If you’re like me, you can’t help yourself stopping and lingering at the window of the Krispy Kreme as the conveyor belt slowly draws that freshly fried doughy goodness to be coated in sugary delight.
I just had sugar shivers.
In the U.S. alone, about 10 BILLION doughnuts are made every year, a mere 1.1 billion of which are made by Krispy Kreme! That’s a LOT of doughnuts. The number 1 doughnut in the U.S. is the Glazed, followed closely by the Boston Crème.
Our northern neighbors, the Canadians, boast the highest consumption of doughnuts in the world and the highest number of doughnut shops per capita of any country in the world. A really good way to keep warm!
Doughnuts have a long and storied history, so much so that archeologists keeping discovering fossilized bits of what look like doughnuts in the refuse heaps of prehistoric Native American settlements.
While we could go on and on about the fascinating history of the doughnut and maybe even join in the debate of whether it’s cake or pastry, but we’ll save that conversation for a later date. For now, let’s just say no matter what you choose to label them, you can’t ever really go wrong with a doughnut!
Luscious Do-It-Yourself Doughnuts
Recipe Adapted From: Doughnuts By Mark Bittman
Yield: About 1 dozen
Time: About 3 hours, mostly unattended
• 1 ¼ cups milk
• 2 ¼ teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast
• 2 eggs
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
• 2 quarts neutral oil, for frying, plus more for the bowl.
In a saucepan heat the milk to approximately 90 degrees but no hotter.
In a large bowl combine warmed milk with yeast and stir lightly by hand.
Let the mixture sit until the milk/yeast mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
With an electric or standing mixer using a dough hook, beat the eggs, butter, sugar and salt in the milk-yeast mixture. Add half the flour (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) and mix until combined, then mix in the rest of the flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl. If the dough is too wet, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time.
If you’re using an electric mixer the dough will become too dense to beat; when it does transfer it to a floured surface and gently knead with your hands until smooth. Grease a large bowl with cooking oil and cover. Let the dough mixture rest and rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, approximately 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Turning simply means folding the dough onto itself which gently deflates the dough down while still maintaining many of the air pockets that have already formed.
Roll the dough into a ½-inch thickness.
Cut out the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter, but our preference is a drinking glass with about a 3” diameter and a shot glass. The shot glass isn’t for tequila, it’s for the doughnut hole, silly!
Make sure to coat the cutters liberally as you go.
Keep the doughnut holes!
If you plan to make filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the doughnut holes.
Gently knead leftover scraps together, let them rest for a few minutes before repeating the process.
Put the doughnuts on two floured baking sheets making sure there’s plenty of room between the doughnuts. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm place until they are slightly puffed, approximately 45 minutes.
If it’s chilly in your kitchen, turn on the oven and heat to 200 degrees, then turn off and place the doughnuts in the oven with the door slightly open.
About 30 minutes into the doughnuts rising pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and heat the oil to 375 degrees.
Whatever you plan to place the fried doughnuts onto, cooling racks, baking sheets or plates, line them with paper towels to soak the excess oil.
Carefully add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time.
If they’re too delicate to pick up with your fingers (they may be this way only if you rose them in the oven), use a metal spatula to pick them up and slide them into the oil. Don’t worry if they fall a bit; they’ll inflate back up as they fry.
When the bottoms are deep golden, after 45 seconds to a minute, use a slotted spoon to flip; cook until they’re deep golden all over.
Doughnut holes cook faster. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared plates or racks, and repeat with the rest of the dough, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil at 375 degrees. Glaze or fill to your heart’s content, and devour immediately.