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Culinary Spotlight: Donut Mind If I Do

Waking up on that first morning of your weekend is great no matter what. Add on top of that, freshly fried and warm doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts make everything better. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great doughnut shops in town but if you’re really out to get the warmest and freshest ones, you’re going to have to be the first few people in line. With some of these shops opening as early as 5:30 in the morning that might be a tough feat when you might want to catch a couple more hours of sleep. When making your own at home there’s no hassle of leaving or waiting in line.

Where is the doughnut from? It may seem like the United States is the only place where there are doughnuts, but cultures from around the world have their own interpretations. The true origin isn’t really that well known. The Dutch brought their own ‘oil cake’ version to New York, the Romans fried their left-over bread dough and dipped it in syrup and the Italians had their own called the zeppole. The true American origin is said to be from the Dutch version that was later turned into what we now know as doughnuts.

When it comes to making doughnuts there are two sides to it- cake doughnuts or yeast doughnuts. The debate of which one is best is as big as the debate of bean, or no bean chili. At the end of the day, it’s just a fried piece of dough, right?… Wrong! A cake doughnut is essentially cake batter, which is chemically leavened with baking powder and baking soda. It delivers a crumbly, fluffy and very dunk-able texture. The yeast doughnut conveys a light, chewy, slightly yeasty flavor with little to no sweetness that lets the glaze or coating shine. With this recipe, I chose to use the yeast doughnut recipe because if you’re choosing to treat yourself you should take your time with it.

Orange-Scented Doughnuts with Lavender Glaze

Recipe:

Yield: 18-24 doughnuts
Time: 8-15 Hours
Equipment Needed: Stand mixer, 3inch round cutter, ½ inch round cutter heavy-bottomed pot, oil thermometer, rolling pin, metal spatula.

Ingredients for doughnut:

1 cup, milk
2 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon, active dry yeast
2 Tablespoon + ½ teaspoon, water
5 ½ Cups + 3 Tablespoons, all-purpose flour
½ Cup, sugar
3 teaspoons, salt
Zest of 4 oranges
5 whole eggs
10 ounces, butter (at room temperature)
2 quarts, vegetable oil (for frying)

Ingredients for the glaze:

5 Cups, powdered sugar
2/3 C hot tap water
¼ C vanilla extract
2T dried lavender

Steps:
  • Warm the milk in a saucepan over low heat until warm. Remove from the heat and sprinkle yeast over top and add the water. Let the mix sit for 15-20 minutes to bloom.
  • Combine flour, sugar, salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Turn on and mix for 2 minutes. While it’s mixing, add in the yeast mixture, orange zest, eggs and butter. Beat on medium speed until everything is incorporated and smooth. Continue to beat for 12 minutes.
  • Grease a bowl large enough to fit twice the size of the dough. Transfer dough into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes. Once proofed, punch it down and fold it over onto itself to make it smooth again. At this point, the dough can be refrigerated anywhere from 6 to 15 hours.
  • Once it has proofed and you’re ready to eat. Uncover and transfer the dough to a floured work surface (flour is your friend). Divide the dough into half so it’s easier to work with. One half can be frozen if you don’t want to use the whole batch.
  • Flour the rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is ½ an inch thick. Let rest for 15 minutes. Once rested, cut out as many circles using the 3-inch cutter. Then use the ½ in cutter to cut out the doughnut holes. Toss scrap. Once cut, dust with flour and cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 more hour (they will double in size).
  • While that proofs you can make the glaze. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the powdered sugar, ½ cup of the water, vanilla and the lavender. Beat on medium speed until smooth, adding water to get the desired consistency
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees using oil thermometer.
  • Working with 2-3 at a time (don’t crowd the pot). Slide each doughnut into the oil using a spatula. Brown each side for 2 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping with the spatula. Once browned, using tongs or a spatula, transfer to a wire rack to drain off excess oil. Let cool for 2 minutes and pour glaze over top. Repeat the process until all the doughnuts are done. Enjoy!

Joe Brunner

Written by Joe Brunner

South Fargo native Joe Brunner is the co-owner and executive chef at Fargo dining staple Mezzaluna.

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