How to Make Yeast Doughnuts with Vanilla Bean Icing

Much of the intimidation factor attached to making your own doughnuts is the frying. With our tutorial, you’ll be able to face your fear of frying with confidence.

Step one: To tell if you properly mixed your dough, study the consistency. This dough will be softer than others, and you won’t be conducting a windowpane test to check gluten development. Instead, make sure it isn’t excessively wet, only slightly sticky.

Step two: When punching out your doughnuts, don’t twist the cutter and keep it well-floured between each cut so it doesn’t catch on the sticky dough. After you’ve rerolled the scraps for a second cutting, let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow it to relax and make it easier to work with.

Step three: When gently poked, properly proofed doughnuts will hold the indentation without collapsing. If the dough just bounces back, the doughnuts are still underproofed and need more time. Wait another 5 to 10 minutes and then perform another poke test.

Step 4: Before you fry, you need to have your oil prepped and ready. That means having it poured to up to 2 inches deep in your pot and at the temperature called for in the recipe (365°F/185°C in the case of our yeast doughnuts).

Step 5: Placing the raw doughnut into the hot oil can be a bit hairy, but with our greased parchment paper acting as a sling, you should be able to gently slide the doughnut into the oil without a splash. Bubbles should immediately begin forming around the dough—if not, check the temperature of the oil to make sure it’s hot enough.

Step 6: While frying, it’s important not to overcrowd the pot or it’ll reduce the temperature of the oil, so cook 2 at a time. Because doughnuts have a hole in the center, they have extra surface area and thus, cook faster than other doughs. In a minute’s time, you’ll turn them to reveal a golden underside.

Step 4: Once both doughnuts have been turned and fried until golden, you’ll want to immediately transfer them to prepared pans to cool. If icing, let cool completely. If using cinnamon sugar (see page 65), let the doughnuts cool for only 10 to 15 minutes.

You have two options for your yeasted doughnut coating: a dunk in a traditional vanilla bean glaze or a roll in crunchy cinnamon sugar. If you opt for the glaze, make sure your doughnut has completely cooled after frying, or it’ll melt the glaze. For the cinnamon-sugar, a still-warm doughnut is required to ensure that the sugar granules will adhere to the surface.

PRO TIP: For a cinnamon-sugar variation, let doughnuts cool for 10 to 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar and 4 teaspoons (8 grams) ground cinnamon. Working in batches, toss warm doughnuts in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

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