Whether they’re yeasted or cake, it’s hard to go wrong with treats if they’re homemade
Lexington, KY – Homer Simpson once asked, “Is there nothing doughnuts can’t do?” Mr. Simpson, I couldn’t agree more. Doughnuts, around our house, reign supreme over all sweets. Although we live less than a mile from a national doughnut chain, we prefer to make them from scratch. A lazy Saturday morning with a strong cup o’ joe, the newspaper and a warm cinnamon sugar doughnut? It really doesn’t get much better than that.
The great debate over yeasted or cake doughnuts remains. One online cooking forum reader wrote, “Anybody who has ever had a real doughnut knows they are only made from yeasted dough.” Although I might beg to differ (more on that later), there definitely is an argument to be made that yeasted doughnuts are more globally recognizable than their cake counterpart. Depending on where you are in the world, you are likely to find a local version of the yeasted doughnut: loukoumades in Greece, churros in Spain, sfhinge in Morocco, zeppole in Italy, paczki in Poland and beignets in France.
Because we love doughnuts so, we also enjoy experimenting with methods, flavors, toppings and shapes. Whichever way you like them –– cake, yeasted, sprinkles, chocolate dipped, glazed or rolled in toasted coconut –– making homemade doughnuts definitely needs to grace your to-do list. Here are a few of our favorites:
Basic Yeasted Doughnut
Because yeasted doughnuts need time to rise in order to achieve their signature lightness, the time and preparation will be more involved than cake doughnuts, so plan accordingly. (Recipe from Food Network’s Alton Brown)
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening (approximately 1/3 cup)
• 2 packages instant yeast
• 1/3 cup warm water (95-105 degrees F)
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
• Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)