Thursday, 13 March 2014

Baked Cinnamon Doughnut Holes

I've never been a fan of doughnuts. To me, they're fat, greasy, dense balls of pure cholesterol. The reek of rancid doughnut fat was one of my least favourite things about walking along Brighton beach when I lived there during my undergraduate degree.

But then the deputy editor travelled into the depths of the land of loafers with no socks, the home of the hipsters (Shoreditch), and brought back a box of baked doughnuts. They were light and chewy and soft.

Instantly, I went on eBay and bought a doughnut pan.

The pan took ages to arrive. I'm talking weeks. I almost forgot about it and so when the office manager placed a parcel in front of me on my desk, I was a little confused. When I unwrapped it, the doughnut moulds were tiny. But I just thought "more doughnuts, great".

Unfortunately my doughnuts had other ideas. They mushroomed wildly and turned into misshapen lumps. 

So next time, I'll put less dough in each little mould, but a liberal dusting of sugar and cinnamon will cover a multitude of sins. And if you don't have a doughnut pan you can just roll the dough into balls and put it in a normal baking tray.

I think they still look good, don't you?

I wasn't sure whether to go with a cake doughnut or a yeast doughnut, so I went with a yeast doughnut made with an enriched dough, altering a yeast doughnut recipe. This recipe will make 24 doughnut holes, which are slightly bigger than a golf ball.

You will need:    
320g plain flour
95g caster sugar
125ml semi skimmed milk
50g butter plus extra to grease
1 egg, beaten
1½ tsp instant dried yeast
1½ tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
Small amount of cooking oil - I used rapeseed

1. Sift the flour, 35g of the sugar, yeast, baking powder and ½ tsp cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Put the rest of the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.

2. Put the milk and 15g of the butter in a pan and gently heat until butter is completed melted. Stir the dry ingredients until combined and make a well in the middle of the mixing bowl.

3. Pour in the milk, butter and beaten egg and mix with a spatula until it comes together into a loose, sticky ball. Lightly oil a clean surface and your hands and tip the tough onto the surface, then knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put in a covered bowl and leave for 1 hour to rise until doubled in size.

4. When the dough has risen it will feel light and spongy. Punch it down and knead for 5 minutes. Grease a baking tray/your doughnut pan and either roll the dough into 24 balls or make doughnut shapes, either by rolling into a ball and poking a hole in the middle or rolling into sausages and pinching the ends together. Cover and leave for half an hour to prove, preheating the oven to 200C (180C if you have a fan oven) before they are ready to go in.

5. Bake the doughnuts for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Melt the remaining butter and, one by one, brush each doughnut and roll in the sugar and cinnamon you set aside earlier. Eat as soon as possible, preferably with a strong coffee.

6. Say "Mmmmmmm".

Next I'm going to try making vanilla custard doughnuts.

Ta-ta for now,