Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center hole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, three to four at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Basic Cake Doughnut
I enjoy a lighter-than-air doughnut as much as the next guy, but if I had my choice, the dense texture and rich flavor of a cake doughnut would win every time. Disagree? Eat a fresh cider doughnut after hours of apple picking on a chilly autumn day and we’ll talk.
This ‘old timey’ recipe has appeared more than once on my blog, The Art of Homemaking, and is the staple doughnut recipe at our house. The dough can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator prior to shaping and frying.
• 1 egg
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3 T butter
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg (this gives it that special something, don’t omit)
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 2 1/2 cup – 3 cups flour
Beat the egg and sugar. Add all but flour and mix well. Add in flour until you get a stiff dough (almost cookie dough density). Chill for at least an hour (you could leave it in the fridge over night).
Roll out chilled dough to 1/2 inch thick and have fun cutting out whatever shape works for you. Drop them in 375 degree oil and fry them till golden colored on both sides (1-2 minutes per side). Drain on a wire rack briefly and either gobble them down immediately or glaze and top these golden beauties in something sweet.
Topping ideas for glazed doughnuts:
I think it goes without saying: the sky’s the limit in toppings for a doughnut. If it sticks, it works, in my opinion. Crunchy cereals, cookie crumbles, potato chips, chopped nuts, shaved coconut, banana chips, and sea salt (yum!), just to name a few. Raid the cabinets and see what fun combinations you can come up with.