Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daring Baker's Challenge October!

I know, I've been a bad, bad blogger.

It has officially been a month since my last post!

In the past month I have stage managed a theater production through rehearsals and we are now in our closing weekend, I have slept maybe 20 hours total in the last month, got smacked in the head by a metal dolly (I now have a concussion), I and barely baked at all!

Quite an exciting month. And this month's challenge was indeed a challenge since I had -5 hours of extra time, and I had to make donuts without owning a stand mixer!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

These puppies turned out to be absolutely delicious, and I am very impressed with myself. Especially since the only time I was able to create this little darlin's was when I had a sick day because I broke my head. (For those who may be concerned, don't worry, I'm okay!)

Yeast Doughnuts
15-20 doughnuts depending on size, 15-20 doughnut holes

1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (butter, margarine, or lard can also be used)
2 packages of active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup white granualted sugar
1.5 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 2/3 cups All-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting counter
Canola oil

1. Fill bowl with warm water and sprinkle yeast over. Stir just a little to incorporate, then let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.

2. Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat until just warm.

3. Place shortening in a small, heat-proof bowl and pour warm milk over. Milk should be warm enough to melt shortening.

4. Place foaming yeast into a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, add milk and shortening mix (make sure it has cooled first).

5. Add eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half the flour and combine with mixer until incorporated, then beat at medium speed until well combined.

6. Add the remaining flour at low speed, then adjust again to medium speed. If you're using a hand mixer, be careful to be gentle and not burn out your motor at this point.

7. If you have a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook and beat for about 2 minutes until dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl. If you dont, like me, use your hands! Roll up those sleeves and have some fun! The dough will be very sticky at first, and I ended up adding about 2 more cups of flour before it was non-sticky enough to detach itself from my hands. Knead flour into dough gently, and remember if you knead too roughly, you will have tough doughnuts.

8. Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl, cover with a towel or tea cloth, and let rise for about 1 hour. It will double in size.

9. On a well floured surface roll out down to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter and 1 inch cutter for center ring. Set pieces on floured baking sheet, cover with towel and allow to rise for 3o minutes.

10. Preheat oil in dutch oven or deep fryer to 365 degrees F.

11. Gently place doughnuts in oil, cook for 40 sec-1 min per side or until golden brown.

12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool 15-20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

I just rolled my doughnut holes in confectioners' sugar. yummm.

Chocolate Glaze
recipe from Alton Brown

This makes a ton of glaze, so feel free to halve it.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts completely. Turn heat to low, add chocolate and whisk until melted. Turn off heat and add confectioners' sugar, whisking until smooth. Use immediately, and let doughnuts set 30 minutes before serving.