Monday, January 31, 2011

Putting the "Mess" in "Tasty Mess"

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Last week I decided to try a yeast-based doughnut instead of the cake-style ones I've made in the past and boy did I make a colossal mess! Not to mention, they didn't taste very good and wouldn't hold their shape.

Everything was working just fine until I had to cut out the shapes of the doughnuts - it was just way too sticky and loose of a dough to hold together for some reason. I made the best of it and twisted the dough into whatever shapes it would hold. Except when I made the doughnuts and tried eating them, they were really flavorless and went stale very quickly.

I even tried filling them with caramel and raspberry (separately - not a mixture!), but the caramel was too runny and the raspberry filling was so thick it barely squeezed through the pastry tip and instead oozed all over the mechanical pastry bag.

I don't know if it was the recipe or something I did, but feel free to try it or offer any advice on what I could have done wrong!

Alton Brown's Yeast-Based Doughnuts

- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 packages yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water (at least 100 degrees)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying


Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

3. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

4. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

5. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. (This is where the recipe went downhill for me!)

6. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan.


  1. I have no clue about yeast doughnuts, but in college I had a summer job making the cake kind and I have the oil burn scars to prove it!

  2. Ouch! I've been lucky to avoid oil burns so far, but I'd better find some wood to knock on now...