How to Make Donuts
I know what you’re thinking–who has the time to make donuts when Krispy Kreme is right down the street? Look up the nutritional facts on commercially-produced donuts. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
Making donuts on your own at home is a great way to control the ingredients that go into the fried, fluffy treats that everyone loves. Maybe there’s a cop that lives in your neighborhood and you want to get on his good side? Whatever your reason for wanting to make donuts on your own, we’ve got you covered.
Vegetable oil, for frying
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup milk
OPTIONAL: jimmies, chocolate sprinkles, or other traditional donut topping
This recipe makes about 24 donuts.
1. Heat two to three inches of oil in either a deep fryer or a very heavy kettle. You want the oil to reach about 375 F–check the temperature of the oil before you begin frying. If your oil is too hot, you’ll burn the donuts. Too cool, and they won’t cook properly all the way through.
2. Beat 1 1/2 cups of flour and all the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl at low speed. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl for the 30 seconds it should take to mix the ingredients, otherwise you’ll have lump, uncooked donuts. After the first 30 seconds on low speed, continue to beat the ingredients at medium speed, scraping the bowl only occasionally. Do this for 2 minutes. Afterwards, stir in the remaining flour by hand.
3. Cover a cutting board or sheet of parchment paper with lots of flour. Turn your donut dough around and around in the flour, rolling it gently around so that it is fully coated. Then, roll your dough out to a thickness of 3/8 inch–a half inch actually is just too thick, so measure precisely.
4. Cut the dough into donut shapes with a floured donut cutter. If you don’t have a donut cutter, you can use two ring-shaped cutters, one smaller (for the interior hole) and one larger for the donut itself. The key is to flour the device you use to cut so the dough doesn’t stick.
5. Here’s the tricky part–frying the donuts. You want to gently slide the donuts into your preheated oil using a wide spatula or (if you have good coordination) a long wooden dowel. You want to put the donut into the oil the way you’d put your foot into a hot bath . . . gently, and a little bit at a time. Once the donuts rise to the surface of the oil, they’re ready to be turned and cooked on the other side.
6. Fry your donuts until they are golden brown. It should take no more than a minute and a half on each side at the proper oil temperature.
7. Remove the donuts from the oil, making sure not to poke or break their surface. Let the donuts drain on paper towels or a baking rack.
8. You can serve them plain, dusted with confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon sugar, glazed with icing, or dipped in chocolate. You can also sprinkle them with jimmies, coconut, chopped nuts, or any topping you like, just be sure to do it while the donuts are still slightly moist.