Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time To Make The Doughnuts

One of my favorite shows to watch on the Food Network is Good Eats. It's hosted by Alton Brown. It's sort of a Bill Nye the Science Guy meets a cooking show. The various recipes are presented, as well as the science and history behind the featured food. I have to admit, the first time I watched the show, I found Alton somewhat annoying. Yet I continued to watch and eventually grew to like the show and the host. It helps that he has some pretty good recipes.

A couple of weeks ago there was an episode about doughnuts. Who makes doughnuts at home? It's so much easier to go to Krispy Kreme, Duncan Doughnuts, or any number of other places. But the episode intrigued me. So I kept watching. As I watched, I remembered making doughnuts with my mom as a child. I remember they were very simple. Refrigerated biscuit dough from the store we poked holes in, fried in oil, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar or cinnamon. Since cooking seems to be a new hobby that I enjoy, I decided to make homemade doughnuts from the episode.

Here is the recipe from the show:

1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

With nothing to do tonight, I decided to try my hand at doughnut making again. This is the third time I've made the doughnuts, and I'm still a ways from having them perfected. I did take some pictures of the process just for fun.

The doughnuts have been cut and are bench proofing.

The doughnuts have been fried and are being cooled on a wire rack.

I would normally make my own icing, but I had some canned frosting I needed to use.

Don't they look good enough to eat?

I also decided to add the Good Eats episode. Gotta love YouTube.

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