Baked Doughnuts

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Baked DoughnutsAs I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been a huge fan of doughnuts. Growing up, we ate bagels or cereal for breakfast, and doughnuts were thought of as a dessert. When I went away to college, doughnuts were available everywhere, and when I entered the working world, I noticed they were a regular early morning treat. I still never got into them, mainly because of the greasy feeling in my mouth and the heavy blah I would feel in my stomach after eating them.

So when I had a random craving for doughnuts (I blame the Food Network), I Googled recipes for baked doughnuts and figured I’d give them a shot. Since I was trapped in my neighborhood this morning thanks to the LA Marathon, and the weather had finally cooled down enough to even think about turning on my oven, it seemed like the perfect day.

I halved the recipe, because I was afraid I would either a) not like them or b) like them, and didn’t want to have too many, either way. The process was fairly easy although time consuming, as are most yeast breads. The dough came together really nicely using the dough hook, and was easy to work with as well. Since I don’t have a doughnut cutter (oddly, there is such a thing), I used a 2-inch biscuit cutter, and the bottom of a pastry bag tip to cut out the inner circle. You can improvise–before I finally got around to buying a biscuit cutter, I used a drinking glass. Just look around your kitchen, you’ll find circular things.

Because I’m used to fried doughnuts, I was expecting these to be heavy, but was happily surprised to discover they were light and airy. The dips in butter and cinnamon-sugar finished the doughnuts off perfectly, and I can definitely see myself bringing these to a friend’s house–for brunch or dessert.

Baked Doughnuts

And don’t forget about the bonus doughnut holes. Enjoy!

Photos of the process here.

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes. Be sure your milk isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. If your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. If it’s too dry, add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place, and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. If you don’t have a doughnut cutter, use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes–start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and toss in the sugar bowl.

Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen medium doughnuts. (And just as many doughnut holes!)

Recipe from 101 Cookbooks.