David told me that he was craving doughnuts. They had been on my list of things to make for a while, so I decided to go for it. I looked through my cookbooks to help me figure out which kind to make. I had recently bought Sherry Yard’s cookbook: The Secrets of Baking and saw that she had a recipe for brioche doughnuts. I have had really good experiences with brioche, so I figured these would be really good. We loved these! They had a great dough texture and a wonderful flavor. I would definitely use this recipe again to make doughnuts, and try some of the other combinations Sherry Yard suggests, such as a glazed, powdered sugar, or chocolate-glazed doughnut.
Brioche Doughnuts (Source: The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard)
For the sponge:
¾ ounce (1 cake) fresh yeast or 2 ½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 quart safflower or sunflower oil for frying
1 cup sugar for coating, or more to taste
Combine the yeast and milk in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in the flour and brown sugar, forming a thick batter. Cover with plastic film and let rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes, or until bubbles form.
Add flour, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon to the sponge, then add the eggs. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until the eggs are absorbed. Switch to the dough hook, increase the speed to medium, and knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until the dough begins to slap around.
On medium-low speed, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Stop the mixer and occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Knead until the dough is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape out the dough, wash and dry the bowl, and coat it lightly with oil.
Place the dough in the oiled bowl and turn it so that the top is coated with oil. Cover with plastic film and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down by folding it two or three times. Cover with plastic film and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to a thickness of ½ inch. If the dough is difficult to handle after rolling, place it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Cut the dough using a doughnut cutter or two round cutters of graduated size. Dip the cutters in flour each time to make it easier. Once cut, the dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 week. Defrost in the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before frying.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, wide, heavy saucepan, or deep fryer over medium heat. Insert a candy thermometer. When the oil reaches 350 to 360 degrees, carefully place 4 or 5 doughnuts in the oil. Fry for 1 minute, then use a slotted spoon to flip them over carefully. Fry the other sides for 1 minute, then flip the doughnuts again and fry for 30 seconds more, or until dark golden brown. Remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain them on paper towels for 30 seconds before coating them with sugar. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Serve immediately. Fried doughnuts stay fresh for only about 2 hours.
Cinnamon-Sugar: Combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. Coat the top of the doughnuts with the mixture while they are still hot and wet with oil. If they cool down and dry, the sugar will not stick.