September 30, 2013

Doughnuts, 3 ways

Doughnuts. Little bits of fried dough. Whether they're dusted with powdered sugar, or filled with cream or jam, they're the perfect sweet treat. Most cultures have their own version of fried dough, usually made for special occasions or holidays, but the American version is the everyday doughnut. Bouchon's version, which they only sell in the bakery on weekends, is similar to a brioche dough, either coated in vanilla sugar or filled and glazed. Our bakers had varied results with this recipe, but overall produced delicious results.

Sugared Doughnuts
Chocolate-Glazed Diplomats
Cherry-Whipped Cream Doughnuts

Electric stove

Timing was everything with this recipe for me. I decided to make all three doughnuts so I had my hands full. I first made the dough for the doughnuts. I learned that when a recipe states to mix the dough for 30 minutes, one should not cut down the time. It makes a big difference on how the dough will bake or fry so I stuck to the mixing time. I then stretched and folded the dough for proofing an hour before refrigerating it for the day. When I returned from work that night at 10:30, I made the second dough for the Chocolate-Glazed Diplomats and the Cherry-Whipped Cream Doughnuts. I made the Chocolate Glaze but without the Neutral Glaze. I made pastry cream for the diplomat cream and refrigerated for the morning. I also attempted to make crunchy dark chocolate pearl by dipping luster pearls in chocolate but I failed at that. 

Early the next morning I made the whipping cream using a stabilizer.  Completing all the fillings I cut out the doughnuts and set them to proof covering them with a cardboard box for 1.5 hours. I heated the oil and found it difficult to keep a constant 350˚. I first tested frying the doughnut holes which turned out perfect. I then proceeded to fry the doughnuts in batches of four. I dusted the first batch with the vanilla cinnamon sugar. I then moved on the the Chocolate-Glazed Diplomats then the Cherry-whipped cream Doughnuts. As I packed the Chocolate-Glazed Diplomat doughnuts, I dropped them in the compost bag. I wanted to cry and couldn't believe this happened to me. I managed to forge on. I had a few donuts left and dipped them with the chocolate-glaze. I got ready for work and dashed out the door so that I could distribute the donuts to co-workers before the store opened.

My assoicates/friends gave me feedback that they loved the crunch on the outside and the fluffly inside. I was pleased with their comments. My family also enjoyed the doughnuts. I know, I will not make these again. I have so much more respect for people who work in doughnut shops. This is a really labor intensive pastry that is eaten up in less than an two minutes. To get the recipe right is another story!

standard bake and measure
Vanilla and Cinnamon sugar doughnuts

Another recipe I was looking forward to! Doughnuts were always a treat in my house, reserved for vacations usually. I have never made them from scratch, so I was excited for the challenge.

Making the dough was frustrating, but it was because I made a critical error. While the dough was in the mixer, I could hear the motor straining. It got very hot, started smelling bad, and the gears were being stripped. But what could I do? I realized after the fact that I used the paddle attachment instead of the dough hook. Big mistake! I'm not sure if the dough turned out too dense because of that.

After resting and cutting, the dough was ready for frying. I also had a hard time regulating the temp of the oil, and the first few that I fried turned out way too dark.

 I only made the vanilla sugar doughnuts, but I plan to try the other variations later. I also want to re-make the dough the proper way, to see if it turns out different. The ones I completed were a bit too dense for my liking, I prefer doughnuts to be light and airy. But the little doughnut holes were fairly addicting, I could just pop them in my mouth all day!

Guest Baker: Jo Wong

Simple recipe, once you figure out there was a typo left out by the publisher in their conversion from ounces to grams. The grams measurement for the butter should be 57 grams and not 5 grams as stated in the recipe.  I checked my measurements twice on the digital scale just to make sure the 2 ounces were exactly 57 grams.

This is one of those recipes, if you want donuts, you need to plan for it a day in advance. The next morning, there is still almost 2 hours to wait before you can even think about having donuts with your coffee for breakfast.  Once they are ready for frying, it goes pretty fast. The kids love getting involved to help, I let my son dip the fried donuts into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  We found we could only fry 2 donuts at a time or 3 big donut holes.  The donuts were fabulous with coffee and hot chocolate!  We will definitely make these again.  If you happen to have extra dough left, it does bakes up well in the oven.

Guest Baker: Jo Wong
Chocolate-stuffed brioche with leftover dough

Thought you might like to try this if you have extra dough. I stuffed the ball of left over donut dough with chocolate chunks and apricot jam.  A healthy baked alternative to a fried wad of dough. It would be a yummy breakfast treat with coffee in the morning.  It has a nice tender crumb without too much butter like a rich brioche dough.  Very soft texture, will definitely use this recipe to make brioche rolls.

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