Donuts are one of my favorite treats. There isn’t much that beats a fresh, warm glazed donut and a hot cup of coffee in the morning. My children share my love of donuts and they often beg to hit up the local donut shop before school in the mornings. A couple years ago, I began to wonder how hard it would be to make our own donuts at home. I set out to find a good recipe and replicate our favorite donuts. We experimented with a few cookbooks and recipes and finally found a donut recipe that we love.
My children declared this the summer of cooking with mom. Every day one of them has asked to make something with me. They have decided that they want to spend this summer taking turns cooking with me. Most of the time they each want to cook with me one-on-one but occasionally they pick a treat that requires a significant amount of work and they all pitch in to help. This past Wednesday was one of those days. They decided they wanted to make homemade donuts. Donuts aren’t a treat that we make often because they do take several hours to make.
We had absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to be on Wednesday so we all hustled into the kitchen. It took several hours but by the time Daniel got home from work we had two batches of donuts made. We had blast hanging out together all afternoon!
When I started my quest to find a yummy donut recipe for homemade donuts, I purchased several donut cookbooks. My favorite one is Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home. I love this cookbook because the recipes and ingredients are simple. The author, Lara Ferroni, includes recipes for basic glazed donuts as well as more elaborate recipes like strawberry shortcake donuts. There are recipes for both raised donuts and cake donuts as well as a variety of frostings, glazes, and fillings.
To help make your donut endeavors successful, I do recommend these products. They aren’t all necessary, depending on the recipe that you are using, but they are often helpful.
- donut pan – for cake donuts
- donut cutter
- biscuit cutter – if you plan to make filled donuts
- slotted metal spoon
- deep fat thermometer
- wire cooling rack
Basic Glazed Donuts
For the donuts:
- 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the glaze:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Begin by heating the milk to roughly 115 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the yeast into 3/4 cup of the warm milk. Add 3/4 cup of the bread flour and stir to create a paste. Cover and let the mixture rest in a warm spot for roughly 30 minutes.
- Combine the remaining warm milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment on, add the rested flour, milk, and yeast mixture to the mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Remove the paddle attachment and use a dough hook to slowly alternate adding the rest of the bread flour and the unsalted butter until the dough pulls completely away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. The dough should be very soft and moist but not so sticky that it is impossible to roll it out. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour but not more than 12 hours.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator. Line a baking sheet with a lightly floured non-terry dish towel. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 1/2 inch think. Use a donut cutter, to cut out the donuts. If you would like these donuts to be filled, then do not cut the hole out. A biscuit cutter works great for filled donuts.
- Place the donuts on the towel lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Cover them with plastic wrap and allow them to sit in a warm spot to proof until they are double in size. This usually takes about 5 to 20 minutes. To test whether the dough is ready, tough it lightly. If it springs back immediately then the dough needs more time. If it springs back slowly, then the dough is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all then the dough has overproofed. Punch that dough down and roll it out again.
- For the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla with a hand mixer on medium speed. You want a smooth, pourable glaze. If the glaze is too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk.
- While the donuts are proofing, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of vegetable oil until a deep fat thermometer registers 360 degrees. Once the donuts have proofed, use a metal spatula to careful lower the donuts into the hot oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until the dough turns a light golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the donuts from the oil. Place on a wire rack over a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
- After the donuts have cooled slightly, glaze them. You can pour the glaze directly over them if you prefer. I prefer to dip the donut in the glaze so that the glaze only covers about half the donut.
This recipe and techniques are adapted from Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home by Lara Ferroni
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