My mom made doughnuts by cutting holes in canned refrigerated biscuits (we called them whoppum biscuits), frying them, and rolling them in sugar. It’s not a bad way to make doughnuts, if you’re going to eat them right away. It sure beats using them for biscuits and is very convenient. Plus, the look of joy on my daughter’s face the first time I brought a platter of doughnuts to the table was priceless.
My husband’s mother made doughnuts, too, but real doughnuts. It was a special snow day treat for them.
We had the best doughnuts in the world awhile back, made by our Mennonite neighbors, and I’ve been wanting to try making yeast raised doughnuts ever since but never really had a good excuse for it.
We’re snowed in today, and school is canceled. Hey look, what’s that? Whaddaya know, it’s an excuse to make doughnuts.
I used the Raised Doughnuts recipe from Beard on Bread. I had begun to think that this particular cookbook was redundant in my collection, but none of my other three bread cookbooks have a doughnut recipe, and the Better Homes and Gardens cook book only has cake doughnuts. There is a doughnut recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but I’ve tried it once before and it was only a little better than whoppum biscuit doughnuts. The doughnuts weren’t puffy enough for my taste.
These were the best doughnuts I’ve ever made. They turned out puffy and had a good chewy texture and nice flavor. They were not as light as I would have liked, though. But having had the best doughnuts in the world (you think I’m kidding but I’m not kidding at all, these ladies made the best doughnuts in the world) anything else suffers by comparison.
The recipe uses a relatively small amount of yeast. I wonder if increasing the yeast would lead to the lighter texture I want? Maybe I’ll find out next year if we have a snow day.
I used Alton Brown’s doughnut glaze recipe. Well, sort of. My husband zapped it in the microwave a few seconds instead of heating it on the stovetop. It worked well. You can put chocolate glaze or powdered sugar or sprinkles or granular sugar on your doughnuts if you want but to me the definitive doughnut topping is a plain glaze.
Someone has posted the James Beard doughnut recipe online at Eat the Blog. I did mine all in one day, but she did hers with an overnight rise in the fridge.