Who doesn't love doughnuts? I mean honestly. My only doubt about this was if they would be as good as fried doughnuts. They were. I love how this recipe allows you to make them the night before and just finish them in the morning. I still don't understand how people make yeasty breads for breakfast. It seems at my house things have to rise for twice as long as the recipe actually says. That being said, these could have risen longer, but hey when you're hungry, you're hungry.
These would be great for a family breakfast or brunch or any gathering, really. Just beware that this recipe makes A LOT of doughnuts. I actually ended up throwing a lot of the dough away because I didn't have any more pans on which to put the doughnuts. I would recommend making a half batch. My house might even need a 1/3 batch, if that's possible. Rest assured I will def be making these again.
*Note: These little beauties are best made and eaten the same day, preferably warm right from the oven. The great news is that you can make the dough, roll and cut out the doughnuts the night before and let them do their second rising in the fridge, covered. Remove them from the refrigerator and put them on the counter about an hour before baking. I used instant yeast in the recipe. If you only have active dry yeast on hand, proof the yeast with 1/3 cup of the warm milk and the sugar until it is foaming before adding in the rest of the milk and proceeding with the recipe.
*Makes about 1 1/2 dozen doughnuts/doughnut holes
1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Place the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Add the butter. Mix the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt. Beat the dough with the dough hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon and eventually your hands) for 2-3 minutes at medium speed. Adjust the dough texture by adding flour a few tablespoons at a time or more milk. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be very soft and smooth but still slightly sticky – don’t overflour! Knead the dough for a few minutes (again, by mixer or by hand) and then transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size (the exact time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen).
Punch down the dough and roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured counter. Using a doughnut cutter or a 2-3 inch circle cookie cutter, cut out circles in the dough. Carefully transfer the circles to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. Be sure to make the holes large enough that as the doughnuts rise again and bake, they don’t fill in the doughnut hole with the puffiness of the dough. Cover the tray with lightly greased plastic wrap. (At this point, you can refrigerate the doughnuts overnight or proceed with the recipe.) Let the doughnuts rise for about another 45 minutes, until they are puffed and nearly doubled.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Start checking the doughnuts around minute 8. They should still be pale on top, not golden and browned, and just barely baked through.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Dip each one in the melted butter and toss or sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar. Serve immediately.