You don’t need super sharp culinary skills to make perfect yeast donuts at home—anyone can do it! What you do need is plenty of time, making them the perfect weekend baking project. If you want them for breakfast, wake up early and take a nap during each rise 😉
This recipe is for everyone’s fave: classic glazed. The results will have you ruined for all other doughnuts…seriously, they even give Krispy Kreme a run for their money.
Dealing with dough. The very first step in creating donuts is blooming your yeast: dissolve sugar into lukewarm water, then stir in the yeast. In about 5 minutes, it’ll have turned into a foamy, bubbling layer on top of the water. This is how you know your yeast is alive and that your dough will rise! Stir in with your other ingredients, mix, and then knead until dough feels smooth and elastic. To test if your dough is ready, lightly press your thumb into the dough. In about 5 seconds or so, the dough should bounce almost completely back.
Let it rise. Donut dough needs to rise twice: first, the dough itself, then the punched out donuts. While the second rise is happening, begin heating up your oil and making your glaze!
Do I need a thermometer? Yes. Since donuts fry for such a short amount of time, you want to make sure the oil is at the temperature that’ll allow them to cook through without burning and turn a perfect golden color. We found 350° to be the sweet spot (no pun intended). Also, keep in mind that the temperature fluctuates after your first batch of doughnuts go in, so make sure to keep an eye on your thermometer and adjust accordingly.
Help! I don’t have a donut cutter. Not to worry! Since we work in a well-stocked test kitchen, we happened to have one, but we wouldn’t expect you to (unless your name is Ina or Martha). Use a 3″ biscuit or cookie cutter, plus a very small one, about 1″, or the large end of a piping tip for the holes. 
Glazing 101. Make your glaze in a large, wide bowl for easy coating. Next, make sure to glaze your donuts while they’re still warm! This way, it’ll stick much better…plus, then you can eat them while they’re warm. Once you dip your donuts into the glaze, place onto a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to let the excess drip off. This makes for much easier clean up and evenly glazed donuts. If you want, you can add sprinkles (or chocolate chips, or toasted coconut flakes, etc.) at this point!
In the case of leftovers (which is very rare), we highly recommended Strawberry Donut Shortcakes or a donut bread pudding.
Editor’s Note: This introduction to this recipe was updated slightly on July 31, 2020.
Yields: 16
Prep Time: 0 hours25 mins
Total Time: 2 hours15 mins
For dough
1 c. whole milk
1/4c. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
1 packet (or 2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast 
4 1/2c. all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. melted butter
2 large eggs
1/2tsp. pure vanilla extract
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
For glaze
1/4c. whole milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2tsp. pure vanilla extract
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  1. Grease a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside. In a small, microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, add milk. Microwave until lukewarm, 40 seconds. Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir to dissolve, then sprinkle over yeast and let sit until frothy, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Pour in yeast mixture, mix to combine, then add in dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and only slightly tacky, adding more flour a teaspoon at a time if needed, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Form into a tight ball then place dough in oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let dough rise in a warm spot in your kitchen until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Punch down dough, then turn onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a ½” thick rectangle. Using a doughnut cutter or 3” and 1” biscuit cutters, punch out your doughnuts. Re-knead scraps together and punch out as well. Place doughnuts and holes onto baking sheets, cover with dish towel, and let rise again, about 40 minutes more.
  5. Make glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat 2” oil to 350°. Cook doughnuts, in batches, until deeply golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Holes will cook even faster!
  7. Transfer doughnuts to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool slightly. Dip into glaze, then place onto a cooling rack (or eat immediately!).

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