Did you know that it has been almost a year now since I sent in my final Doughnuts manuscript? Plenty of time to make more doughnuts and learn a few more things. One thing I learned during my dive into doughnuts is if you ask who makes the best doughnut in town to 10 different people, you'll probably get 10 different answers.
For example, some folks don't like a strong yeast flavor in their raised doughnut. Just one look at my yeast raised dough, the first one in the book, you'll see that I'm not one of those people. I like the dough to have some flavor to it; I enjoy a little yeasty kick at the end (not to mention the insane lightness and softness it gives to the dough). And apparently, so do my recipe testers and neighbors. But, after a local taste test against the top doughnut shops in Seattle last June, I was inspired to give my raised dough recipe a little tweaking to see if I could get doughnut shop results with a less yeasty finish.
As it turns out, the variation is insanely simple: use less yeast and wait longer. In fact, I've tried it with 1/2 the yeast called for in the original recipe (and twice the proofing time), and gotten nice, light, well-proofed doughnuts without the yeasty finish.
to proofed in 37 minutes!
So, if you are one of those folks who prefer a less yeasty dough, give this one a shot. You can apply this same change to the chocolate raised and vegan raised doughs too.
Of course, it was far, far too late to add this variation to the printed book. Thank goodness for the blog!
Makes 8 to 14 doughnuts
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, divided
1 cup whole milk, heated to 110˚F, divided
2 to 21/2 cups (320 to 400 grams) bread flour, divided
2 tablespoons (30 grams) superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening
Vegetable oil for frying
In a medium bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon of the yeast into 3/4 cup of the milk. Add 3/4 cup of the flour and stir to create a smooth paste. Cover and let rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Combine the remaining milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the rested flour mixture along with the vanilla and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add 1 cup of the remaining flour and top with the sugar and salt. Mix on low for about 30 seconds or until the dough starts to come together. Add the butter and mix until it becomes incorporated, about 30 seconds. Switch to a dough hook and add more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time with the mixer turned off, kneading the dough at medium speed between additions, until the dough pulls completely away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. It will be very soft and moist, but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out. You may have flour left over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. Gently degass the dough, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 12 hours).
Line a baking sheet with a lightly floured non-terry dish towel. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or cookie cutter, cut out 3-inch-diameter rounds with 1-inch-diameter holes (for filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the holes).
Place the doughnuts on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm spot to proof until they almost double in size, about 30 to 40 minutes, testing at five-minute intervals. To test whether the dough is ready, touch lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it has overproofed; you can punch it down and reroll it once.
While the doughnuts are proofing, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360˚F. With a metal spatula, carefully place the doughnuts in the oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing.