This is one of those recipes that I can’t make too often, because when I do, everyone makes themselves sick. Big Boy ate ten of these and then worried my parents no end when he couldn’t eat any dinner that night. All up we made a double batch of 60 doughnuts, two-thirds of which were filled with Pete’s homemade jams, and by the end of the day, there were just three left. We didn’t eat them by ourselves, of course, which meant the day was filled with visits from friends. Which is why I reflect on doughnut making with great affection – it always turns into a social event!
This is a recipe from Richard Bertinet’s Dough. It’s based on his versatile sweet dough, which I use for everything from hot cross buns to a mock brioche loaf. It’s particularly easy to make if you have access to UHT (ultra heat treated) milk, because then you can forego heating the milk and then cooling it to blood temperature. There is a great video of Bertinet making the sweet dough at the Gourmet website – well worth watching before you start. My methodology is slightly different because I’m using dried yeast, but the dough handling techniques are pretty much the same. The ingredients below make about 30 doughnuts, although the photos are of a double batch.
- 500g bread flour
- 10g instant yeast
- 7g fine sea salt
- 40g caster sugar
- 60g unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 250g full cream milk, at blood temperature, or UHT milk, unrefrigerated
1. Whisk together the dried yeast and bread flour in a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar and whisk in well.
2. Add the unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, then rub the butter into the flour mixture until well crumbled.
3. Add the eggs and milk, then mix together with a spatula until it forms a shaggy dough. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
4. Knead the dough until smooth. Oil the scraped out mixing bowl, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
5. Knock back the dough, then divide into 30 x 30g portions. Shape each portion into a tight ball, then allow to rise on a baking tray lined with a sheet of parchment paper (flour the sheet as well – I forgot to do that and the balls were a bit sticky and hard to get off). Cover with large pieces of oiled clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45mins. Start heating the oil about 10 minutes before the dough is ready.
6. Heat an oil with a high smoking point (180C). Now, this bit is a two person job, so it’s best to get a helper. While one person loosens the dough balls, the other person gently places them in the hot oil. The balls will immediately expand like little balloons. Turn them over often to ensure even browning. Let them get quite brown and then remove to a wire rack, placed over an old tea towel to catch the dripping oil. Allow to cool.
7. To make plain doughnuts, toss the cooked balls in caster sugar.
8. To make jam doughnuts, poke a chopstick into the centre of a doughnut and wiggle it around a bit to make a cavity. Then using a piping bag filled with soft jam (a smooth jam is best, as the chunky ones block up the piping nozzle with bits of fruit), pipe a generous amount of jam into the centre of the doughnut, then toss in caster sugar. We filled ours with Pete’s jams – apricot, rhubarb and berry, and strawberry!