Doughnuts

Doughnuts

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Makes
10
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

Growing up, my Gran would take me to the amusement arcade, where I would watch the doughnuts coming out of the fryer into the cinnamon sugar, and eat them warm. I have always preferred filled doughnuts, however – they are a great way to play with new flavours and textures.

This is the most talked about item at our bakery, and the recipe I get asked for the most. Our doughnuts definitely got us through the early days as Melbourne entered something of a doughnut renaissance.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
190g bakers flour
25g caster (superfine) sugar
2g salt
zest of 1 lemon
8g fresh yeast
40g water
10g lemon oil
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
45g butter, diced and soft
1 litre vegetable oil, such as rice bran oil or cotton seed oil, for deep frying

Cinnamon sugar

Quantity Ingredient
125g caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside. Combine the yeast, half the water, oil and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed to make a smooth dough.
  2. Add the softened butter slowly while continuing to mix. Mix for 5 minutes, until the butter is fully incorporated. The dough should come away from the bowl and form a ball that is smooth, shiny and slightly sticky. Use the windowpane test to check the dough – take a small ball of dough and gently stretch it between your hands. You should be able to stretch it very thin without it breaking. If you find that it breaks easily, continue mixing for a few more minutes to work the gluten in the flour, then test it again. Leave the dough to rest in the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, for 1 hour.
  3. After an hour, knock back the dough and fold it by lifting one side up and over the other. Do this five or six times to develop strength in the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container, then cover with a damp tea towel and refrigerate overnight to develop a complex, yeasty flavour.
  4. Line two trays with baking paper, and spray the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and cut it into ten equal pieces. With each piece, gently flatten the dough and bring the edges together in the middle to form a rough ball, then turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Cup your hand over the dough and use firm pressure to roll it on the bench until it forms a nice tight round ball with a smooth, even surface. Cover the doughnuts again with the damp tea towel, and leave them to rest for 15–20 minutes.
  5. Take each doughnut and knock it flat, then fold the edges into the middle and turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Using firm pressure, roll it in your hand on the bench again. Putting pressure on the doughnut strengthens the dough so it will rise well. Place the doughnuts on the lined trays, evenly spaced to allow for the eventual rise. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2–3 hours, or until risen by half. Test the doughnut by gently pressing the surface. If this leaves a dent, they’re ready to fry, but if the dough springs back it still needs more time.
  6. Heat the oil for deep frying to 180°C (360°F) in a large, heavy based saucepan or deep fryer. The temperature is important. If it’s too hot, the doughnuts will burn and be raw inside, but if it’s not hot enough the doughnuts will stew in the oil and become soggy and greasy. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, for about a minute on each side, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to turn them and remove them from the oil, onto a plate lined with paper towel. Set them aside to cool, then dust them in cinnamon sugar and cut a slit in the side, ready for filling.

Filling: Vanilla Custard

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g full-cream (whole) milk
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
6 egg yolks
60g caster (superfine) sugar
40g plain (all-purpose) flour

Method

  1. Combine the milk and vanilla (seeds and pod) in a heavy based saucepan, and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Remove the vanilla pod.
  2. While the milk comes to a simmer, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized bowl, until slightly pale. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you go to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  4. Return the custard to the saucepan and cook over a low heat for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Alternate between using a whisk and a spatula, as described above. The custard will become thick, and just start to bubble. As soon as this happens, remove it from the heat and strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin forming, then refrigerate the custard to cool it completely. This custard will keep for 3–5 days in the fridge.

Filling: Salted Caramel

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
395g tin condensed milk
40g see method for ingredients
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste

Method

  1. Place the still sealed tin of condensed milk in a large saucepan and cover well with water. Bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 hours, carefully flipping the tin over halfway through cooking. Top up with more water as required, ensuring that the tin is always fully submerged. You will end up with a thick, oozing, sweet reduction.

    Leave to cool completely in the fridge, then open the tin and scoop the reduction into a medium sized bowl. Add the custard and season to taste with sea salt. Be careful not to overmix it once you’ve added the custard, otherwise it will become quite runny and is difficult to rescue.

Filling: Lemon Curd

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
95g caster (superfine) sugar
4 egg yolks
15g cornflour (cornstarch)
90g lemon juice
95g butter, soft and diced

Method

  1. In a large metal mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks, then whisk in the cornflour, followed by the lemon juice. Place the bowl over a saucepan half-filled with water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Place the saucepan over a low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring regularly until the mixture reaches 80°C (180°F) on a sugar thermometer, and becomes very thick. You don’t want the mixture to boil, just to stay warm so it thickens and all the ingredients are cooked.

    Once you have a thick consistency, take the curd off the heat. Gradually add the cubes of softened butter and whisk to emulsify. Cool in the fridge for 2–3 hours before using.

Filling: Chocolate Custard

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
55g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 quantity see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Place the chocolate in a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a pan half-filled with water over medium heat (ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water), and stir the chocolate until it is completely melted, then fold it into the custard (preferably when still warm). Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Bakery notes

  • You need to use strong flour for this dough, with a high protein content, so it can hold the structure when frying. If lemon oil is not available, feel free to use a good extra virgin olive oil.

    Make the dough the day before you fry the doughnuts. This allows the yeasty flavour to develop, and achieves a strong dough that is easier to handle.

    If you can't get fresh yeast, you can substitute with dried yeast, but just remember that fresh yeast is heavier than dried yeast. One teaspoon of fresh yeast is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried yeast, but 10 g (1/4 oz) of fresh yeast is equivalent to 5 g (1/4 oz) dried yeast.
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