Donuts, Doughnuts, Doooooonuts!
I'm from California, Los Angeles to be exact. What does that have to do with donuts, you ask? Well, I recently moved to GA and quickly noticed you just can't find small family owned donut shop. I don't really miss California's hustle and bustle, traffic, and exhorbitant living expenses, but I really miss the beach, and year around sunshine, ANNNNNND DONUTS, good donuts.
So I woke up determined to make some donuts. I researched recipes online but none of them resonated with me, so i decided to come up with my own recipe. If I failed, no one would know but me, and the poor ingredients who would have sacrificed their purpose to be something great to my failure. Yeast donuts; I just wanted a good yeast donut. For most, using yeast can be very scary but if handled properly, yeast can be your best friend.The result is a very soft, tender dough, begging to be turned into a masterpiece.
A lot of recipes call for you to put your dough in a mixer with a dough hook and knead for a few minutes, but I prefer to knead by hand. WHY, you ask? Why am I making your life complicated? Because the best things in life take patience, and a delicate touch. Suuuuure, the machine will get the job done, but it's the feel and touch of dough that let's you know when it's ready :). Your dough is ready to go when it's very soft and pillowy, and gives slightly when poked with your finger. Once you experience feeling this sort of goodness develop in the palms of your hands, you'll ditch that mixer and dough hook. There's something magical about creating with your hands, and baking is an art, so let's get our hands dirty.
Make sure you have a bit of time when you're doing this, as this process will take a few hours. I mixed up my dough, and while I was waiting for it to rise, I did my chores so it didn't feel like it took so long. Fret not, they will be worth the wait (see below).
OMG!!! Do you see this 👆goodness? It's just begging to be devoured, so let's get on with it, shall we?
Dee's Downright Delicious Donuts
1.5 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
Two tbsp warm water
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c warm cashew milk
5 tbsp melted earth balance
3 c all purpose flour
1 c powdered sugar
2-4 tbsp cashew or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl, stir together first two ingredients until combined and set aside. In a large mixing bowl add the yeast, sugar, salt, warm milk (the milk should be about 105°, think the temp of a baby's bath water), and melted earth balance, and egg replacer and whisk until combined and sugar is dissolved. *NOTE: whatever you do, do NOT add hot liquids to the yeast. Yeast are living organisms, too much heat will kill them, and you will end up with a very dense and flat dough.
Fold in flour and knead on a clean dry surface for 5 minutes. To knead dough, use the heel of your hand to push the ball of dough down and away from you. Pick the dough up, rotate 90°, and fold over on itself and repeat for 5 to 6 minutes. Dough should be very soft and pliable but not sticky. If the dough is sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour and knead for another minute or so. Pour a bit of extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil into a glass bowl, place the dough in the bowl and rotate until it is completely covered with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Make an airtight seal so dough doesn't dry out.
Place bowl in a very warm place and allow to rise until it quadruples in size. I know the rule is to generally allow it to double in size, but give it the extra time so the yeast fully develops. This will take about an hour and 45 minutes. I turn on my oven to 350 and sit the bowl right on top of the stove.
Once dough has quadrupled in size, punch it down and place it on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and use a donut cutter or two cookie cutters (large and small) to cut out donuts and holes. Place donuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a moist dishtowel, and allow to rise for another 45 minutes. Donuts will double in size.
Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a small saucepan to 275° (a candy thermometer will be very helpful here). Gently place donuts in oil and fry until golden brown on each side, appr. 30 seconds. Use chopstick or slotted spoon to flip the donuts. Avoid using tongs so as not to deflate the donuts. Remove donut from oil and transer onto a wire rack or large plate lined with paper towels. Use tongs when frying the donut holes.
Glaze: Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth, dip donuts in and transfer to a wire rack or plate. Serve warm.