Ultimate old-fashioned sugar donuts that are soft, fluffy and so delicious. My childhood favorite snack.
Childhood memories are like the dreams that stayed with you after you woke up. When I think about childhood, things seem to become vivid, like it just happened yesterday. Donut was a part of it. I remember those nights I was sneaking out and getting some donuts that were still left in a travelling vendor of a street peddler as I was so craving for them. There were no donut bakery shops back then so those donuts were special to me.
I’ve eaten many good donuts here, in the U.S but childhood donuts from street peddlers in Vietnam still hold a spot in my heart. They were coated with sugar and you had no other choices of flavor. This recipe makes exactly the donuts that I had in my childhood, which are soft and fluffy. The only thing that I change might be adding a touch of warming spices to bring the fall vibes into these old fashioned treats.
Although donuts take time to make, they are not as hard as you might think. However, because of at least 2 hours rising time required, you will want to plan it ahead. You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast, make sure you use lukewarm liquid when mixing the dough. If you use active dry yeast, you will need to activate the yeast first. Sprinkle the yeast on top of lukewarm liquid and let it sit for around 5-10 minutes, until the yeast begins to form a creamy foam on the surface of the water, then you are good to go.
After the second rise, it’s time to fry the dough. This is the important step as it will affect the look, the doneness of donuts. Here are some tips that can help you out:
The temperature of the oil. The oil has to reach 345-375F when you fry donuts. If the oil is too, the crust will cook quickly while the center stays raw. Lower than that, donuts will be soggy. It is recommended to use the thermometer to test the temperature; however if you don’t have a thermometer to test, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. Yes, your wooden spoon won’t magically show temperature digits but you can tell it’s ready for frying when many bubbles form around the stick.
Don’t overcrowd the saucepan (or any fryer). Donuts will take around 1-1.5 minutes on each side until golden brown with consistent frying temperature. If you add so many donuts at one time, the temperature of oil will drop, leaving you soggy, uncooked donuts.
- 3 1/2 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (7g/1 packet) active dry yeast
- 2 large egg
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warm to 110°-115F° (43°C-46°C)
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick/85g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- 4 cups (960ml/1 quart) canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15g) ground cinnamon
- Make the dough: In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the warm milk, yeast, and sugar together. Let it sit for 10 minutes until foamy on the surface.
- Add the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, salt, and flour. Mix on low-medium speed for about 3 minutes until a soft ball of dough starts to form. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. If it’s too sticky, add 2 tablespoons at a time, and knead until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be just slightly sticky and workable. Keep kneading for 7-8 minutes or knead by hand on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place for about 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size.
- After the dough reaches doubled size, punch it down to remove the air. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle with 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or with a 2¾-inch (7cm) round cutter and cut holes from the middle of the donuts and with a ¾-inch (2cm) piping tip. You can use any cutter that you like depending on your preferred donut size. Press together scraps, re-roll, and cut out more doughnuts. Place doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space between. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest to rise for about 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Make the cinnamon sugar mixture: In a small bowl, toss sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
- Frying donuts: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil until it reaches 350F/175C. If you don’t have a thermometer to test, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. It’s ready to fry when many bubbles form around the stick. Carefully, gently add doughnuts to hot oil, two to three at a time, depending on how large your saucepan is. Deep fry until golden brown, about 1-1.5 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil, using a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack. You can drain donuts using a paper towel if desired. While donuts are still warm, toss them in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat the process with the rest of the donuts.
- Donuts are best eaten the same day they are made. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.