Walking through Crouch End last week my flatmate and I walked past Dunn’s Bakery, which I’m led to believe is something of a Crouch End institution, although I have to confess to not having yet ventured inside. When we walked past they had a giant doughnut in the window, apparently made in a bundt-tin (so, technically a cake dressed up like a doughnut) and piles of ring doughnuts. Why the doughnut overload? Well, it turns out this week is National Doughnut Week, raising money for the Children’s Trust.
I mentioned in my cider rye post below that I was looking through my copy of Dough by Richard Bertinet and I rediscovered his recipe for doughnuts. So, what better time to get deep-fat frying than during National Doughnut Week?
His recipe is easily available online with a quick Google. I’d tackled his recipe a couple of times before in my previous flat. Once successfully, and the second time less so after the doughnuts weren’t at all cooked in the middle. So, being a bit more cautious this time my flatmate and I opted to go for ring doughnuts to give the middle a better chance of cooking properly, and this was a good decision.
The dough is essentially a sweet white dough, enriched with eggs and butter, shaped into 30g doughnuts that are then deep fried for about 45 seconds on either side. Unfortunately the sugar thermometer we used only went up to 150C, and the correct temperature for frying dough is 180C, so we guessed the right temperature by extrapolating from the rate of increase before the temperature went off the scale. I think we got it about right as we only had a few ‘ball’, as opposed to ring, doughnuts that were a bit doughy in the middle.
The ring doughnuts were fantastically light, and not at all oily on the outside and dry on the inside as shop or stall bought ones can be. Doughnuts are one of those things that are far superior if made at home. We started off with 500ml of oil, and after discarding the dregs left in the bottom of the pan and pouring the remainder back into the bottle, we’d only lost around 50ml of oil into the 25 doughnuts we made, which is barely anything. Of course, deep drying makes a hell of a mess and smell if you don’t have a dedicated fryer (I don’t, so had to use a saucepan), but you get fresh doughnuts out of it, which has to be worth it.
The only thing that I think might improve the recipe is some vanilla essence in the dough. We coated them in vanilla sugar before eating (only do this right before you’re going to eat them, otherwise they go soggy and sticky), but they were a touch bland.
As there are only so many doughnuts two people can eat, only half of the dough made it into the fryer, with the other other half being shaped into a little loaf and baked in the normal way. I over baked it slightly after I got distracted by the TV, and it’s come out almost cake-like in consistency, but will make lovely toast, as any enriched loaf will.