Fresh as a Daisy Doughnuts


Finished photoDoughnuts have always seemed to be an ethereal food – out of reach of most of us.  But nothing could be further from the truth!  In reality they take about 20 minutes to mix up, after which they rise, unattended and then sit contentedly in the refrigerator overnight. After a quick roll out the next day they are on their way to the last rise before being fried to a golden brown.  Between the two days you have 45 minutes invested for the treat of a lifetime because if you have never had a homemade doughnut, you have not had a real doughnut.

Yeast doughs have an undeserved reputation of being difficult.  I know people who will tackle the most complicated recipe but won’t go near a yeast dough. I’m not sure where that comes from.  Yeast doughs are extremely forgiving.  This recipe is tailored to making yeast dough easy.  The mashed potato flakes give the yeast something to eat for a light, high rise and a longer shelf life.  The honey adds color and flavor to the finished item also adding to their shelf life.

The dough can be shaped after it’s first rise but it is easier to do after chilling overnight or up to 2 or 3 days.  Just make sure it is tightly covered.  It may rise again when refrigerated, just punch it down, cover well and forget about it. These would make an ideal treat on a weekend.  Start them on Friday or Saturday and have them for breakfast on Sunday.

There are several types of yeast.  Little cakes of fresh yeast are very difficult to come by these days and have a short shelf life.  Active Dry yeast and rapid rise both come in envelopes, three to a pack.  I call for active dry yeast in this recipe.  Instant yeast is yet another kind.  However, i am told that instant and active dry can now be used interchangeably.   The flour used is bread flour that has the strength to support a high rise.  All-purpose flour will do in a pinch although bread flour is readily available in most areas and is best for yeast bread.  The dough will rise the first time in about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending upon the temperature of the room.

Once the dough has risen and been shaped it needs to rise a second time.  The second rise is usually about one third less time than the first one.  Once the doughnuts are light and doubled in size, it is time to heat the oil.  Vegetable oil is fine here.

A braising pan that has straight sides and is several inches deep is ideal for deep frying.  Do not use a shallow pan.  The oil should have a depth of about 1/2 inch so the doughnuts float in the oil.  The oil should be heated to 375 degrees on a thermometer.  I usually test a few doughnut holes to make sure the temperature is right.  After that, add just enough doughnuts to comfortably fit in the pan.  Do not crowd them.   Fry until golden brown on both sides.  Remove to a rack lined with paper towels.

For sugar doughnuts, add them to a bowl of granulated sugar while warm.  Turn them over to sugar the second side.  If glazing, wait until they have cooled.  Just follow the recipe and you will indeed have fresh as a daisy doughnuts to enjoy with your family and friends.

Fresh as a Daisy DoughnutsIngredients1 cup milk (can be whole or 2%)
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mashed potato flakes
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package active dry yeast (7 grams or 1/4 ounce_
1/4 cup water (90 to 100 degrees)
3 cups bread flour (454 grams or 1 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Granulated Sugar as needed
Glaze, below

Heat milk to simmering.  Remove from the heat and add the butter; stir until melted. Butter melting Add the honey and potato flakes. honey in

potato flakes inWhisk all together.honey and potato flakes inLet cool to lukewarm.

In the meantime, break the egg into the mixing bowl, add the vanillaeggs and vanilla in bowland whisk to blend completely. eggs and vanilla mixedAdd the milk mixture after cooling.pouring liquid inDissolve the yeast in the water andyeast risenadd it to the liquid in the mixing bowlyeast infitted with a dough hook or a paddle attachment.  Add the flour all at onceAll in mixing bowland mix on medium until it forms a dough;Initial mixingcontinue mixing to knead the dough for 3 more minutes.  The dough should clean the side of the bowl.Dough cleaning side of the bowl

Spray a bowl at least twice the size of the batter with cooking spray.  Place the dough in the bowl and spray the top lightly. shaped in bowl Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and mark the time on it.covered with timeand let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a warm place or until doubled in bulk. risen dough Punch the dough down and reshape into a ball.  At this point the dough can be used immediately or refrigerated up to 2 days before using.  The dough will probably rise again in the refrigerator; punch down, cover the surface tightly with film.  Shape when cold.

Punch the dough down.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  Roll into a 10×10 inch square. flattened to roll out rolled out to cutCut out 9 three inch rounds of dough. cutting doughnutsCut small holes out of the centers.cutting holesPlace on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Re-roll the scraps and cut out 3 more doughnuts and holes.doughnuts and holesCover with a tea towelcovered with a tea toweland allow to rise about 1 hour or until very light.

Pour about 1/2 inch  oil into a straight sided pan or Dutch oven.  Heat to 360 degrees.

In the meantime line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels.  Test a doughnut hole – it should become a golden brown within 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, flip over carefully (I turn them with a narrow meat fork in the hole) and fry the other side.   Place 4 to 5 doughnuts in the pan at once depending upon the size of your pan.frying Do not crowd.  Fry on one side, flip over and fry on the other.frying 2Drain on paper towels.draining on paper towelsIf sugaring doughnuts, place a doughnut in a bowl of sugar.dougnut in sugarTurn over and dredge the other side.sugar 2

Glaze – If you wish to have both the plain and chocolate glaze, make the plain glaze, dip your doughnuts and then add the melted chocolate to the remaining plain glaze.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (190 grams or a 6.6 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons milk (may need more)
1 ounce semisweet chocolate,melted, optional (30 grams)
Sprinkles, optional

Sift the powdered sugar and add the milk; stir until smooth.  Dip a doughnut hole in the glaze and let it sit for several minutes.  If the glaze is too thin, add a bit of powdered sugar.  If too thick add a bit of milk to thin it out. Dip top of doughnut in glaze,dipping 1 let excess drip off,glaze dripping off turn overdipping 3 and place on tray to dry.  If using sprinkles, apply them as soon as the doughnut has been dipped.Adding sprinklesAdd the chocolate if using after you have dipped the plain ones.chocolate in

tray of iced doughnutsSo the reason you don’t see any doughnut holes is I ate them all while frying the doughnuts.  See if you do any better!!!

Yield:  12 doughnuts and holes (if you don’t eat them all first)

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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14 thoughts on “Fresh as a Daisy Doughnuts

  1. Jon

    Nice post! Someone asked if you can freeze them? I haven’t done that either, but I have frozen cake doughnut dough and it worked very well. I think that you could freeze them as long as its before the second rise, so that the dough doesn’t become sour or overworked and fails to rise. I also like to freeze beignets it’s pretty effortless to pull a few doughnuts out of the freezer and fry them!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Thanks Jon: The other alternative to freezing them before frying would be to do it after frying before glazing. I would reheat them briefly in a 350 degree oven to freshen them. If I get the chance I will remake them (Oh darn! I’ll have to eat those doughnut holes again!!!)and try both ways.

      Thanks for the comment. Love beignets. However, having all this stuff round when one person is diabetic (my husband) and I am trying to lose weight is maddening.

  2. Kim

    I made the recipe per your instructions but when I tasted the fried doughnut hole it was lacking something. I think that something is salt. I must have forgotten it and boy does that make a difference! I went to all the work and waiting only to have a lack tasting donut. :( So I just added more sugar to try and make up for it!! :)……..still needs salt!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Oh No!!! What a shame. When I first read the read this I thought I left the salt out of the recipe. That would be huge. But I didn’t. So sorry because this is a base dough that can be used for any sweet yeast dough recipe. This is the same dough used in the Cinnamon Raisin Bread. Hope you try it again.

  3. Catharina Linkenbach

    Hi Helen, as a home beaker with years of experience turning into a professional I really love your approach: it is so common sense but not too relaxed to spoil the result. I will definitely try these donuts but suggest that you keep in mind that you have a European audience, too. Novices might put the yeast in almost boiling water, thus killing it and contributing to the dough’s reputation of being difficult. Fahrenheit or Celsius after the temperature is all that needs to be added to avoid disappointment.
    Keep your fantastic recipes coming!!!
    Happy baking

  4. manisha

    Doughnuts look delicious..I would love to try this recipe but frying is one technique that I have failed to learn. Mom tells me that it is the easiest thing to do… :) if I make them then all the credit will go to you for converting me.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Manisha: The biggest thing to keep in mind is the temperature of the oil. You need to maintain it at 350 degrees so a thermometer is a must. The frying takes a matter of minutes so the temperature is easy to maintain.

  5. Kim

    you are tempting me again with yumminess!! Is a braising pan the same as a “dutch oven” pan? As in a small stock pot? I have a 5 qt, 9inch bottom with 3.5 inch side. Is this what I should use?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Kim: A braising pan is a deep, straight sided frying pan. The sides of mine are about 2 1/2 inches deep. You can see it in the photos of the doughnuts frying. That is a braising pan. A dutch oven can be used but not a stock pot. Any pan that has deep sides and is 9 to 10 inches in diameter can be used. The larger the pan the more oil you will need. Just don’t crowd the doughnuts.

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