I call these old fashioned homemade yeast doughnuts because these doughnuts remind me of the times my mother used to make them when I was a child. Fresh and fluffy yeast treats, deep-fried and gloriously coated with sugar.
I picked up the doughnut-making skill from my mother. I remember so very vividly all the times I used to make doughnuts for tea time at home back then. And since I loved eating them, I used to make so many of them. And my sisters and I and my little brother would happily finish them all without any second thoughts.
This recipe I have here is pretty much the same as the one I used to refer to in my mom’s recipe collection. But back then, we did not have a cake mixer, so all the kneading was by hand. I got my self a Kenwood mixer that comes with dough hook now. So making these doughnuts has just gotten so much quicker and simpler. No more laborious kneading of the dough except for a short minute or two and still get the softest, fluffiest doughnuts.
How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Yeast Doughnuts
The ingredients used in making these doughnuts are pretty basic just like most other doughnut recipes:
- Instant yeast
- Since yeast is an active ingredient, it is important that all the rest of the ingredients are at room temperature. I use instant dry yeast that is sold in packets of 11 grams each. So I basically use half the packet for the recipe below. It is kind of hard to measure the 6 grams on a mechanical kitchen scale. Which is why I prefer to use a digital kitchen scale.
Mixing the yeast
- Typically, when using active yeast, most doughnut recipes would call for the yeast to be mixed with a liquid that is slightly warm (lukewarm). In fact, it is always deemed a crucial step to make sure the liquid (be it water or milk) is slightly warm for the yeast to work well.
- In this recipe, the instant yeast is mixed with room temperature milk. The yeast still works so long as the milk is not too cold. Plus, the dough is allowed ample time to proof so, the yeast gets to do its job well.
Adding the rest of the ingredients
- To begin with, dissolve the yeast in milk for about a minute or two. And then dump in all the rest of the ingredients except for butter into your mixer (with dough hook) and knead it for a good 5 minutes until it all comes together nicely.
- Next, add the butter (also at room temperature for easy incorporation into the dough) in small pieces and continue to let your mixer do the kneading at low speed for another 6 to 7 minutes until the butter gets all incorporated into the doughnut dough.
Proofing the dough
- Remove the dough into a deep bowl and cover it with cling wrap before putting it away to proof. The next step is another one that differs from the typical process of yeast proofing. While most recipes call for the doughnut dough to be placed in a warm place to double or triple in size, you need to place this dough in the refrigerator. Leave it in there for a minimum of 8 hours (but not more than 20 hours) to proof. And trust me, the dough proofs so beautifully in the fridge despite the cold temperature.
- Since long hours of proofing is required with the refrigeration technique, you can mix the doughnut dough the night before. That way, the dough has enough time to proof. And you get to break the process into 2 shorter steps over 2 days.
Rolling the yeast dough
- Once the dough is removed from the fridge (it should have almost tripled in size), turn it onto a floured surface and give it a quick knead for a good minute or two.
- The dough can be slightly sticky at times (depending on the exact amount of liquid that went into the dough). If that happens, sprinkle more flour onto your work surface and knead it until it is more manageable.
Shaping the doughnuts
- I love to shape my doughnuts the old fashioned way – with a hole in the center. My mom used to have a doughnut cutter with a hole in the center so when I used to make these doughnuts then, I just rolled my dough and cut the doughnuts out with the cutter.
- I don’t have that cutter anymore. So what I do is use two of my round cutters from my round cutter set to cut the doughnuts.
Here is how I do it:
- Start by dividing the dough into equal-sized portions. I prefer to do this rather than rolling the dough because this way, I get consistently sized doughnuts as compared to cutting them out from the rolled dough.
- For the doughnuts pictured here, I weighed them to be +/- 40 grams each. Once you have the dough all divided, roll each portion into smooth balls and flattened them by hand such that they are about the size of your cutter.
- Place the flattened dough into the larger of the 2 round cutters. Dip the cutters in flour so that the dough does not stick to them. And then press the dough down so that it fills the cutter and no gap is left.
- And then use the smaller round cutter and cut out a hole in the center.
- Remove the small cutter and the doughnut centers followed by the large cutter.
- This was how mine looked like after cutting.
Continue the process until all the dough (including the center cut-outs are used up).
- Leave the shaped doughnuts to proof in a warm place for a good 1 to 2 hours. They should triple in size. Temperature is very important for the doughnuts to rise well. So they need to be put in a warm place for proofing and be given sufficient time to proof.
- And I prefer to place the doughnuts on individually cut parchment papers. When frying, I simply lift the doughnuts along with the paper underneath. And I slide them into the oil (without the paper). This way, I do not have to touch the dough. That really helps in making sure the doughnuts do not deflate.
- Once the doughnuts are done in the oil, remove them and let them cool slightly before coating them with castor sugar.
Homemade Yeast Doughnuts (Donuts) Recipe
Here is the full printable version of my old fashioned homemade yeast doughnuts.
Old Fashioned Homemade Yeast Doughnuts
- 240 g plain flour
- 6 g active dry yeast
- 70 ml milk at room temperature
- 40 g castor sugar
- 1 egg
- 50 g butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup castor sugar (for coating)
- Fit the dough hook to your mixer. Measure yeast into your mixer bowl and add milk to it. Leave the mixture for about 2 minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve. Stir if necessary.
- Next, add in the sifted flour, sugar, salt and egg into the yeast mixture and knead on lowest speed for approximately 5 minutes until all the ingredients are well combined and the mixture comes together.
- Cut butter into small pieces and add into the dough. Continue mixing for another 6 to 7 minutes until butter is fully incorporated and the dough comes together. At this point, the dough should be soft but not sticky to the fingers when pressed lightly. Add a little more flour if necessary.
- Turn the mixer off and transfer the dough into a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow the dough to triple in size without overflowing.
- Wrap the dough securely in the bowl with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator between 8 to 12 hours.
- Unwrap the bowl and turn the dough onto a floured work space. Knead the dough for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until the dough becomes soft and pliable. If sticky, add flour and knead well until it is no longer sticky. The kneading time at this stage is sufficient at 2 to 3 minutes.
- Roll the dough to about 1 cm thick and cut out using a doughnut cutter. Alternatively, shape them into round balls, flatten and cut out a hole in the centers with a round cutter.
- Place the cut dough onto individually cut parchment squares and arrange them on a large tray. Leave the dough to proof in a warm place until the doughnuts are about triple in size.
- Fry the doughnuts until they are golden brown. Remove from fire and let them cool slightly before coating them with caster sugar.
And that’s that. My old fashioned homemade yeast doughnuts.
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