I have wanted to make baked doughnuts ever since I saw doughnut pans on a website and the really yummy looking pictures on Foodgawker.com. I tried to make doughnuts this way back in November, but didn’t have a pan, so I made them into muffins. They turned out all right, however, they were not quite what I was looking for. They were too muffiny and not fluffy or any other doughnut qualities that I was hoping for. I tried a new recipe today that does not require pans, instead you roll them out and cut them. The recipe was printed, the kitcken was ready for me to concure it and I was ready to sieze control of the oven. However, I was not ready to read the recipe. Using half a cup of milk makes a dough, 1 cup of milk makes a batter. That was my mistake. In remedy, I let the batter rise for 15 minutes then spooned it into muffin cups. In hindsight, I should have sprayed the muffin cups instead of using paper liners. They rose beautifuly in the oven and turned out like little dinner rolls. I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on some of them while baking and filled one with jam by spooning half of the batter, then jam, then the rest of the batter. While those were baking, I restarted the process, this time using the proper amount of milk. After I baked them, I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar, water and vanilla. I also took a decorators tip and bag, then used them to inject the doughnuts with grape jam. The recipe works really well both ways and produces similar yet different results depending which way you make them. The batter produces a heavier, more bread-like baked good and the dough version is fluffier and harbors more doughnut qualities under the sugary glaze. Either way you make them, I think you will be pleased with the results.
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks
Makes about 1 dozen
For the dough:
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm milk, divided, 95 to 105 degrees (take its temperature–too hot and it will kill the yeast)
1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (about half a packet)
1 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Place 3 tablespoons of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the yeast and set aside for at least five minutes. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of warm milk in a small bowl, stir in the butter and sugar, and add it to the yeast mixture. On low speed, stir in the egg, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. At this point, make a few adjustments – if your dough is seriously sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add a little bit of milk. Eventually, you want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and become soft and smooth. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface, knead it a few times by hand, and shape it into a smooth ball.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl (cooking spray works great here), cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on a floured work surface. Using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter, stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut holes in the centers with a smaller cutter, about half the diameter of the first–remember the hole will close up on the second rising if it’s too small, so make it a little bigger than what a finished doughnuts would look like (alternatively, use a doughnut cutter, if you actually own one). Cover the baking sheet with a clean cloth and let the doughnuts rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes – start checking around 8. Better to underbake then overbake here–pull them early if in doubt.