Wednesday, October 27, 2010

daring bakers: donuts

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Because I think that raised donuts are really only good straight from the fryer, I opted to make the old-fashioned buttermilk cake donuts, so that I could enjoy some later, as well.

I enjoyed this challenge. It was simple and straightforward but a lot of fun. I liked the recipe well enough, but I probably won't use it again. I prefer my donuts a little sweeter, a little more tender and crumbly. (Because the recipe includes sour cream, I mistakenly expected the donuts to be more like typical sour cream donuts than cake donuts. Oops.) I loved how perfectly crisp the outsides of the donuts were, even after cooling off. Thanks for a great challenge, Lori. I'll definitely be making donuts again.

old-fashioned buttermilk cake donuts

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Cooking time - 12 minutes

Yield: About 15 doughnuts & 15 doughnut holes, depending on size

.25 C sour cream
3.25 C flour, plus more for dusting surface
.75 C sugar
.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher (flaked) salt (or .5 tsp table salt)
1.5 tsp nutmeg
1.125 tsp active dry yeast
.75 C + 2 TB buttermilk
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 TB vanilla

sugar for dusting
neutral-flavored oil for cooking


1. In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.

2. Heat the oil to 375°F.

3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.

4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.

5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.

6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side.

7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain. Roll donuts in sugar and serve.