The Great British Bake Off inspires hundreds to bake across the country. The appeal of the TV baking broadcast is so diverse that bakers of all levels and ages switch on and bake with them every week. It’s comfort television at its finest, and one of the most important things about this cooking show is its appeal. It makes you want to leave your usual comfort zone and bake something different.
I am one of those people. I baked a handful of loaves of bread in my day, so to really push myself, I made donuts.
I test my own recipes twice to make sure that they taste good and that the measurements and methods are all correct.
If it’s a recipe outside of my usual duties, I’ll research other recipes and try to recreate them.
My only experience with donuts so far has been stuffing them in my face. I once traveled 150 miles to Manchester on a round trip to collect what I think was the best donuts in the UK.
Never have I ever made a donut and with bread week coming up, I decided to give it a try. If you have baked bread before, you will find that it is a fortified bread mix that undergoes two different “tests”.
Of the 40+ donut recipes I’ve looked, the one made by Chetna Makan and Justin Gellatly stood out the most. Here’s a recipe that uses the best of both worlds to make a plate of 24 donuts.
Makes 24 donuts (1kg batter)
Prep time: 45 minutes, plus walking and chilling overnight
Cooking time: 3 minutes per donut, fried in two servings
60g powdered sugar
10g fine salt
Bowl of ½ lemon
150g cold water
125g soft unsalted butter
3 liters Sunflower oil for deep-frying
Vanilla powdered sugar for throwing donuts (regular powdered sugar works fine if you can’t get the vanilla flavor)
raspberry jam or filling of your choice
Put everything except the butter in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Once the dough comes together after about a minute, use the dough hook in your mixer and mix for 6 minutes. You can make this part by hand by increasing the kneading time to 8 minutes.
Let the dough and the machine rest for 2 minutes. Both get pretty warm.
With the mixer on medium setting, start adding butter to the batter, tablespoon at a time. You are looking for butter that is completely absorbed by the dough, which should take about 2 minutes.
Scrape the batter off every few minutes to keep the bowl nice and clean.
Mix for another 4 minutes, this time on the highest setting, until the dough is stretchy and elastic. If you do it by hand, knead the dough for about 7 minutes.
Pull the dough into a neat ball, cover with cling film and let rise in a slightly warm room.
When the dough has risen and has doubled in about 3-4 hours, tap out the air, cover again and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball in the palm of your hand. Place on a floured sheet and cover with lightly greased cling film.
Let the dough rise for another 3-4 hours or until it has doubled.
Fill your deep fryer or a deep saucepan with sunflower oil.
Gently drop your donuts into the deep fryer. Be careful as the puffy donuts will drain out when you put them in the deep fryer.
Fry each donut on each side for 1.5 minutes at 160 ° C until golden brown.
Put it in a bowl with powdered sugar while it is still warm and let it cool down.
Pierce a fillet knife in the side of a donut and insert it in the center. Turn the knife completely over to make a subtle but large hole.
Fill a piping bag with jam or your favorite filling and fill the donuts until they are wrapped.
Some recipes recommend weighing the donut pieces before shaping them into balls. This is not mandatory. I weighed mine to exactly 43.4 grams each, which took another 25 minutes and my donuts were still not the same size. Some were a little drained, others remained puffy.
Some 500g flour mix recipes say it will make 20 donuts. I find these too big and it can be difficult to finish a filled donut. By making them a little smaller, you can enjoy a filled donut without feeling cluttered.
Use a saucepan for frying, but a deep fryer is recommended. This gives you complete temperature control and eliminates the need to constantly measure the temperature to make sure it is constant while roasting.
Don’t be shy about filling your donuts with whatever filling you want. Jam, Nutella, and cream are your usual suspects, but ‘Nduja and Arrabiata are other sauces you might want to consider. Just don’t dust the donuts with sugar when using these fillings.
Donuts can be fiddly to make. I’ve spent the weekend doing these and yes it’s worth it but you need patience.
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