When you don't feel like trekking to the doughnut shop to satisfy a craving, just make your own at home. The process of mixing the dough is not all that different from making other types of bread. When it comes to rolling out the tasty creations, however, you'll need to get the thickness right for the best final product.
Making the Dough
Home cooks have a choice of two types of doughnuts -- cake or yeast. Yeast doughnuts, like yeast breads, must rise before the dough is ready to work with. Cake doughnuts have no yeast; once the batter is mixed, it's ready to be worked. Once ready, both types of doughnuts need to be rolled out to a 1/2-inch thickness before frying. If you have a doughnut pan for baking doughnuts, pour the batter for cake doughnuts directly into the pan.
If you roll out doughnuts that are too thick, the rounds will not cook thoroughly in the suggested frying time. Undercooked doughnuts have a doughy and unappealing interior. Cooking thick doughnuts in the fryer long enough to cook the interior will result in an overcooked exterior. Donuts that are rolled too thin, on the other hand, have a poor texture overall because they are easily overcooked and, in the case of yeast doughnuts, won't rise much during proofing.
Techniques Count, Too
To prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling surface, dust the area -- and your rolling pin -- with a small amount of flour. Choose a rolling surface that is cool and smooth, not a textured surface such as a wooden cutting board. Marble is excellent for rolling out dough, but any surface in your kitchen away from a heat source is suitable. To keep your dough an even thickness, place 1/2-inch thick wooden sticks at the width of your rolling pin. Some rolling pins also have adjustable wheels that set the pin to a 1/2-inch height.
How to Avoid Tough Dough
When mixing and kneading doughnut dough, work it as little as possible. Too much handling can make the dough tough and result in dense doughnuts, rather than airy ones. The extra handling can also result in misshapen doughnuts. Dust the rolling surface with as little flour as possible. Too much flour on the surface of the doughnut can lead to tough doughnuts and make them collapse when they hit the deep fryer. The excess flour can also burn in the fryer and give your doughnuts a charred flavor.
- King Arthur Flour: Doughnut Recipes
- Belshaw-Adamatic: Donut Making Tips
- Baking Industry Research Trust: Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
- Better Home & Gardens New Cookbook; Gerald Knox (editor)
- Betty Crocker's New Cookbook; Jean E. Kozar (editor)
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