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Plain doughnuts

Matthew Jones

A recipe from the brilliant new baking book by the founder of Bread Ahead

Recipe Meta

Prep

Prep 25 mins (plus proving and overnight resting)

Cook

15-20 mins

Serves

Makes 10

Difficulty

Medium

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 250g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting (optional)
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 5g fine sea salt
  • Zest of ½ small lemon
  • 75ml water
  • 2 eggs
  • 8g fresh yeast or 4g dried active yeast
  • 65g unsalted butter, softened

To finish

  • 2 litres rapeseed or sunflower oil, for deep frying, plus extra for greasing (optional)
  • 200g caster sugar, for dusting

Method

Day 1

Bring all of the dough ingredients, apart from the butter, together in a bowl. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 5 minutes using the heel of your hand. Let the dough rest for 1 minute.

Start to add the butter a quarter at a time, kneading it in until it is all incorporated. Knead the dough for a further 5 minutes until it is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plate and leave to prove until doubled in size, about 1½ hours. Knock back the dough, re-cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 10 pieces, about 50g each. Dust a large baking sheet with flour or grease with a little oil. Roll the dough into 10 smooth, tight buns and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between them as you don’t want them to stick together while they prove. Cover lightly with a damp dish towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Get your deep-fat fryer ready or fill a heavy-based saucepan up to the halfway point with oil (be extremely careful – hot oil is very dangerous). Heat the oil to 180C. The gauge on the fryer or a kitchen thermometer really is essential here for accuracy.

When the oil is heated to the correct temperature, carefully remove the doughnuts from the tray by sliding a floured dough scraper or spatula underneath them, taking care not to deflate them, and carefully lower them into the oil. Do not overcrowd the fryer – cook 2-3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown – they will puff up and float.

Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, then toss the doughnuts in the caster sugar while still warm. Repeat until all doughnuts are fried BUT make sure the oil temperature is correct each time before frying – if it is too high, they will colour too quickly and burn, and will be raw in the middle; if it is too low, the doughnuts will absorb the oil and become greasy.

Let cool before filling. To fill the doughnuts, make a hole in the crease of each one with a butter knife (anywhere in the white line between the fried top and bottom). Fill a piping bag with your desired filling and pipe it into the doughnut until plump. The doughnuts are best eaten immediately.

Image: Matt Russell Recipe from Bread Ahead: The Expert Home Baker by Matthew Jones (Hardie Grant)

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