What is the deal with homemade donuts? It seems they are becoming more popular. Recently I have noticed more and more donut-making paraphernalia in the stores I frequent…pans, recipe books, donut mix and even an electric donut maker. Who needs all this stuff? I have been making donuts for years with just simple ingredients from my pantry. You gotta love the return of a do-it-yourself, back-to-basics lifestyle.
Homemade donuts, warm from my iron skillet are delicious. We like them plain, coated with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar and sometimes drizzled with a simple glaze. Making your own donuts is a fairly simple task and there is nothing better on a cool morning than a freshly made donut with your coffee.
I have made baked donuts which are really little cakes with holes. But they just don’t seem to have that true donut essence I love. So they must be fried circles of kneaded yeast dough. Nothing is more satisfying than kneading dough!!! Feeling that soft dough beneath your flour coated fingers is a real simple pleasure of life for me.
My Homemade Mini Donuts
1 (1/4-oz) package dry active yeast (2 Teaspoons)
2 T warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour plus some for working and rolling out dough
1 Cup milk, room temperature
2-4 T butter (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 T sugar
1 tsp. salt
Canola oil for frying
cinnamon sugar mix
In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water; leave it alone for 5 minutes until it is bubbly and foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, you need new yeast.) Add the flour, milk, butter, eggs, sugar and salt, and stir until you have a soft, sticky dough. Stir for another minute or two, form a ball, cover and let rise for about an hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 10-12 turns. Pat and spread the dough out with floured hands until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many donuts as possible. I use a wide mouth shot glass. Then poke a hole in each circle with your finger, stretching it out a bit. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise for another 20-30 minutes. All this kneading and rising is why you have to get up at 5AM to make the donuts!
Heat about 2” of oil in a deep, heavy iron skillet until it’s hot but not smoking. Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a scrap of dough…it should sizzle instantly! If the oil is not hot enough, the donuts will absorb way too much oil, making them really heavy and greasy.
Cook doughnuts a few at a time, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until they are puffy and golden brown. This takes about 2 minutes. Transfer to several layers of paper towel to drain. Toss in a paper bag filled with one of the sugar toppings while still warm. Enjoy!!!