Crazy weather is becoming the norm here in Canada and this past weekend was a great example of that. We are almost in mid-April and we had a freezing rain storm that lasted almost 3 days. Dave and I were really eager about taking off our snow tires so we did that a few days before the storm (thinking that it probably wouldn’t be as bad as they were calling for). We were wrong about that! So, this meant that we were stuck indoors for the entire weekend.
I had to think fast because once I start to get negative about the situation, the entire house follows suit. I planned art activities and cooking activities strategically planned with stuff we had in the house already because we couldn’t drive anywhere to pick anything up.
I decided to make yeast-risen doughnuts with the boys. I thought this was the perfect activity because it requires a few steps, takes some time and can be very hands-on. It’s nice to have a fun treat after a long project too – and kids and doughnuts are a winning pair! I’ve made these so many times that I could pretty much do it with my eyes closed and a recipe you’re good at is always recommended when cooking with kids. It’s so easy to get distracted while you’re helping one of them.
My boys helped put together the dough while I explained the purpose behind every ingredient. They were amazed by how much the dough grew in its first proof and they had a blast cutting out the doughnuts too. I did all the frying, of course, but they were happy to help with the decorating part.
This recipe is fool-proof, unless your yeast is dead which in that case your dough will not proof. I prefer fresh yeast because it works much faster. I found a local bakery near my house that always has it stocked and it’s super cheap. I usually buy a block and it lasts me almost 2 weeks. You can use it to make any yeast-risen dough like pizza dough too. If you have active dry yeast, I have given you the amount that you need below.
I love these doughnuts because they are like a blank slate. You can get creative with your toppings or you can even shape them with no hole in the middle and fill them with pastry cream, lemon curd or jelly filled with powdered sugar on the outside, Nutella…whatever your heart desires! I have a recipe on here for Julie’s Toasted Coconut Doughnuts that you might want to try too.
I love to do these with plain old cinnamon sugar or a trusty chocolate dip with chocolate ganache.
Whatever your favourite is — I don’t judge! Make sure to have this recipe handy for the next time the crazy weather strikes!
- 5 Tbsp warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees - no hotter or it will kill the yeast!)
- 1 package 0.25oz active dry yeast or 1 Tbsp Fresh yeast
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 5 Tbsp whole milk
- 5 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- Canola Oil for frying
- Sugar and cinnamon for dredging (I do ¾ cup granulated sugar to ¼ cup cinnamon).
- ***Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (this will help the yeast react much quicker).
- Place warm water in a bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle over yeast. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes (to activate yeast).
- Melt butter with milk in small saucepot over medium heat. Take off heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm (it cannot be too hot or it will kill the yeast!) Once it is lukewarm, add this to the yeast mixture. Next add sugar, eggs, salt, nutmeg, vanilla, and half the flour. Mix in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until combined. Gradually add remaining flour. Mix until the dough looks elastic, slightly sticky and not dry (about 3-4 minutes).
- Transfer dough into greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size (about 40 minutes). I put dry clean dish clothes around the bowl to keep it warm and help the dough rise more quickly.
- Gently roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thickness. Punch out doughnuts with lightly floured cutters (2.5 inches for filled or 3 inches for classic.)
- Place well-spaced on floured baking sheet. Scraps can be reused by gently pressing them together and rolling out. If you find that your dough springs back and is hard to roll out, let the dough relax covered for a few minutes. The gluten in the dough just needs to relax.
- Let the doughnut cutouts rise again in a warm and draft free location until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Many ovens have a proofer setting. I use my Breville Smart Oven Air’s proof setting and it works really well!
- Heat about 3-4 inches of oil in a pot or deep frying pan to 350 to 355 degrees Fahrenheit. When oil is hot (you can test it out by throwing in a scrap piece of dough. If it bubbles and rises to the top without browning too quickly then the oil is perfect. If it gets very dark very quickly, lower the burner and add some more oil to cool it down.)
- When oil is at the right temperature, fry a few doughnuts at a time. Do not overcrowd. Fry until golden brown and then carefully, using a medal utensil with a long handle, flip them over to fry other side. Using a slotted spoon, remove each doughnut and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Add toppings and glazes as desired! Doughnuts will remain fresh for about a day.