Donuts. Is There Anything They Can't Do?
A few weeks ago, my friend Michele and I were talking about recipes and doughnuts came up, like they eventually always do if you're having a conversation with me. :P Ahh yes, I love me my doughnuts. But I won't let myself eat them very often. *sigh* I know how bad they are because of their deliciousness. Anything that tastes that good is definitely a heart attack or stroke disguised in fluffy goodness covered in powdery sugar or chocolate. Or maple. Or bacon. Or cinnamon sugar. Or whipped cream. Or just plain for those days when you're trying to eat healthy. ;)
So we decided that we must make homemade donuts. This past Sunday was D-day. I went with Alton Brown's recipe. I was a little nervous because, yanno, Alton can bring in a lil too much science. But the recipe was straightforward, thank the baby Jebus. The only problems I ran into were bad timing and way too hot oil. The timing thing - you need to heat milk to melt the shortening. Then you have to wait until it cools to lukewarm because you'll be mixing it with the water/yeast mixture. Well the *first* time I did it, I started to heat my milk and immediately poured my yeast into the lukewarm water, not taking into account that after the milk melts the shortening it'll take some time for it to cool off enough to add it to the yeast. Doh!
You wouldn't believe how fakkin long it takes for hot milk to cool the fug down. Jebus. My yeast/water mixture had already bubbled and was sitting on the bottom of my very cold metal Kitchenaid bowl. If you listened closely enough you could hear their itty bitty teeth chattering and their itsy bitsy knees knockin'. :( I was blowin' on the milk.. fanning it with a kitchen towel.. put it in the fridge for 10 minutes.. the bottom of the bowl wouldn't cool off. I mean this stuff was HOT. So finally, we (Hubbs was present) decided to put the damn bowl out in a snow drift. I mean, seriously. It's not like we were trying to cool off GALLONS of milk.. it was just a cup or so for crissakes, but it wouldn't cool down.
And no, this had nothing to do with my desire to be eating warm, fluffy, mouth-wateringly, rings of yumminess. Much. 'kay well maybe it had a lot to do with my impatience over having to wait for the prize, but I tell you - that milk was volcano hot. Outside it went. :P
Okay well what are two people to do while waiting on milk to cool? They get all caught up in Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl VI is what they do. We couldn't peel our eyes away from the cuteness if we tried. OHMYGOD. Chubby puppy bellies! Wagging puppy tails! Floppy puppy ears!!! Much more delicious than any doughnut! And when we finally did remember there was molten hot milk sitting in a snow drift on our back deck, this gal jumped up immediately, tripped over her dog, caught herself before completing a full face plant into the arm of the loveseat and then promptly tripped over the blanket she had been cuddled under while watching oodles of puppies attacking each other and stuffed footballs. That was more exercise than I've had in weeks. GAH.
As you might have guessed, the shortening was no longer liquefied. It sat in greasy lumps in the ICE COLD milk. Mmm hmmm...
Meanwhile.. my yeast had passed on to the great bread bakery in the sky. It was a pitiful scene. No bubbles. Just murky muck sitting on the bottom of the bowl. *sigh*
So I cleaned up my lil yeasty dead soldiers, put the milk back on the burner until the shortening JUST started to melt. Waited 10 minutes and THEN brought yeast and lukewarm water back together again.
After all of that, putting the dough together was a snap. The waiting was the hard part.. at one point I felt like standing in front of the bowl containing the dough ball and screaming "HURRY THE FAKK UP FOR CRISSAKES!! DOUGHNUTS! HUNGRY! NOM NOM NOM!!!"
Once I had them shaped and rising the last time, I heated my oil in a wok. I knew it was kinda hot, but I didn't want a greasy doughnut, so I figured a little hotter than it called for would be a good thing. And it was. Although they came out a little darker than you'd see in a doughnut shop, they weren't burnt or greasy. They were light and fluffy and uber delish. I did a good job of refraining from putting a platter on the table, throwing my hair up into a ponytail, putting my hands behind my back and doing my best impression of a pig feeding in the trough. It was hard though. Delicious homemade doughnuts, still warm and covered in cinnamon sugar.. OH. MY. GOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD.
It's super easy to make doughnuts and home and really the waiting isn't all that bad - 1.5 hours total rise time is all it calls for. You can make several varieties with one batch of dough and depending on size, you can get quite a few doughnuts. The only way I can describe the size of mine is they were the size of doughnuts you buy prepackaged in a grocery store.. like from Pepperidge Farms if anyone is familiar. I didn't have a doughnut cutter, nor even a round cutter. So I used a wine glass and to cut the middles out, I used the cap of a 2 liter bottle of soda. HAR! Worked like a charm! :) I used the scraps to make twists. We were going to fill some of them, but that didn't happen for whatever reason. I know these doughnuts freeze well too. Course I wouldn't know that from this experience. I packaged them in freezer bags and left on the counter overnight because it was too dark for photos after they came out of the oil. And after I took photos the next day, I put them back into the bags and then something else caught my attention.. Oh look! A chicken! That night they were pretty much stale. So eat 'em quick or freeze 'em soon!
Go check out Michele's doughnuts! She filled hers with yummy stuff! :)