Once again, I’m preparing to move: this time from Cincinnati, Ohio to Silver Spring, Maryland. This past week has been devoted to finishing up my projects at work and cleaning and packing up my apartment. But in between those two activities, I have been doing my best to take advantage of my last few days in Cincinnati.
Last Tuesday night, I drove to Mt. Adams, the neighborhood overlooking downtown Cincinnati from its eastern perch. I got lost navigating the winding one-way streets, as always, but eventually found a narrow street sandwiched between two apartment buildings and leading up to the edge of the Mount.
I unpacked my camera, set up my tripod, and took in the lights emanating from downtown, capturing what I could of the place where I’d walked and worked for the last year. On my drive back, I stopped by the Yagoot in Rookwood Commons, where Caitlin and I had often stopped after a long day of oral arguments.
That morning I set my alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. Morning doughnuts seemed to be a bit of a routine in our office. A large box of Dunkin Donuts would often find its way into the break room, a franchise conveniently located just across the street in Fountain Square. Given our office’s penchant for doughnuts, I decided that I would bring in homemade doughnuts for my last week of work.
At 5:30, I rumbled over to the bathroom, splashed some water on my face, and set out to roll some dough. If I was going to bring doughnuts to work, I wanted them to be delicious and fresh. Next-day doughnuts would not do. Doughnuts, it turns out, do not require very many or very fancy ingredients. Everything I needed was still in my cupboards. I had, however, packed my metal rounds, but my measuring cup and the vegetable oil cap filled that role adequately.
By 6:15, the dough was all cut and the doughnuts were ready to rise for another hour. In that interim, I started heating up the vegetable oil and cleaning up the kitchen where I could. By 7:15, the oil was hot and the first batches of doughnuts were frying. At a minute a side, the process was quick, if a little messy. My slotted spoon was already packed; two leftover forks were all I could muster up.
By 7:45, I had finished the frying and the doughnuts were ready for their glaze. A few minutes later, the doughnuts were glazed and packaged, and I was preparing my lunch for the day. Once that was done, I was off to wash up and get dressed. Just before 9:00, I walked into the office, two dozen homemade doughnuts in tow: a perfect treat for the last week of work.
Homemade Yeast Doughnuts
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
DOWN TIME: Several hours
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 24 doughnuts and 36 doughnuts holes
WHAT TO GRAB:
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115° F)
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup 1% milk at room temperature
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 ounces of low-fat milk or water
HOW YOU DO IT:
PREPARING THE DOUGH
1. In a large bowl, stir together the yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar, and water. Let it stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the mixture doesn’t foam, you’ll have to discard it and start over with new yeast).
2. Add 1/4 cup sugar, milk, eggs, butter, and salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in about 4 cups of flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, to form a soft dough (the dough should be just a little sticky).
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, turning once so that the dough is also greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The dough should double in size.
CUTTING THE ROUNDS
4. The next morning, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll to a thickness of about 1/3 or 1/4-inch. Using a 3-inch round, cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Bunch the leftover dough and roll it out again. Cut as many rounds as you can from this dough. Repeat one more time, only this time, use a 1.5-inch round and cut only doughnut holes from this last batch of dough. Discard any remaining dough.
5. Use the 1.5-inch round to cut holes out of the middle of each 3-inch round. Set all the rounds and holes on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with towels and let the dough rise for at least one hour.
FRYING THE DOUGH
6. In a medium-size pot, heat plenty of vegetable oil, over medium heat, until it registers between 370 and 375 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to maintain this temperature.
7. Fry the 3-inch doughnuts a few at a time, until golden, about one minute a side. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain on paper towels. Repeat this process until all the doughnuts have been fried.
8. Fry the holes several at a time, until golden. This should only take about thirty seconds a side. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain on paper towels.
9. Mix the Confectioners’ sugar and milk (start with two ounces) in a large bowl until smooth. Dip each side of the doughnuts and the holes in the glaze. Give the doughnuts a few minutes to soak up the glaze, then serve!!