Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge - Doughnuts

October 2010 Challenge - Doughnuts

This month's challenge was to make doughnuts! We could decide if we would like them to be a cake or yeast doughnut. Lori are host gave recipes for two types of yeast doughnuts (one filled) and two types of cake doughnuts. Also included was a recipe for gluten-free doughnuts. She strongly encouraged us to get creative with your toppings and fillings. The sky was the limit! Lori said to "Feel free to dip them in chocolate, sprinkle them with sugar, or fill them with preserves, custard, or whatever you like". We could even get really creative and try making a savory doughnut! How about filling a doughnut with cheese and some herbs?

This was a marvellous challenge so bakers on the forum mentioned how delicious and easy the recipes were and that this was their first time deep frying and it wasn't that hard to do.

I decided to try the yeast doughnut recipe by Alton Brown.

Alton Brown's Yeast Doughnuts

This recipe (the first challenge recipe) produces absolutely and utterly the best doughnuts I have ever had; the interiors of the doughnuts are soft, fluffy and airy (light-as-a-feather) and the crusts are thin and crisp. The doughnuts are mildly sweet and with a coating of icing (powdered) sugar they are perfect. An absolutely marvellous recipe! It is best to think of the dough as an artisan (high-hydration) bread dough i.e. very soft and sticky. Work it gently and try to keep as much air in the dough when you are handling it. I have a lot of experience working with high-hydration (high ratio of water to flour) soft and sticky doughs so I had no problems with this recipe. If you feel the initial dough mixture is too sticky and soft don't add flour just let the dough rise; during this time the water will hydrate (wet) the flour and the dough will become less sticky and firmer (it will always be a soft dough) and the gluten will develop. Only add flour after the first rising (and only on the counter and the cutting tools you are using).

A few comments on this recipe

1. I used butter since I hate the fat-sticking-to-the-roof-of-my-mouth-feel that shortening produces and also vegetable shortening is impossible to find in Australia.
2. It is best to weigh the flour if possible 23 oz or 650 gm or 4⅔ cups (of settled flour straight from the bag do not fluff up the flour first just measure the cup volume straight from the bag I checked 4⅔ cups of flour does equal 650 grams/23 oz) this amount produces a sticky batter-like cake-dough, very unlike normal bread-dough, this is how it is meant to be. Resist the temptation of adding more flour to make the dough like normal-bread-dough it is meant to be very sticky and like a very thick cake-batter the dough will become less sticky during the first rising. So please resist the urge to "correct" the recipe’s measurements. Just do what the recipe says and you won't be disappointed. As the dough (sticky batter) rises, the water absorbs into the flour and the final mixture will become more like a normal soft dough.
3. The dough is very yellow (as compared to normal bread dough) mainly due to the use of butter and eggs.
4. You should “pour” the soft dough into the rising bowl. And let it rise the dough will become less sticky and more firm but it will be soft dough. And it rises a lot so use a large bowl. The dough might take up to 2 hours (even longer) to double in size; rising time depends on: how much kneading you did, temperature and humidity:- so don't worry too much if nothing happens after an hour just wait it will happen.
5. You can keep the (first-rise) dough in the refrigerator up to four days before you roll it out and second-rise and deep-fry it.
6. I only needed a tiny amount of flour (about 1 tablespoon) on the counter to 'pat' out the soft dough to 3/8 inch (9mm) thick to do the cutting of the doughnut shapes. I lightly floured the cutting tools so they wouldn't stick to the soft dough.
7. I used a small piping connector to cut out the inner 'hole' of the doughnut.
8. I had no trouble lifting the cut-out and risen doughnuts from the counter into the hot oil. I used my lightly-floured fingers and hands to lift the risen doughnuts no problems.
9. Cooking the doughnuts only took about 30 seconds each side I used a thermometer to check the oil temperature. If you do not have a thermometer you can test the temperature by placing a small piece of white bread in the oil it should brown in about 60 seconds. If the oil is too cold the doughnuts will absorb the cooking oil and will became very greasy and if the oil is too hot the outside of the doughnut will cook too quickly while the inside will still be doughy.
10. I used rice bran oil which has a very high smoke point 490°F/254°C and has a very mild (almost flavourless) taste, I particularly dislike canola oil for deep-frying since it has a fishy/strange taste and odour to it, though I do use a combination of canola oil and olive oil for most of my shallow frying.
11. If you like your doughnuts sweet increase the sugar to ½ cup.

Special notes if you are making the dough by hand (not using a machine to mix the dough)
1. I have made high-hydration doughs many hundred's of times so I have a lot of experience with them.
2. The dough will be to sticky to knead by hand without adding a lot of extra flour and it will be very messy so if you are making the dough by hand, just roughly combine the dough ingredients using a plastic scraper (see first picture below) or wooden spoon. No need to knead too much; a longer resting/rising time is equivalent to kneading that is if you only roughly knead for one minute or so and let the dough rise for a longer time this is equivalent to kneading for a longer time. I only roughly combined the dough ingredients for a minute with a plastic scraper and let the dough rise for about 1½ hour (½ hour longer than the stated time in the recipe) which made the final dough silky and allowed the gluten to develop to maximum hydration.
3. The initial dough will look wet, very soft, sticky and not-combined but after rising/resting it will combine into a fully-hydrated (i.e. the gluten well-developed) mass.
4. Don't worry too much about the look and feel of the dough on initial mixing, only really look and feel the dough after the first rising (if you only roughly mixed the dough at the beginning the rising time will be longer than the stated time in the given recipe but the dough will come together with full gluten development) then flour the counter and cutting tools use the minimum extra flour to help you cut, shape and re-rise the doughnuts so they can be deep-fried. .

If you using a mixing machine just follow the instructions given in the recipe.

Slight changes I did to the given recipe
1. I used 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in the milk to make a buttermilk substitute (I reduced the amount of warm water by 2 tablespoons) adding vinegar in the milk makes the dough more tender.
2. I used 1/3 cup vanilla-sugar instead of the normal table sugar since I had it to hand and I thought the ¼ cup of sugar in the recipe was too little. Even with the 1/3 cup of vanilla-sugar the final doughnuts were only mildly sweet (without the icing sugar coating).
3. I didn't use any nutmeg since I don't like it.
4. I did two doughnut shapes, the normal doughnut with a hole and “German” doughnuts that have no central holes and are filled with berry jam and coated with icing (powdered) sugar.

Here is the sticky soft dough after one minute of mixing with a plastic dough scraper, you don't have to mix it too much, the rising time (which will be longer if you don't knead the dough too much) will develop the gluten to the correct hydration level. Notice how wet and soft the dough is and how undeveloped the gluten is in the mixture.

After 1½ hours of rising the dough is firmer and is one-silky-mass and the gluten threads are well hydrated. Notice how the dough is one homogeneous mass, compare this picture with the one above.

The patted out dough, it is so soft you can easily pat it to the correct thickness I only needed to add a tiny amount of flour onto the board so the dough won't stick.

How I cut out the doughnut shapes, remember not to twist the cutter just push the cutter down, twisting the cutter will give you jagged edges that lead to unattractive serrations to the doughnut shapes and causes misshapen doughnuts..

Cut-out doughnut shapes

The doughnuts after the second rising (in my case 45 minutes)

The deep-fried doughnut shapes, mine took about 30 seconds each side. The doughnuts increase in size by a factor of two or so while deep-frying.

Close-up of the interior of the traditional doughnut shape, notice how airy it is, it is melt in your mouth soft and the crust is very thin and crisp. Certainly the best doughnuts I have tasted.

Close-up of the interior of the “German” styled doughnut (no hole and filled with berry jam), notice the large holes and how soft it is yum yum, this is my favourite shape for doughnuts they are absolutely delicious.

The final doughnuts covered in icing (powdered) sugar

If you don't like deep-frying you can bake them!
I noticed in the challenge thread that a number of people were interested in baking the doughnuts I did some experimenting. This dough makes marvellous sweet buns. I investigated and baked a doughnut shaped bun and a round bun for 10 minutes in a preheated hot oven 220°C/430°F/gas mark 7 they bake beautifully and the oven-spring (how much the buns rise in the oven) is amazing. The best shape is the “German” style of doughnuts without a hole since the normal shape closes up when baked (see photograph) I suppose if you want holes make them very big so they do not close up in baking or use special doughnut baking pans that have inserts that create holes in the final baked doughnuts. It would be best to brush them with melted butter straight from oven and dust with icing (powdered) sugar. These sweet buns are really yummy and taste remarkably similar to the deep-fried ones. I increased the sugar 1/2 cup to compensate for not deep-frying,

The baked sweet buns

The crumb of the sweet buns

These doughnuts are best eaten on the day made, but freeze very well. Reheat in a moderately hot oven 400F/200C for ten minutes.

Making the doughnuts in advance
Just put the dough-batter straight (with the bare minimum of kneading) into the refrigerator and let it do its rising in there, there is no need to heat the milk just barely melt the butter/shortening so it will incorporate into the dough-batter. Use this amount of yeast in the recipe for each day the dough-batter will be in the refrigerator
1 day in the refrigerator use 4 teaspoons of yeast
2 days in the refrigerator use 3 teaspoons of yeast
3 days in the refrigerator use 2 teaspoons of yeast
4 days in the refrigerator use 1 teaspoon of yeast
which will allow the dough to be ready on the day needed (the yeast will increase in number and rise the dough by the time it is needed) and the longer time dough rises the better it tastes so your brunch group will be in for a special treat - Slow raised doughnuts. Try to go for the longest rising time to get maximum taste to the dough-batter.

Tips about recycling the frying oil
Reusing cooking oil has been done for ages. There really isn't a problem, if done properly. The greatest hazard is allowing the fat to become rancid (spoiled) and deteriorated to the point it produces undesirable flavors and odors. Besides ruining what would have been a perfectly good meal, rancid oils also contain free radicals that are potentially carcinogenic. Rancid oil has fewer antioxidants but is not poisonous.

To re-use oil safely, use these tips:

Strain it through a few layers of cheesecloth to catch any food particles. Be careful with hot oil, though, because you can easily get burned.
Shake off excess batter from food before frying it.
Use a good thermometer to fry foods at 190°C.
Turn off the heat after you are done cooking. Exposing oil to prolonged heat accelerates rancidity.
Don't mix different types of oil.
Store oil in a cool, dark place.
Avoid iron or copper pots or pans for frying oil that is to be reused. These metals also accelerate rancidity.

Signs of Deteriorated Oil:
Oil darkens with use because the oil and food molecules burn when subjected to high/prolonged heat.
The more you use an oil, the more slowly it will pour. Its viscosity changes because of changes to the oil's molecular structure.
Loose absorbent particles accumulate as sediment at the bottom of the storage container or are suspended in the oil.
When smoke appears on the oils' surface before the temperature reaches 190 degrees C (375 degrees F), your oil will no longer deep-fry effectively.
If the oil has a rancid or "off" smell or if it smells like the foods you've cooked in it, it should be discarded.

Savoury Doughnuts
I wanted to make savoury doughnuts so I decided to make lihapiirakka (Traditional Savoury Finnish doughnuts) and a more modern version with cheddar cheese and ham.

Lihapiirakka is a deep-fried doughnut filled with combination of cooked rice, onion and minced meat I had these a lot when I was growing up I just love them, since I had some slowly-braised in red-wine beef leftover I used that instead of the normal minced beef I really like this combination .

I also made cheese and ham doughnuts these are good also great for afternoon snack or a party.

Doughnuts rising

Deep-fried doughnuts sprinkled with garlic powder and onion powder

Close-up of doughnuts

Sharp cheddar cheese and ham


Challenge recipes
I really hope you have fun with this challenge!

Recipe Source: Lori included four recipes:

The yeast doughnut is from Alton Brown:

The cake doughnut is a Nancy Silverton recipe:

The raspberry jam bomboloni recipe is a Kate Neumann recipe:

The pumpkin doughnuts are from Bon Appétit: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Doughnuts-with-Powdered-Sugar-Glaze-and-Spiced-Sugar-Doughnut-Holes-230926

Blog-checking lines: The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Note: I recommend placing your uncooked doughnut on your slotted spoon first and lowering it into the hot oil that way to reduce the chance of injury. Also, try to always turn the spoon away from you to reduce the chances of oil splashing back up.

Mandatory Items: Use any of the recipes provided. Naturally, accommodations are made for those with dietary/allergic restrictions. I’ve attached a link to a gluten free recipe below in the “Additional Information” section.

Variations allowed: Use your creativity to take these recipes and tweak them to come up with new, delicious varieties of doughnuts. You can use any type of toppings and fillings, you can make any shape you’d like, and you can make any size you like. You can add ingredients to the batters to make flavored doughnuts. The possibilities are endless.

Preparation time:
See recipes for prep/rising/cooking times for each.

Equipment required:

  • A Dutch oven or deep skillet (I prefer using a Dutch oven to reduce splatter)

  • Deep fry thermometer, candy thermometer or any thermometer that will withstand and measure temperatures of up to 380 degrees

  • Metal slotted spoon, metal slotted spatula or tongs (do NOT use plastic - it will melt!)

  • Cookie sheets or a wire rack lined with paper towels to allow doughnuts to drain

  • Electric hand mixer or stand mixer, or a bowl and a spoon if you are able to utilize a lot of elbow grease

  • Doughnut or biscuit cutters or you can use a glass and a piping tip for the center

  • Pastry bag (if you choose to make Bomboloni or any filled doughnut) or a squeeze bottle with a good tip that will poke a hole in your Bomboloni. Another way to fill a doughnut is to use the tip of a sharp knife to poke a hole in the doughnut and then use a ziplock bag filled with filling and cut on one corner to fill the doughnut.

Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)

  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. 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.

  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

  6. 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 (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).

  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.

  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).

  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Cooking time - 12 minutes

Yield: About 15 doughnuts & 15 doughnut holes, depending on size

Sour Cream ¼ cup / 60 ml / 60 gm / 2 oz
All Purpose Flour 3¼ cup / 780 ml / 455 gm / 16 oz + extra for dusting surface
White Granulated Sugar¾ cup / 180 ml / 170 gm / 6 oz
Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Baking Powder 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Kosher (Flaked) Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz (If using table salt, only use ½ teaspoon)
Nutmeg, grated 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / .3 oz
Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon / 5.6 ml / 3.5 gm / .125 oz
Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon / 210 ml / 225 gm / 7 ¾ oz
Egg, Large 1
Egg Yolk, Large 2
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon / 15 ml
Powdered (Icing) Sugar ¼ cup / 120 ml / 65 gm / 2.3 oz (Used for decorating and is optional)


  1. In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.

  2. Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C.

  3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.

  4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.

  5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.

  6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary, but with my oil at 375 °F/190°C, I found they only took about 20 to 30 seconds per side.

  7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.


Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 35 minutes
Rising time - 1 1/2 hours plus overnight
Cooking time - 10 minutes

Yield: About 32 Bomboloni

Water, Lukewarm 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon
Active Dry Yeast 3¼ teaspoon (1.5 pkgs.) / 16.25 ml / 10 gm / .35 oz
Honey 1.5 Tablespoon / 22.5 ml
All Purpose Flour 3 cup / 720 ml / 420 gm / 14 ¾ oz
Milk 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml
Egg Yolk, Large 6
White Granulated Sugar 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 75 gm / 2 2/3 oz + more for rolling
Kosher (Flaked) Salt 2 teaspoon / 10 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Butter, Unsalted 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml / 42 gm / 1.5 oz
Canola Oil 3 cup / 720 ml / (Or any other flavorless oil used for frying)
Raspberry Jam, Seedless ¾ cup / 180 ml / 300 gm / 10.5 oz (or any flavor jam, preserves, jelly)


  1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, mix the water, yeast, honey and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (160 gm) of the flour. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients by hand.) Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 1 hour.

  2. Return the bowl to the mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (260 gm) of flour, along with the milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and the salt. Mix at low speed until blended, then add the butter and knead at medium speed until silky but sticky, about 5 minutes; the dough will not pull away from the side of the bowl.

  3. Using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

  4. In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil to 360°F/180°C. Line a rack with paper towels. Fill a shallow bowl with 1/2 inch (12 mm)of granulated sugar. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough a scant 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Using a 2-inch (50 mm) round biscuit cutter, stamp out rounds. The original recipe said to not re-roll the dough, but I did and found it to be fine. Fry the rounds, 4 to 5 at a time, until they are browned, about 4 minutes (mine only took about a minute each – try to go more by sight). Be sure to keep the oil between 360°F and 375°F 180°C and 190°C. Drain the bomboloni on paper towels.

  5. Roll them in the granulated sugar.

Filling Directions:

Fit a pastry bag with a plain donut tip (or a 1/4-inch (6 mm) tip) and fill with the preserves (you can also use a squeeze bottle). Poke the tip three-fourths of the way into the bomboloni and squeeze in the preserves, pulling the tip out slightly as you squeeze to fill them as much as possible. Serve warm.

Pumpkin Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 15 minutes
Chilling time - 3 hours
Cooking time - 10 minutes

Yield: About 24 doughnuts & 24 doughnut holes

All Purpose Flour 3.5 cup / 840 ml / 490 gm / 17 ¼ oz
Baking Powder 4 teaspoon / 20 ml / 24 gm / .85 oz
Table Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Cinnamon, ground 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Ginger, ground ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Nutmeg, ground ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml / 1.5 gm / .05 oz
Cloves, ground 1/8 teaspoon / .6 ml / ¾ gm / .025 oz
White Granulated Sugar 1 cup / 240 ml / 225 gm / 8 oz
Butter, Unsalted 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml / 42 gm / 1.5 oz
Egg, Large 1
Egg Yolk, Large 2
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon / 5 ml
Buttermilk ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon / 135 ml
Pumpkin 1 cup / 240 ml / 285 gm / 10 oz (Canned pure pumpkin or fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin – DON’T use pumpkin pie mix!)
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

Powdered (Icing) Sugar 2 cup / 480 ml / 250 gm / 9 oz
Whipping Cream (About 32% butter fat) 4 Tablespoon + more if needed / 60 ml


  1. Whisk together the first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (the mixture will be grainy and not smooth). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.

  2. Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch (12 mm to 15 mm) thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) -diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.

  3. Using 1-inch (25 mm) diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.

  4. Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches (40 mm). Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F (185°C to 188°C). Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.

Glaze Directions:

  1. Whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze.

  2. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead.

  3. Add doughnut holes to bowl of spiced sugar and toss to coat.

  4. Spread doughnuts on 1 side with powdered sugar glaze.

  5. Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.

Additional Information:

Gluten-free recipe from Whole Living Daily:

Nancy Silverton’s instructions for doughnut making:

Alton Brown making the Yeast Doughnuts:

This video is adorable – it’s a girl who has never made doughnuts before. What’s great too is that she uses what she has and didn’t buy any extra equipment/gadgets. Oh and it’s funny. ;)

A baked version of doughnuts and he shows how to make them in a bowl using a spoon + kneading:

Photos of doughnuts for inspiration on Flickr:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 2010 Daring Cooks' Stuffed & Rolled Leaves

Stuffed and rolled leaves

This month's Daring Cooks' challenge was to roll leaves (grape, cabbage or kale) and stuff them.

Our host for this month was Lori of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

What an enjoyable challenge I tried three version of stuffed leaves, grape, cabbage and perilla. I loved all of them, the cabbage leaves were a childhood recipe that my mum made, the grape (vine) leaves were dolmades and the perilla leaves were tasty bite-sized deep-fried morsels.

Recipe Source: I have chosen two recipes for October. One of the recipes comes from Aromas of Aleppo written by Poopa Dweck and Michael J. Cohen. The other is from Claudia Roden's, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Blog-checking lines: Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Download the printable pdf file HERE

Stuffed Grape leaves with lamb, feta cheese, pomegranate molasses and sumac
What a time consuming challenge (3½ hours for 120 dolmades) but so so worth it. I decided to “jazz” up the second recipe using lamb, loads of dill, mint and other herbs, semi-dried tomatoes, pistachios, preserved lemon and pomegranate molasses. I cooked 62 dolmades and froze the other 58 (uncooked).

I had a jar of preserved lemons (from another Daring Cooks' challenge) so I used the peel of one preserved lemon instead of the juice one lemon, also I used pomegranate molasses, pistachio and sumac (which has a lemon taste great on salads and meat) to impart a Middle Eastern flavour profile to the dolmades.

About preserved grape leaves
1. A 600 gram (21 oz) jar of preserved grape (vine) leaves contains about 65 good leaves and about 15 torn or small leaves.
2. Soak the leaves in boiling water for 30 minutes to soften them and then rinse them in fresh cold water several times. This is most important since the brining liquid is very salty and if the leaves are not rinsed with fresh water they will have gritty grains of salt in them yuck yuck.
3. Make sure the vein side is up (notice the raised veins on the leaf) and then fill them so the smooth shiny side is showing on the completed dolmade.

When layering the dolmades for poaching make the alternating layers run at different angles to each other so that the water can circulate more freely. Do not have more than 3 or 4 layers because the bottom layer will be ready before the top-most layer.

I used a steamer plate with a water-filled bowl to keep the dolmades from unravelling.

Make absolutely sure that the amount of liquid only goes up ¾ way up the dolmades since they will give off some liquid. If you have extra poaching liquid freeze and use again when you are making the second batch these dolmades will be even better than the first batch since the poaching liquid will be highly flavoured.

I cooled the dolmades for an hour and am storing them in the fridge overnight since most of the web-sites suggest that overnight storage will improve the final taste of the stuffed-grape-leaves.

I eat a few of the dolmades after cooling they are great, looking forward to the result tomorrow. Notice how the rice has swelled, using risotto rice gives a great look to filling.

Some of the ingredients for the Middle Eastern filling

The stems of the herbs are used as the lining of the poaching pot

The preserved grape leaves soaking
Some of the 120 dolmades I rolled

The layered dolmades in the saucepan

How I weighed down the dolmades

The interior of the dolmades

Below is the recipe in full

Stuffed Grape leaves with lamb, feta cheese, pomegranate molasses and sumac
Makes about 120 dolmades
Grapes Leaves
2 jars (600 gm/21 ozs each) preserved grape (vine) leaves, soaked in hot water 30 minutes and rinsed in fresh cold water several times
Meat and rice filling
1 lb (455 gm) minced lamb
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2⅓ oz) (65 gm) small grained rice like risotto (Arborio), soaked in hot (no salt) lamb stock for 30 minutes
Middle Eastern filling
100 gm (3½ oz) feta (Greek-style) cheese, finely crumbed
¼ cup (60 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) raisins
20 semi-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped, reserve 3 tablespoons of the oil
¼ cup (60 ml) (1⅓ oz) (40 gm) pistachios, toasted and chopped
1 preserved lemon, flesh removed and rind finely chopped
½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped, reserve the stems
½ cup dill tips, finely chopped, reserve the stems
½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, reserve the stems
½ cup chives, finely chopped
½ cup green (spring) onions (scallions), finely chopped
½ cup tarragon, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
12 olives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon sumac
2 teaspoons cinnamon, freshly ground
2 teaspoons pepper, freshly cracked
1½ teaspoon allspice
Poaching liquid and saucepan lining ingredients
Stems of the herbs and the torn and small grape leaves for lining the base of saucepan
Juice and zest from one lemon
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons of reserved oil from the semi-dried tomatoes
½ cup water or lamb stock (maybe less)
(Use the lining ingredients first, layer the dolmades in the saucepan, then add the lemon juice, olive oil, semi-dried tomato oil and then enough water to fill the saucepan to ¾ of the way up.)
(You can use browned lamb bones to line the base of the saucepan if you wish)

The cost for each dolmade was 16½ cents, so for 120 dolmades the total cost was $19.80. In the local shop non-meat dolmades (which aren't that good really I have to admit very bland) are $2 for ten so are 20 cents each, their meat-filled dolmades (only adequate) are $4 for ten so are 40 cents each.

Dolmades with lamb, feta cheese, pomegranate molasses and sumac

After storage for a day I thought I would serve them as an appetiser with avgolemono sauce for lunch. The lemon-egg sauce really adds that final touch to make them super delicious.

Cut section of the dolmades

I thought I would post a couple of recipes for avgolemono sauce

(Avgolemono) Lemon Egg Sauce (uncooked version)
This is the secret to dolmades! Whisk the juice of 1-1/2 lemon and 2 egg yolks until combined. While whisking quickly, slowly add 1 cup liquid from dolmades to the lemon-egg yolk mixture. Whisk egg whites until frothy. Add frothed egg whites and combine. Pour mixture over warm dolmades and serve. This will make your dolmades perfect!

Avgolemono Roux Sauce
Melt two tablespoons of butter.
Add two tablespoons of flour to it and whisk to make a roux.

In a sauce pan over medium heat warm up one cup of lamb or chicken stock or the broth from the poaching saucepan.

In a bowl whisk together until frothy:
The juice of one lemon.
Two eggs.
A splash of water.

Add the roux to the stock and whisk to combine. Add the lemon-egg mixture to the sauce and continue to whisk until thick. Do not boil the sauce.

Finnish Cabbage Rolls (Kaalikääryleet)

Cabbage rolls are one of those foods that exist in one version or another all over the planet, but my favourite are the one's that my Finnish mother made me. Here's the recipe.

This is not fast food. It takes at least 4 hours to prepare and cook the rolls, and you have to stick around nearby to keep an eye on them. However, you can make a big batch at once (this recipe serves 4 to 6) and the taste and texture actually improve if reheated, and it is recommended that you do store them for a day or two and then reheat. Finnish cabbage rolls freeze beautifully, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in a preheated oven set at moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 for about 20 minutes with a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom. Or microwave for about 10 minutes turning the rolls once during this time.

Ingredients: Rolls
1 large head of cabbage

Ingredients: Filling
1 pound (455 gm) ground beef (you can use a mixture of veal and pork if you wish)
1/2 cup rice, uncooked
3/4 cup beef broth
1 onion, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed (optional)
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients: Basting
1 tablespoon molasses (or golden syrup or strong honey)
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

1. Cook rice in the broth this makes about 1½ cups of cooked rice.
2. Sauté chopped onions until translucent.
3. Remove the core of the cabbage using a serrated knife. Boil cabbage head in lightly salted water until leaves become translucent, about 10 minutes. Use tongs to rotate the head of cabbage so you have even cooking.
4. Carefully peel off about 15 of the large outer leaves, one at a time, by cutting the thick leaf stem. The inner leaves cook more slowly, you may find it useful to remove only a few leaves at a time and let the rest cook while preparing rolls. Make sure that the leaves are soft and all the leaves have the same degree of doneness. If the cabbage leaves aren't boiled enough they will never soften enough in the baking process.
5. Shave off the protruding thick stem on the "outer" side of each leaf; this makes wrapping much easier.
6. Prepare filling by mixing the cooked rice with the raw meat, sautéed onion, egg, optional marjoram, salt and pepper.
7. To make each roll, place about 2-3 tablespoons of filling near the stem end, fold end on top, wrap the sides and roll. Make sure all the rolls are the same size.
8. Preheat oven to very hot 480°F/250°C/gas mark 9¼ or as hot as the oven can go.
9. Place the filled cabbage rolls seam side down in a tight even layer on a well greased shallow baking dish. Sprinkle rolls with salt and pour a thin lattice of molasses on top. Dot rolls with tiny lumps of butter. Pour the water into the bottom of the pan.
10. Bake for 30 minutes (check occasionally during this time that the rolls are not burning on the bottom) then reduce the temperature to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
11. Bake about 1½ to 2 hours check every 30 minutes the cabbage rolls will brown on top during this time. Spoon some pan juice atop the rolls every now and then; add more water or molasses if they dry up too much. In the last 30 minutes remove most of the excess liquid in the baking pan and reduce in a small saucepan until it coats the back of a spoon (like thin honey) ladle a tablespoon or so over the cabbage rolls a couple of times in the last 30 minutes. Constantly check the rolls at this stage since they can burn on the bottom if the pan juices dry out. The reduced pan juices (mainly molasses, butter and salt) are supposed to soak into the cabbage and turn the top of each roll a nice glistening dark brown. Do not confuse this with the cabbage drying out and burning.
12. Turn off oven and let them sit there and soak up the pan juices for an hour or two.

Serving suggestions
Serve as a main course, with boiled potatoes and lingonberry/cranberry preserves to provide a tart contrast.

Freeze any leftovers and reheat when you feel like it. A single small, juicy roll is also quite usable as an appetiser.

Ingredients cabbage leaves – remove outer green leaves and core the cabbage

Ingredients filling – minced meat, cooked rice, onion, one egg, salt and pepper

Ingredients basting – golden syrup, butter and salt

Unmixed filling mixture

Mixed filling mixture

Boil the cabbage and remove leaves when they are soft and pliable

How to roll a cabbage roll
Roll out cabbage leaf

Shave off the protruding thick stem on the "outer" side of each leaf

Filling and rolling the cabbage roll

Line the baking pan with the filled rolls

The left-over ingredients; the innermost centre of the cabbage and a small amount of filling, perfect for making cabbage soup.

Unbaked dish glazed with golden syrup and dotted with butter

After two hours of baking

After 2½ hours of baking with basting in the last ½ hour notice the huge difference in the appearance, gleaming with deliciousness.

Perilla leaves deep fried and stuffed with blue cheese, salami, olives, semi-dried tomatoes & rice
I wanted to make a recipe using fresh leaves I searched the local markets and found fresh perilla leaves (also called the beefsteak plant, shiso, purple mint, Japanese basil, or wild coleus) which are so pretty - green on one side and violet on the another side. They taste like fennel and apple with a lot of basil and mint the flavour profile is intense since the leaves are full of essential oils. The leaves are reasonably tough and can withstand some simmering (about 10 mins) and they fry really well to a crisp leaf and frying intensifies the mint and basil aspects of the taste. So I thought I would crumb (bread) and deep fry the stuffed perilla leaves.

These are incredibly rich and four parcels are a serving. They have a wonderful mouth-feel and an intense blue cheese and olive taste with a basil/mint aftertaste, so yummy and tasty. Excellent party food you will only need a few to feel very full.

Deep fried perilla leaves stuffed with blue cheese, salami, olives, semi-dried tomatoes & rice
Makes 48 parcels
¼ cup blue cheese
¼ cup salami, chopped
¼ cup olives, chopped
¼ cup semi-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup rice, cooked
48 fresh perilla (shiso)leaves
Ingredients for crumbing
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk, beaten lightly
oil for deep frying
Combine using a wooden spoon the blue cheese, salami, olives, semi-dried tomatoes and rice until smooth.
Wrap one teaspoon of mixture using a perilla leaf.
Flour, egg wash and crumb each perilla leaf parcel do not cover evenly (tempura style) so when the crumbing is deep fried the crisp perilla leaf will show through in places.
Deep fry each side of the parcel for 30 seconds.
Drain each parcel on paper towels.

Fresh Perilla leaves (I used the Vietnamese species). See here for a listing of types.

A smooth mixture of blue cheese, salami, olives, semi-dried tomatoes and rice

Perilla leaves parcels

Crumbed perilla parcels

Deep fried perilla parcels

Close up of perilla parcels