Every so often I sure do crave a GOOD doughnut. And a few weeks ago this craving would not go away. I thought about them day and night for two days. I did not go out to buy any. I considered it. I even considered purchasing some at the market. Can you believe that? I don't know that I have ever bought doughnuts from the regular market. Then I started thinking some more.... My mom always loved her grandmother's homemade doughnuts. Why can't I make my own. Especially since I have a deep fryer now!
Yes. The decision was made. I WOULD make doughnuts from scratch. Now for the recipe. I took a look around my cookbooks. Not much to offer in the way of doughnuts. Then our great vast web. There are plenty to be found here. It seems most doughnuts were of the yeast variety. These are good and I shall try it sometime but when it comes to doughnuts, I usually want the cakier type of dense doughnut or old fashioned glazed doughnuts. Not to say that the chewy Crispy Cream yeast doughnuts aren't tasty. They ARE.
Upon perusal I found a few recipes I really wanted to try. But one really stood out. Because I love the old fashioned buttermilk doughnuts and because I happened to have some buttermilk that needed to be used before it went bad, I tried a recipe for Buttermilk Doughnuts that I found on Stephan's site, This Engineer Can Bake. His Recipe is sited as being adapted from Baking Illustrated.
While my doughnuts were not THE most perfect shape in the world, they did come out as very presentable and wonderful tasting. The only problem is that doughnuts are only really really good the day you make them. And one doughnut is really all one should ever eat in a day. So we all ate TWO! Then I gave some to my mom and grandmother. I also froze some as soon as I though it would not melt the plastic bag I put them in. The frozen doughnuts were pretty darn good several days later. I simply heated them in the toaster oven until warm all the way through. This is definitely the way to go if you don't want to eat them all and feel like a heavy ton of bricks.
Note: I do not have a doughnut cutter. But I do have a very sturdy round cookie cutter which I used for the basic shape. For the hole, I used the cap of a water bottle. It worked well enough but the doughnut holes (which I did fry up as well) were not so perfect looking because they sometimes stuck to the cap.
Makes 15 to 17 doughnuts (assuming they all work out)
3 1/2 cups (17 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
6 cups peanut/sunflower/safflower oil
1 cup sugar (7 oz)
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1. Mix 1 cup (5 oz) flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
2. Mix the buttermilk, butter, and eggs including the yolk in a 2-cup measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry; beat on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Decrease the speed to low and add the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stir the batter once or twice with a wooden spood or rubber spatula to ensure all the liquid is incorporated. (The dough will be moist and tacky, like a cross between cake batter and cookie dough.)
3. Fit a candy thermometer to the side of a cast iron kettle or large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (or simply use a deep-fryer); gradually heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Roll with a heavily floured rolling pin to 1/2-inch thick. Stamp out the dough rings with a heavily floured doughnut cutter (the width of the ring should be about 3/4 inch or less), re-flouring between cuts. Transfer the dough rounds to a baking sheet or large wire rack. Gather the scraps and gently press them into a disk; repeat the rolling and stamping until all the dough is used. (Cut doughnuts can be covered in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 hours.)
4. Carefully drop the dough rings into the hot far 4 to 5 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. As soon as they rise to the surface, turn the doughnuts with tongs. Fry the doughnuts until golden brown, about 50 seconds per side (mine took about 3 minutes). Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat frying, returning the fat to temperature between batches and adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the oil from overheating.
5. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl or pie plate. After the doughnuts have cooled for about 1 minute toss with cinnamon sugar to coat. Alternately, you can also use non-melting powdered sugar if it is available in your area.