You could say that I have an affinity for puns using the word "dough". Not sure why, but you might come to that conclusion. For this reason, I am both ashamed and thrilled to disclose that this was my first time making real live donuts. At long last, I finally have an excuse to throw in at least five different uses of dough-related puns in this post (but for your sake I'll try not to dough that).
Anyone who's followed my baking blunders will know that yeast and I haven't been on speaking terms for a while. Basically, I hate yeast because I am bad at making it do its job, and really good at killing it before it has a chance to turn my bread into actual bread. Our interactions almost always end in some unsuspecting food item going straight from oven to trash. So you can imagine my shock when I came back to check on this batch of dough and saw that it had risen to more than double it's original size, just like my wildest dreams.
"Yes.....YES!!!!" I laughed, I danced, I made it rain all-purpose flour. My mother asked what was wrong, to which I responded, "THE YEAST HAS BEEN PROPERLY ACTIVATED!!!" to which she gave a subtle head nod and returned to her game of Candy Crush (yes, my mother still plays Candy Crush and is apparently quite skilled at it.)
A disclaimer: yeast is not that difficult to figure out....at all. Actually, it's embarrassingly easy and I'm just incompetent, so don't worry if you're thinking about trying out this recipe. Also, this entire process from start to finish takes about four hours, but before you abandon ship I will tell you that it is WORTH IT.
After letting the dough rise, all you need to do is roll it out, punch out circles (or lopsided elliptical shapes in my case), let them rest a bit, and toss them into the deep fryer. When they emerge from the oil, they will be piping hot and perfectly doughy. You will pull one apart and watch the steam waft gently into the air, and then you will take a bite and cry because it tastes better than Krispy Kreme and also because you probably burned your tongue. Most importantly, you will dip them in this super simple frosting that will transform your donuts into Something Magical.
I ended up trying three different finishes on my first batch. I'll share the rest soon, but for now here's my take on galaxy donuts, inspired by @h.rebel!
Fluffy Yeasted Donuts
(adapted from here <-- great step-by-step photos if you're a first-time donut maker)
makes 2 dozen + a million donut holes
For the dough:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 packets active dry yeast
7 cups bread flour (or a 2 lb bag)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
Lots of oil for frying (peanut or canola oil are good options for deep frying)
For the vanilla frosting:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3-5 cups confectioners sugar
2-5 Tablespoons milk (add more as needed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
edible glitter (optional)
Deep fryer OR large pot and a candy thermometer
Stand mixer for kneading the dough (you can easily do this by hand as well)
Donut cutter (I just used a 3" circle cookie cutter and the bottom of an icing tip to punch out the middle)
Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until just melted. Whisk in the vegetable oil, milk, and eggs. Once the temperature reaches 110 degrees F, transfer to a stand mixer bowl or other large bowl. Be careful not to let the mixture heat up past 110 degrees, or you could kill the yeast.
Add in both packets of yeast, whisk well, and let it sit for 10 minutes while you work on the next step.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk together. After the yeast mixture has rested 10 minutes, you should start to see foamy bubbles forming along the surface. That means your yeast is working! Slowly add in the flour mixture and combine in the stand mixer until completely incorporated. If you're using a mixer, you'll want to use the dough hook. If not, kneading with your hands works just fine.
If using a mixer, set to medium-high and let it run for 10-20 minutes. If kneading with your hands, it may take a little longer than 20 minutes. One sign that the dough is ready is when it pulls away easily from the sides of the bowl.
Lightly flour your work surface and spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with nonstick spray. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and place inside the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour (inside a microwave or oven that's turned off works fine. In the summer you could even leave it out on the countertop).
After 1 hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Unwrap the bowl, sprinkle with flour, and punch it down with your fist. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.
Punch out 3" circles using a donut or cookie cutter, dipping the bottom in flour before each cut. Use a smaller cookie cutter or icing tip to punch out the centers, which can be fried into donut holes.
Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Transfer the donuts to the baking sheets, lightly spray the tops of the donuts with nonstick spray, and cover gently with plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap doesn't stick to the donuts. Let the dough rest for another 30-60 minutes on your counter, until they've roughly doubled in size again.
Now is a good time to prepare the glaze! Whisk together all ingredients, adding more milk or sugar depending on the desired consistency. Take a damp paper towel and place on the surface of the mixture so it doesn't dry out while you fry the donuts.
In a deep fryer or large pot over medium heat, heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Your candy thermometer will come in handy for monitoring the temperature. If using a pot, you'll want around 2 inches of oil. To test if the oil is hot enough, toss in a donut hole. It should sizzle and rise to the surface. If it turns dark quickly, the oil is too hot and is a sign that your donuts will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. If the oil isn't hot enough, your donuts will retain more grease when cooled. They should be light brown on both sides with a lighter stripe around the middle.
Once the oil is ready, start with one donut until you get the hang of it. Lower it into the oil and wait 30-45 seconds. Use a spider strainer to check the color of the underside. When it turns golden brown, flip and repeat. Remove from oil and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to soak up the grease. Keep monitoring the temperature while you fry. Once you start adding more donuts, the temperature will lower and you'll need to adjust the heat accordingly.
Let the donuts cool for 15 minutes before frosting. Stir frosting until smooth, and dip donuts in the mixture. For the galaxy pattern, pour some of the frosting into a small bowl. Add drops of food coloring and use a toothpick to create a marbled pattern. Dip donuts, twist slightly, and lift. Dust with edible glitter.
Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two, but why would you do that when you can eat them HOT AND FRESH OUT THE KITCHEN!!!