Doughnuts protect themselves from ravenous amateur bakers with intimidating defenses of yeast and scalding oil. I would not have had the courage to make my first doughnuts without Caitlin and Nina, two of my volunteer cooks at summer camp who tackled the kitchen with the same furry that they brought to the rugby field. We three decided to make a fluffy, fried midnight snack and girded ourselves for the challenge. In an hour we filled two twelve-foot islands with trays of rainbow, chocolate, and cinnamon bedazzled donuts.
Today I completed my second batch of doughnuts with confidence. I made yeast, pistachio-cake, and masa doughs with toppings of cinnamon sugar, chocolate ganache and traditional glaze. Donuts beware, your defenses are useless.
Creates about a dozen, depending on size. Recipe adapted from CIA’s Baking and Pastry.
1 1/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup pastry flour
1 package (1 teaspoon) dry yeast
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 ounces shortening
-Stir first three ingredients together. Beat in all ingredients except shortening for 2 minutes on medium. Add shortening and mix together for 8 minutes on medium, then 3 minutes on high. While a standing mixer would make life much easier, I beat my dough by hand. My right bicep is slightly larger today.
– Put the dough in a greased bowl covered loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it’s twice its original size. Punch it down (my favorite part), and let it rise again. I kept my dough in the refrigerator overnight for a longer, slower second rise so I could have doughnuts as soon as could heat the oil.
-Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Use ring cutters to form your doughnuts. Fill a 4-quart pan 2 inches deep with oil and bring the temperature to 360°. Gently lower dough rings into oil and fry for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Place cooked doughnuts on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
-Dip doughnuts in prepared toppings of choice: 6 ounces of chocolate melted with 1/2 cup of cream; half-cinnamon-half-sugar; a cup of powdered sugar with a tablespoon of melted butter and just enough milk to make it soupy…