Three days ago, it was blisteringly hot outside and I was laying on my floor, trying not to die of heat stroke and to keep up with my Italian lesson. Dad waltzed in, and said, “DOUGHNUTS!”
“OOOOOOOO, really?” I exclaimed. I was down for a Krispy Kreme or two. “Downstairs?”
“Nope,” he grinned. “We’re gonna make ’em!”
I was skeptical at first, because doughnuts usually entail frying, and I am not the biggest fan of the processes. Honestly, a Krispy Kreme doughnut would have sufficed.
But, BOY OH BOY AM I GLAD THAT DAD HAD A DOUGHNUT EPIPHANY. These doughnuts are delicious. Sugar-y, soft, airy, slightly spiced with cinnamon. I have been looking for this brioche recipe for years. I exaggerate not. For the past few years, I have been enticed, mystified, and frustrated with the brioche recipes that I have tried. The crumb was too tight. It was a little dry. The dough didn’t rise as much as expected.
Zoe Nathan strikes again with her brioche and her doughnuts. I’ll be referring to this from now on. A note, though: This recipe requires overnight refrigeration. A good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Not great for procrastinating, forgetful, unplanned bakers (me), but great for everyone else. And if I could pull this off, you can, too.
The recipe makes one brioche loaf (perfect for french toast, bread pudding, sandwiches, pain aux rasin, and other glorious creations) or these doughnuts. Can’t go wrong either way, although I’d like to see how it turns out as the pain in pain aux rasin.
Back to the doughnuts, though. Here’s what the dough looks like after you’ve taken it out of the fridge and cut out the circles:
Here’s the dough after one hour in a warm(ish), draft-free place (the oven, turned off):
Pillow-y, squishy, (cute!), and puffy. Perfection? Yes.
The frying time varies; the book said two minutes per side, but we had very well-done doughnuts. 15 seconds worked for us.
You can roll them in cinnamon and sugar, glaze, or fill the doughnuts…if you’re feeling un-lazy and curious (not me), try all three. At the same time.
(from Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan)
3 tbs whole milk (we used cream)
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1.75 cups (215 grams) all-purpose flour
1.75 cups (215 grams) bread flour
0.25 cup + 1 tbsp (55 grams) sugar
1.5 tsp kosher salt
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup (220 grams) unsalted butter, softened
Sugar & cinnamon, for coating
- Gently heat cream until warm. Mix with yeast and set aside.
- Place flours, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the eggs. Add yeast mixture. Beat on low speed until combined.
- Add butter in 1-2 tablespoon increments, mixing on low speed. The butter will not incorporate right away. After all the butter is added, turn the mixer to medium high speed and mix for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl from time to time.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- In a stainless steel pot or dutch oven, pour in 3 inches of canola oil. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, and heat to 375˚F.
- Transfer dough to a heavily floured work surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, press until 1.25” thick. Cut out doughnuts (we used the rim of a glass jar and a piping tip). You should have 10-24, depending on the size you choose to make the doughnuts.
- Fry the doughnuts 15 seconds per side, or long enough to obtain a golden brown color. Prepare the cinnamon sugar mixture and immediately toss the doughnuts after frying. Eat!
- These will keep for a few days, tightly sealed.