts after they come out of the fryer.
10. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden dowel, gently lift the doughnuts, and place a few at a time into the hot oil. Fry until light brown, turning once. Lift each doughnut out of the oil, and allow it to drain over the pot for a few seconds and then drain on the cooling rack. While the doughnuts are still warm (but cool enough to handle), dip them into the glaze and place them back on the rack to set.