Homemade doughnuts are a bit of a job, but they're not as difficult as they seem, and the end result is a delicious, hot, crisp doughnut. You can do pretty much everything with glazes, toppings, and fillings once you've mastered this simple recipe for a soft, yeasted doughnut.
Let's get started!
1. 1 ¼ cups of milk.
2. 2 ¼ teaspoons of (one package) active dry yeast.
3. 2 large eggs.
4. 8 tablespoons of (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled.
5. ¼ cup of granulated sugar.
6. 1 teaspoon of salt.
7. 4 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough.
8. 2 quarts of neutral oil, for frying, plus more for the bowl.
1. Heat the milk to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, until it is warm but not hot. Combine it with the yeast in a big mixing bowl. Allow 5 minutes for the mixture to foam up after a light stirring.
2. Beat the eggs, butter, sugar, and salt into the yeast mixture with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix in half of the flour (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) until mixed, then add the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl's edges. If the dough is too wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time. When the dough becomes too thick to beat with an electric mixer, move it to a floured surface and gently knead it until smooth. Using a small amount of oil, grease a big mixing bowl. Cover the dough and place it in the tub. Allow to grow at room temperature for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
3. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use a doughnut cutter, concentric cookie cutters, or a drinking glass and a shot glass (the larger one should be about 3 inches in diameter) to cut out the doughnuts, flouring the cutters as you go. Keep the doughnut holes aside. If you're making filled doughnuts, leave the center uncut. Knead some scraps together, being careful not to overwork them, and set aside to rest for a few minutes before continuing.
4. Arrange the doughnuts on two floured baking sheets with plenty of space between them. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm position to rise for 45 minutes or until slightly puffy and delicate. If your kitchen isn't warm, start by preheating the oven to 200°F, then turn it off, place the baking sheets in the oven, and leave the door ajar.
5. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches 375 degrees, about 15 minutes before the doughnuts are done rising. Line cooling racks, baking sheets, or plates with paper towels in the meantime.
6. Carefully drop a few doughnuts into the hot oil at a time. Use a metal spatula to pick them up and slip them into the oil if they're too delicate to pick up with your fingertips (this may only be the case if you rose them in the oven). It's fine if they deflate a little; they'll puff up again as they cook. Use a slotted spoon to flip when the bottoms are deep golden, about 45 seconds to a minute. Cook until they're deep golden all over. Doughnut holes cook quicker than regular doughnuts. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, adjusting the heat as required to hold the oil at 375 degrees.
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