There are few things in this world more enjoyable then a fresh doughnut, served piping hot. Unfortunately, most people rarely experience this pleasure since hot, fresh doughnuts can be difficult to come by
That is unless you make your own.
This recipe utilizes a yeasted brioche dough that once fried is light and airy, yet still delivers a good chew and can stand up to just about any toping your throw at it. For topping ideas, see the "Additional Notes" section at the bottom of this recipe.
- Scald milk by placing in a sauce pot and bringing to a simmer. Be careful not to allow the milk to boil over. Cool to 100°F/37°C
- Place milk in a mixing bowl and dissolve yeast into warm milk by whisking vigorously.
- Once yeast is dissolved into milk, whisk in eggs until fully incorporated.
- Add bread flour and diastatic malt powder and mix with dough hook attachment of a stand-top mixer (see notes below for mixing by hand). Once no more dry flour is visible (about 60 seconds), turn off mixer, cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes (autolyse).
- After 30 minute rest, mix in sugar and salt.
- Continue to mix with the dough hook, adding one pat of butter at a time, until the butter is fully incorporated.
- Once butter is incorporated, continue to knead with dough hook on medium speed for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is cohesive and passes the windowpane test (see video for visual cue).
- Remove dough from mixing bowl, round, and place in a plastic container that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight (anywhere from 12-16 hours).
- The following day, remove dough from fridge and scale dough into 75g portions for large doughnuts, 50g portions for regular sized doughnuts, or 30g portions for small doughnuts. Round dough portions as demonstrated in the technique video linked above.
- Flatten portioned dough on the work surface into a disc. Poke a whole in the center of each disc with the tip of a knife, and stretch into a doughnut shape.
- Place formed doughnuts on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Proof at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size (you can also proof overnight in the refrigerator -- see additional notes for more information).
- After doughnuts have doubled in size, fry at 375°F/190°C for about 90 seconds on each side, or until both sides of the doughnut are a medium golden brown.
- Drain doughnuts on paper towels to remove any excess cooking oil. This will keep the doughnuts from having an "oily" or "greasy" mouth feel.
- Dust warm doughnuts with powdered sugar, cinnamon-sugar, or top with a glaze of choice such as maple or chocolate ganache.
For best results, allow butter to come to room temperature, and incorporate it one small pat at a time. The butter will have a tendency to ride up the side of the mixing bowl. When this happens, simply stop the mixer, and hand mix the butter back into the dough using the dough hook attachment.
Mixing By Hand
Although the instructions for this recipe use a stand top mixer, I actually prefer to mix this dough by hand. Once the mixing technique is mastered it can actually be faster than a mechanical mixer and the ingredients will be better blended. The specific technique used to hand mix this dough is called "frisage" and is demonstrated in this video here.
Chilling the dough in the refrigerator overnight accomplishes two things. First, the slower fermentation will help add complexity of flavor, yielding a tastier doughnut. Second, because this dough has a high fat content, it will be extremely hard to handle and form at room temperature. This is why the dough is portioned and formed as soon as it is removed from the fridge.
For added flavor and convenience, you can delay the fermentation a second time after forming; simply cover the formed doughnuts with plastic wrap, and instead of proofing at room temperature, place in your refrigerator for up to 16 hours.
When removed from the refrigerator the following day, fry immediately as instructed above.
Making Brioche Doughnuts Without The Overnight Rest
If you're in a hurry, these doughnuts can be made in one day by omitting the overnight rise.
- After mixing, allow the dough to proof at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Place in your fridge and chill for 2-3 hours.
- Pull dough from the refrigerator and form into doughnuts as instructed above.
- Proof at room temperature until doubled in size, and then fry.
Tips For Frying The Doughnuts
When deep frying anything, you want to make sure you're using a high smoke point, neutral flavored cooking oil such as canola, safflower, or grape seed. Shortening or lard can also be used if that's you're personal preference.
Monitor the temperature of your frying oil with either a fry thermometer, or an instant read thermometer. If your frying temperature is too low, or if the temperature of the oil drops too much when the doughnuts are introduced, you may end up with a "greasy" result.
Using Diastatic Malt Powder
An optional ingredient in this dough formulation is diastatic malt powder. I sometimes find that this scares people since they aren't familiar with the term, but it really is a normal and natural dough enhance. Diastatic malt powder is created by first allowing barley to sprout, after which it is dried and ground into a fine flour.
This releases an enzyme that when hydrated will help convert flour's starch into simple sugars yeast can more readily consume. This in fact happens naturally, all-be-it at a much slower rate, when flour is hydrated by water in any bread recipe. The addition of diastatic malt powder allows for more starch to sugar conversion which results in a superior spring, moister crumb, and a more shelf stable product.
However, this recipe will still be awesome without the addition of diastatic malt powder, so feel free to leave it out for sake of convenience or if you happen to be afraid of big words.