Who Needs No-Knead Doughnuts?

One of the things I love most about blogging, is that it has forced me to go outside of my comfort zone in the kitchen and to try things that I've never tried before. One of the things that I don't love so much about blogging, is that it has also shown me how much I don't know. Before I created this site, I considered myself pretty hot stuff in the kitchen. I regularly amazed both family and friends with my culinary wizardry. When guests "oohed" and "aahed" over my latest creations, I'd nod and smugly smile, secure in the fact that my status as a kitchen goddess was unshakable. I rocked!
Today was one of those days I didn't love. Today was the day that I attempted to master a skill that I am completely unskilled at. Today was the day that I tried to replicate something in my kitchen that would normally send me running out, screaming into the night. Today was the day that I made doughnuts for the first time.
Now, let me first start off by saying that I adore doughnuts. I have been known to swoon at the mere sight of one of those soft and tender, sweet little pillows of deep fried dough. Whether glazed, chocolate-dipped or jelly-filled, a fresh warm doughnut can always make me weak in the knees! But, making them myself? Well, I've always believed that was one thing that should be left to the experts.
First of all, I've never been good with dough. It intimidates me. Have I added enough flour? Have I added too much flour? Have I kneaded enough or have I kneaded too much? Is the water too hot? Too cold? I'm never really sure if I've done it right. What stress!!! One of the happiest days of my life was the day I first heard about No-Knead Bread. Finally, a simple recipe that eliminated all of the guesswork.
Second, I hate to deep fry anything. I don't know, something about standing over a cauldron of boiling hot oil just makes me cringe. My mother says it's post traumatic stress from when I was badly burned by boiling water as a toddler. I don't remember the incident, but maybe she's right. All I know is that deep frying scares the crap out of me!
Why then, would I subject myself to this unpleasantness? Because two of my favorite bloggers are hosting an event dedicated to.....doughnuts, and there's no way I would miss it. You've got to support your buddies, right? Time to Make the Doughnuts is the brainchild of Helene and Peabody. Any kind of doughnuts are okay, as long as they're sweet ones and are made especially for this event.
Ready to face my fears head on, I searched for a recipe that wouldn't hurt me too badly. I found it in the new, white hot, bestselling baking book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. They actually have a recipe for doughnuts in there! Well, actually, they call them beignets, but we all know that it's practically the same thing. This was perfect! No-Knead Doughnuts. I was psyched!
To make the beignets/doughnuts, you begin with the authors' recipe for a challah or brioche dough. I went with the brioche. It was pretty easy to make. Any idiot could do it, except that this idiot messed it up. I was moving right along, blithely measuring out the ingredients, when my husband came in and started chatting. Engaged in conversation, I mixed up the dough and put it in its container. When I grabbed it up off the counter to put it in the fridge, guess what was hiding there. The water. I FORGOT TO ADD THE %*&#ING WATER TO THE DOUGH! I wasn't about to write off eight eggs, so I dumped it all back in the mixing bowl and churned like crazy! Then, I made the sign of the cross over it and hoped for the best.
This morning, I took out the container and peeked inside. It looked like.....dough! Very wet, sticky, lumpy dough, but dough nonetheless. Hmm. So far, so good. I scooped out a big hunk and rolled it out. Man oh man, that really was some sticky dough! It got all over EVERYTHING, including my laptop! The recipe says to cut the dough into two inch squares and then fill each square with chocolate of jam. I decided on raspberry jam. Frankly, after my last several posts, I was getting a little sick of chocolate. I am still finding bits of ganache from my Rose-Kissed Chocolate Truffles in the darndest places. I filled my doughnuts-in-waiting and let them rest while I heated up the dreaded oil in the tallest pot I could find. Of course, my candy thermometer was missing in action, so I had no way to tell just how hot my oil was getting.
With a long sleeved shirt, goggles and oven mitts on both hands, I proceeded to fry my little lumps of dough into doughnuts. That oil must have been molten lava hot, because they immediately began to turn brown. Not a pretty, golden brown, mind you, but a dark, ugly, burnt brown. Uh oh. Turn down the heat a bit. Wait a few seconds and...S**T! Still ugly brown. By that time, I was already late for work, so I had to press on.
After a while, the doughnuts started frying up to a more acceptable caramel color. Still not what I wanted, but not too bad. At least the filling didn't leak out. After they were cooled and tossed with sugar, I had to try one. Mmmm. They tasted great! Some of the bigger ones still had some doughy bits inside, but frying them any longer would have really burned the outsides. I don't think that Krispy Kreme needs to be be concerned or anything, but all in all, not bad for my first attempt at doughnut making.


If I were to do it over again, I think that I would fry the doughnuts first and inject them with the jam later. It was a real pain trying to stuff the squares of raw dough. That just seems more logical to me. Would I do it again? I don't know. Maybe. I definitely reached out of my comfort zone and learned a few things. But first, I have got to find that thermometer.

Raspberry Filled No Knead Doughnuts

Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
For the Brioche Dough:
1½ cups lukewarm water
1½ tablespoons granulated yeast (1½ packets)
1½ tablespoons salt
8 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup honey
7½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and 1½ cups melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon. You can also use a 14-cup capacity food processor or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook. If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled. Don’t try to work with it before chilling. You may notice lumps in the dough but they will disappear in the finished product.
Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used as soon as it’s chilled after the initial rise. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rise and rest times.

For the Doughnuts:
(makes 5 or 6)
1 pound (grapefruit-sized portion) of refrigerated, pre-mixed brioche dough
1 small jar of raspberry jam
Canola oil for deep frying
granulated and/or powdered sugar for coating
Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit-sized piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 2 inch squares, then spoon a teaspoon of jam in the center of each square. Gather the edges of the dough around the filling, pinching at the center to form a seal. If needed, use a small amount of water to help stick them together.
Allow the doughnuts to rest for 15-20 minutes while the oil is heating up to 360-375 degrees as determined by a candy thermometer.
Carefully drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, 2 or 3 at a time. Do not overcrowd them. After 2 minutes, flip the doughnuts over with a slotted spoon and fry another minute or until golden brown on both sides.
Using the slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all doughnuts are fried.
Dust with sugar and eat with a fresh cup of cafe au lait.


Brilynn said…
I've made the challah from this book and it was amazing, I added to my 'need to have' book list a while ago but I still don't have it in my greedy little paws!
LizNoVeggieGirl said…
no worries - they look fabulous to me!! I just posted about some jelly-donut cupcakes, ironically enough :0)
Susan @ SGCC said…
Brilynn- The book is great. Get it if you can. I got it for Christmas and I'm lucky I did. I tried to buy it for a friend and it was backordered!

Veggiegirl- Thank you. I edited out the really ugly ones! I'm going to check out your cupcakes. :)
Deborah said…
I went through my cookbooks to decide which donut I wanted to make, and this one almost made the cut. Now I really want to try them, though!
RecipeGirl said…
This will be my newest cookbook purchase for sure. It seems to be All-The-Rage!

Great job for your first try with the donuts! I was going to participate in this but I just figured that I didn't want the donuts sitting around my house!! One of these days, I'll try them too...
test it comm said…
The doughnuts look like they turned out great despite your troubles. Making doughnuts sounded a bit too intimidating for me to try but seeing all of these doughnuts has me craving them...
Gretchen Noelle said…
You are certainly not the first to be making these for the first time...I think this event pushed a lot of people out of the their comfort zones which was great! You did a good job as they look like delicious donuts!
Anonymous said…
When my mother was little (long time ago), she and her mother made donuts every Saturday morning and my mother sold them throughout the neighborhood. It got to the point where everyone was waiting for Mildred's donuts!

When my mother died at 83, this was one of the stories we told at the funeral...that really highlighted my mother's love of baking..and her work ethic!

Your recipe brings back memories.

Susan @ SGCC said…
Deborah- The dough recipes in that book are great. There are so many different things you can make with them.

Recipegirl- The great thing about these recipes is that you can make as much or as little as you want. The doughnut recipe only makes 6 doughnuts, so you can't do too much damge.

Thanks, Kevin. Believe me, I was plenty intimidated. I think I like eating doughnuts much more than making them. ;)

Gretchen- I'm glad you like them. I think you're right. Doughnuts are not as common to make as many other things.

Beth- That's a sweet story. I'm glad my post brought back nice memories for you. I find that the same thing happens to me when I write them. I start remembering all sorts of old memories. It's like therapy!
Manggy said…
That's a nice recipe! I love the choice of filling, too :)
I have neither dough hook nor food processor though :( Forced to use my arms..
I'm sorry for all the trouble you had with these - they look so delicious!
Susan @ SGCC said…
Manggy- Thank you. I'm glad you like them. I do have a food processor and a dough hook, but I still prefer to use my hands!

Patricia- Thanks! They were delicious. My mistakes were all careless ones. Next time, I'll pay attention.
CookiePie said…
WOW - these look amazing! For what it's worth, I still think you're pretty hot stuff in the kitchen :)
Mansi said…
those look brilliant! and I'm intimidated by dough too, so I guess this should inspire me enough!:)
Anonymous said…
You were so ambitious for your first doughnut making experience!
Mary said…
Your donuts are beautiful! They look really yummy too.

I was scared about deep frying too, but apparently not as scared as my mom was of me deep frying. She "supervised". Which really means she made sure I didn't burn down her kitchen!
SteamyKitchen said…
they look fab despite the trouble!
Peabody said…
I knead/need doughnuts...especially when they look as good as those do.
Thanks for participating.
Cakelaw said…
Yummo Susan - despite what you say, I think they loook perfect. I'd have one any day (shame you are so far away!).
Susan @ SGCC said…
Cookiepie- Aww, thank you. I'm glad you like them.

Mansi- Go for it! Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't hard.

Kristen- Thanks. Ambitious or crazy!

Mary- Lol! My mother was the same way with me. Since I started blogging, she has mellowed. :)

Steamy- Thanks! At least I didn't burn the house down!

Peabody- Thanks for hosting! I'm glad you liked them.

Cakelaw- Thanks! You're sweet. It is a shame we're so far apart. I'll bet we'd have a great time!
I don't normally buy cookbooks due to the fact you can get almost any recipe free on the net but I am heading off to Barnes today to either buy or order this Artisinal Bread in 5 minutes. I have been really trying to master bread baking lately and having about 50% luck. I have a big green egg which cooks like a brick oven and so I have been trying to use it as such for bread....I have pizzas down like a champ in it but the bread has been a major learning curve. Thanks for this information.
oooh and also so glad to see ALL of you bloggers eating bread. I am so sick of these carbo-haters!!! Everything in moderation. I couldn't live w/out panini's, pizzas, flatbreads and pastries. Life is too short not to have a carb. Common sense, you eat a whole loaf of bread--you will look like a loaf of bread. A sandwhich, however, is not going to kill you.
Anonymous said…
I think you donut recipe is the last straw, I must go get that book! These look great.
Susan @ SGCC said…
Obsessive- I don't buy a lot of cookbooks anymore eaither, unless something really hits me. I was a hige fan of the original No-Knead bread, so I had to have this book. I really love it.

We just got a Big Green Egg at a charity auction. I have heard so much about it. I'm dying to try it out. Do you love yours?

I'm with you on the carb issue. Everything in moderation is the best way, unless you have a medical problem. I'm Italian. Cutting out pasta and bread would kill me!

Mrs.I- Get the book! It is one you will use a lot!
StickyGooey.....I can't express enough how much i LOVE the BGE. My husband bought me the large for xmass. The pizza.....oh my word, every Saturday night we make pizza on it. It is absolutely incredible......just like a brick oven...can cook a pizza in 5 minutes. It is just amazing. I have made bread on it also but having a bit of a learning curve there.
Helene said…
Wow! They are wonderful! I love how nice and gooey they turned out! Thanks for participating!
Susan @ SGCC said…
Obsessive- Woo Hoo! I can't wait to get cooking with mine! Stay tuned!

Tartelette- Thank you! I was so excited to make them. Thanks for hosting a great event. :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Susan,
Is the yeast in this recipe active dry yeast or Rapid rise yeast?
Susan @ SGCC said…
Anonymous- I used active dry yeast- Red Star brand. It does say in the book that you can use whatever yeast you have handy.
Anonymous said…
Thx, Susan! Off I got to make some brioche!
Susan @ SGCC said…
Anonymous- Good luck! Let me know how it goes. :)
Zoe Francois said…
Man these look good!;) Thanks for sharing them with your readers. I am linking my newest post to this one so people have the brioche recipe. Now they can make my tart and your fabulous donuts!

Zoë François (co-author ABinFive)
Really gorgeous
I have mentioned you at my blog


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