Homemade donuts are easy to make. You can make them with your favorite bread dough adding just a bit more sugar than normal. (Too much sugar will make the donuts brown too rapidly.)
3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour
1 package 7 gram instant yeast, SAF or equal
1 cup water at 105 degrees
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry milk, preferably baker’s dry milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 large egg
oil for deep frying
Place about two cups of the flour in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Add the yeast. Add the water. Mix the water with the flour with a dough hook for 30 seconds or until the yeast is dissolved and the ingredients begin to combine.
Add the salt, dry milk, sugar, shortening, and egg and continue mixing. Add most of the remaining flour and continue mixing at medium speed for at least four minutes adding more flour as needed to reach a soft dough consistency. (It is important that the dough be mixed for four minutes to develop the gluten.) The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but will be soft, not firm, to the touch.
Once the dough is mixed, place it in a large greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double, about one hour.
Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a floured counter. Let it rest for ten minutes. Finish rolling the dough to one-half inch thick. Use a floured donut cutter to cut out the donuts.
Cover the donuts and let them rise until they are very light, 30 to 45 minutes.
Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Add the donuts, a few at a time, to the hot oil being careful not to splash oil. Fry for about one minute and then turn the donuts with tongs. Fry for another minute. The donuts should be golden on both sides. Remove the donuts to drain on paper towels.
To glaze your donuts, mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Dip the warm donuts in the glaze.
Tips for Great Donuts
- Pick a dough that is fairly lean with not too much fat, eggs, or sugar, more like a bread dough. If the dough is too rich, it will absorb too much fat and brown too rapidly. A leaner dough will also make lighter donuts.
- Roll the dough just before it has completely risen. The yeast will continue to work. Fry the donuts as soon as they are completely risen. If the dough is too old, it will be more difficult to brown them.
- Don’t put your dough in a warm place to rise; let it rise at room temperature. The dough will be easier to handle and will deform less.
- Handle risen donuts carefully. They are soft and will deform easily.
- Make sure the oil is the right temperature for frying, 375 to 380 degrees. Always use a thermometer.
- Carefully lower the donuts into the hot oil so as not to splash oil and burn yourself.
- When using an electric cooker, make certain the cords are out of the way and will not get caught and accidentally pulled spilling the oil.