When it comes to baking and making treats, I’m pretty much game for anything. However, I’ll admit, that I have a complete and total irrational fear to try making ANYTHING that resembles bread. Buns, bread, english muffins, donuts, anything that requires me to use yeast and to knead I actually get anxious even THINKING about it.
I really have no idea.I think I’m afraid that I’m totally going to eff it up. Who cares, you say? Apparently, I do. I do, I do, I do! Then, I found this recipe and I thought…YOLO. Let’s give it a whirl. I’ve been wanting to try out donut making for awhile, PLUS these are baked, so I’m pretty much promoting healthy living, right?
I learned a couple of things while making these donuts:
1. Yeast expires and mine had…one month ago – so although in the end these turned out quite well, they would have been even BETTER if I was using yeast that wasn’t dead.
2. MAD props to all the women out there who make their own bread in sweltering kitchens (I’m thinking back in the day before A/C) kneading is hard work. I’m pretty sure if I keep making these I’ll develop some serious guns
3. Yeast is really not that scary.
4. I was still feeling anxious the whole damn time I made these (which, as you’ll see, is the equivalent of about 3 hours)
Anywhoooo, I was REALLY chuffed with how these turned out, despite the fact I was using expired yeast.
I’m going to make some more this evening I think with NEW yeast and see how it goes. I will report back.
**UPDATE** When I made these again using ACTIVE, non-expired yeast and they turned out exactly the way I wanted them too. Fluffy & oh-so-good!
For the Donuts
3/4 cup of warm milk
1 package of active (non-expired) dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tbsp)
1 tbsp unsalted butter (I use salted)
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt (if you use unsalted butter)
For the Glaze (this is enough to do all of the donuts):
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of powdered sugar
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping (this is enough to do all of the donuts):
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp of cinnamon
**Note: When I made these, I didn’t use the tips I’m going to include below from 101 Cookbooks (just noticed them now) but I’m including them here because, as a yeast fearing baking, I would have found them VERY helpful!**
Place 1/4 of a cup of the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make sure the milk isn’t too hot, otherwise that will kill the yeast (which I MAY have done while making these. Tip 1 that would have been helpful) Stir in the yeast and let sit for about 5 mins.
In a small bowl, combine the rest of the milk with the butter and sugar and add to the yeast mixture. With a fork (helpful tip #2), stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg and salt until the flour is JUST incorporated.
Using the dough hook of your mixer, beat the dough for a few mins at medium speed (helpful tip #3) If your dough is too sticky, add a little more flour a bit at a time. If it is too dry, do the same with milk. The goal is to have your dough to pull away from the bowl and be supple and smooth (#4). Knead the dough a few times on a floured counter-top and shape into a ball. (Note: the recipe I was using require less mixer time and more manual kneading time, I like this way better!)
Put in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, place (AKA, the house in the summer time).
Wait 1 hour or so. You want your dough ball to double in size.
When it is ready to rock, bring over to your floured counter and punch down the dough. Roll it out to be about 1/2″ thick. I don’t have a rolling pin, so I used a Canadian Club glass that we got in a gift set a couple years ago. Worked like a dream!
I don’t have a donut cutter (it’s a thing, I know!) so instead I used a pint glass and a shot glass to cut out my dough. It worked perfectly!
Now, 101 Cookbooks says to cut out the larger circle first and then transfer to your parchment paper lined baking sheet before you cut out your centre pieces! I didn’t do that this time, but I will next time.
Cover your baking sheets with a clean, dry cloth and leave for 45 minutes so that they can rise some more! (P.S. all this waiting nearly KILLED my hubby)
Bake in an oven that is set to 375F until the bottoms and tops are JUST golden (about 8-10 mins). Start checking around 8mins because you don’t want these babies to over bake! When they are done, take them out and let them cool.
While they were baking I made the donut toppings!
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine the sugar and the cinnamon. When your donuts are ready (about 3 mins out of the oven) dip the top into the butter then dunk into the sugar mixture and set on a baking sheet!
First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (can be the same you used to bake the donuts on) and place a cooling rack on top. This acts as a draining system as some of the glaze will drip off.
In a saucepan, add the milk and the vanilla together and JUST warm it up (on low heat). Slowly add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. When ready, dip the donuts in the glaze!
If you want to do half this way and half with the cinnamon sugar, just divide the recipes in half (this is what I did!)