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Triumph by proxy

I would like to take a moment to praise M and his ability to manifest culinary visions. By which I mean doughnuts. M speaks fondly of memories of watching the doughnut-making machine in the shopping centre, popping rings of fresh(ish) dough into the hot oil, and then conveyer-belting them to completion, where they shimmied down into a bowl of cinnamon sugar and were presented to the waiting customer. While we were up the coast a wee while ago, we found a cafe with one of these machines! It was cold; the doughnuts were hot and it was kismet.

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Yep. That’s M’s latest doughnut fiesta right there. Triumphant, no? I would encourage you to click on any or all of these pictures by the way, for the embiggification of the glory.

Those doughnuts were a reawakening. There has been a renewed interest in the home creation of doughnuts. We’ve tried a couple of times, but they’ve been either overcooked (allllll the oil) or undercooked (gluggy gluey dough does not a tasty breakfast make). So this time we Did Research (a euphemism for “We watched an Alton Brown video”). Then lifted Alton’s recipe in its entirety (via the FoodNetwork site).

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Here’s a picture of the soft, sweet dough: it’s a high hydration dough, with sugar, milk, eggs and nutmeg all worked into it. After an hour of rising, you roll it out and cut out your doughnuts. The two biggest differences compared to previous attempts: using a yeasted dough and measuring the temperature of the oil. Yeasted dough is slower than leavening-agent dough (duh), which was somewhat in conflict with the previous approach of OH MY GOD I WANT DOUGHNUTS RIGHT NOW LET’S MAKE DOUGHNUTS RIGHT NOW. But yeasted doughnuts are amazing, friends. You want doughnuts? You want yeasted doughnuts. Trust me. I know you better than you know yourself.

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M did the heavy lifting: I recorded details for posterity.

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A small but noteworthy difference from previous attempts: cutting out the doughnuts instead of taking snakes of dough and turning them into rings. Much easier this way.

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Let the rings rise! Half an hour. Meanwhile, get your oil heating. Where previously we heated oil in the wok, so as to use less, this time we splurged on a lot more oil and heated it up in the Dutch oven: the big glazed cast-iron pot. And this time, we measured the temperature! Genius!

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Boil them for one minute each side, then flip and boil for another minute. Then drain over paper towel…and dust with cinnamon sugar.

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DEVOUR. OH MY GOD.

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YES CINNAMON YES SUGAR OH MY GOD.

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Dudes, these were completely amazing. Fluffy and light, crispy on the outside, and the flavour was just — oh — no words — wait — yum, that’s a word. They’re amazing. They’re the perfect doughnut.

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M made a lot. A lot. I’m so happy. We had a lot last night. We had more this morning. We will have more later tonight.If you find yourself with a glass and can’t think of a toast, you’d do worse than drink to M’s culinary skills.

Here’s Alton’s recipe, copied from the Food Network site (my metric conversion):

DOUGHNUTS DOUGHNUTS CAN’T SAY NONUTS

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 70 grams vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup (M used butter)
  • 2 packages instant yeast (about 3 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 650 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (a couple of litres, depending on fryer)
  • Mixed ground cinnamon and sugar for dusting

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. 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. 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, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. 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. 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 thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch 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 180 degrees C. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Roll in cinnamon/sugar while still hot! (Otherwise it doesn’t stick.)

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Alex | June 24, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Looks amazing! But what kind of metric conversion did you do to come up with “23 ounces”?

  2. bethini | June 24, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    THE BEST KIND. Well done spotting my, uh, deliberate mistake! Aha! Glad to see you were paying attention!

  3. alpineparrot | June 30, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    OMG I want donuts…. yum, they look incredible! I also have fond memories of those donut caravans. But your donuts look an order of magnitude better! Was the donut shop at the coast in Berry by any chance?

  4. bethini | June 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Huskisson, actually! Just outside Jervis Bay. And they were incredibly incredible, there’s no denying it.

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