Man, I don’t know what it was this week but I am tired. But you guys, FRIDAY IS UPON US. Which means it’s time to start planning weekend decadence.
We make baked donuts all the time, but we don’t often make yeasted, frying ones. Which might be about to change, after we gave Alton Brown’s recipe a go.
I don’t know about you guys, but the term “deep frying” always makes me a little nervous. First of all, it sounds like you need one of those enormous, expensive countertop machines. Second of all, it sounds dangerous. So we don’t do it that often. But you know what? We’ve practiced a couple of times making homemade chips, and we tried it for this delicious donut recipe. And yes, we did make the round part of the donuts too, but they weren’t as pretty as the donut holes
The first thing that’s important to learn about it is when they say “deep frying,” “deep” is a relative term. It’s relative to the amount of oil you put in a skillet. All you need to fry something small is a pot with tall sides, a thermometer and a couple of inches of oil. A slotted spoon, spider or pair of tongs is a really good idea, too. There’s no need for fancy oil here, in fact, it’s best to use plain old vegetable oil since it has a high smoke point. You can also use peanut or sunflower oil, but they will be a little more expensive.
And you know what? It’s not that tough to do. Keep the temperature stable. Have a safe landing place for post-oil confections to land. I recommend reading this guide to frying from Lifehacker before getting started.
Here’s what you need:
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup milk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 3/4 cups AP flour, more for countertop
Vegetable oil, for frying
Put warm water, pinch of sugar and yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer and stir gently. Allow to stand for ten minutes.
Next, whisk the sugar, milk, eggs, melted butter, lemon zest, salt and vanilla extract together, then whisk into the yeast mixture in the bowl of the mixer. With the dough hook attachment, start mixing on medium-low speed and slowly add in the flour. Mix until the dough comes together on the hook. Then remove from the bowl, give it a quick spray with nonstick cooking spray and replace the dough. Cover and allow to rise for 60-90 minutes.
Next, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about a half inch. Cut out donuts and holes, and arrange on a baking sheet greased with a little nonstick spray. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
In a heavy pot, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 340 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to temperature (and not before), lower 1-2 donuts into the pot using a slotted spoon or spider. The donuts should not touch each other while in the pan, so keep that in mind when you decide how many to cook at a time.
Fry until each side is golden brown, 1:30-2 minutes each for donuts and 1 minute each for donut holes. Then remove the donuts to a heat safe landing area lined with paper towels (suggested: wire rack over paper towel-lined cookie sheet). Each time you remove a batch of donuts from the pot, wait for the oil to come back up to temperature before starting again. Allow to cool before eating or glazing.
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2-4 Tbsp. milk
In a bowl wide enough to dip donuts in, mix the powdered sugar and cocoa together. Add 1 Tbsp. milk to start, and combine completely before adding more. You’ll be surprised how much powdered sugar the milk can absorb. Add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time after that, thinning out to your desired consistency. Dip the donuts in the glaze when they are most of the way cool. PS, this is Alton Brown’s recipe. It is perfect just the way it is.