I have so many family traditions revolving around food that I’m so happy to finally have a beloved tradition from Mike’s family to share with you. His dad used to make donuts for the family and apparently they were really delicious. Unfortunately, he never did write down the recipe. Usually it’s my family that neglects to document recipes! In an effort to recreate the tradition, Mike improvised and used a recipe from Epicurious for Classic Glazed Donuts. We omitted the glaze and opted for the same cinnamon and sugar mixture Mike’s dad used. The results were fantastic! We ended up with sweet, fluffy donuts that melted in our mouths still warm from frying. I think his dad would have approved.
- 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup whole milk, heated
- 2 to 2 1/2 bread flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and cut in cubes
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Cinnamon and sugar, enough to cover donuts
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the yeast with 3/4 cup of the warm milk and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add 3/4 cup of the flour and stir to create a smooth paste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the flour mixture rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Once 30 minutes have passed, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon yeast with the remaining 1/4 cup milk (the milk will be room temperature at this point). Add the rested flour mixture along with the vanilla and egg yolks and mix on low until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 30 seconds. Turn off the mixer and add 1 cup of flour, along with the sugar and salt. Mix on medium until the dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and mix on medium until it’s incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Remove the paddle attachment from the mixer, and switch to the dough hook. Start adding the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, turning the mixer off for each addition and knead the dough on medium until it completely pulls away from the side of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky, about 1 minute. The dough will be very soft and moist but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out. For this step, you may only need to use as little as 1/4 cup flour, so there may be flour left over.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes have passed, gently press down on the dough to remove any gas bubbles then chill, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours (we only waited 1 hour).
- When ready to roll out the dough, line a baking sheet with a lightly floured non-terry towel (we didn’t do this, instead just floured the baking sheet). Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using doughnut or cookie cutters, cut out 3-inch-diameter rounds with 1-inch-diameter holes (we used a cocktail glass to shape the donut and a shot glass to cut out the hole). For filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the holes (we did not make filled donuts).
- Arrange the donuts on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between donuts (oops, didn’t quite adhere to that and it was fine). Cover the donuts loosely with plastic wrap and let them proof in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. Check to see if the donuts are ready every 5 to 10 minutes. To test, use a fingertip to lightly touch one of the donuts. If the dough springs back immediately, it needs more time; if it springs back slowly, it’s ready; and if the dough doesn’t spring back at all, it’s over-proofed. You can punch down and re-roll over-proofed dough once.
- While the donuts are proofing, line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels and place a wire rack on top of the towels. In a heavy-bottomed large pot or deep fryer, heat at least 2 inches of oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360°F. Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spatula to carefully place the donuts in the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer as done to the wire rack and return the oil to 360°F between batches. Let the donuts cool slightly before glazing with the Basic Sugar Glaze or Chocolate Glaze (We sprinkled the donuts with a cinnamon and sugar mixture).
- Fill a shallow dish with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and also set up a wire cooling rack. After frying a donut, set it on the wire rack to cool. Once cool enough to touch, place donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture and either flip donut to other side or sprinkle the mixture on the top of the donut (we did a little of both).