Ratio Baking: Donuts

donuts ratio baking

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a baking post. I’m still using ratios to bake (haven’t quite figured out how to work with new recipes again, so I stick to the recipes I used as a child and do my best to figure out how to make everything else using ratios), but haven’t branched out into making anything new. Once my family gets stuck on enjoying one thing, they’re more likely to ask for it again and again and again and again until they wear it out and can’t figure out what they’re willing to eat next.

A couple of weeks ago, my kids were home for Spring Break, and we had two whole days where I had nothing planned. I decided it was the perfect time to try ratio baking donuts. Well, more accurately, ratio frying, because no baking was involved in making them. Sometime last year, so many months ago I want to say it was summer but could have been the fall, my husband tried out a Youtube recipe for Krispy Kreme donuts because our closest store is quite a drive away (I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t like those donuts). I won’t say it wasn’t terrible, but I’ve learned to not trust those Youtube videos (that’s great if they work out for you! They never seem to go well in my kitchen). My kitchen was a mess, though that could partially be because my husband doesn’t have the baking background I do, and, honestly, I found some of the steps he had to do a little ridiculous and unnecessary. After that, I decided I would try out my enriched bread dough ratio because that was basically what he made.

Maybe it’s because I know what I’m doing, but I didn’t make nearly as much a mess as the recipe my husband followed would have me believing was necessary for making donuts. It was…surprisingly easy. Well, not the frying part, because I still haven’t perfected how long to fry them for. But, according to one of my kids, my donuts are the best and, according to the other, they’re a very close second. I’m going to say, though, that I’m glad we’re not big donut eaters because I used a lot of butter and eggs and those are expensive these days!

Anyways, I started with taking zero pictures and ended with taking zero pictures because, again, the kids were on Spring Break and half the time I don’t even know where my phone is. But that’s okay because I figure I’ll make them again in, oh, maybe another six or so months? Maybe I’ll get lucky and the kids will be in school and I’ll remember to take some pictures.

I started with my bread dough recipe: 5: 3, flour to liquid. What does that mean? To keep it simple, if you use, say 5 ounces of flour, you’ll need 3 ounces of liquid (usually warm water for regular bread). I like using ounces and pounds here because 1 pound of flour (or 16 ounces) asks for about a teaspoon of active, dry yeast (or about a packet of yeast).

I used 15 ounces of bread flour and 9 ounces of warm milk, because we are, after all, making an enriched dough. This requires not just milk, but butter, eggs, and sugar. For each of these, I cut the weight of the flour in half and used that amount for each of them. So I ended up using 2 sticks of butter (8 ounces), 4 eggs (because eggs are expensive and I didn’t want to use that many. Besides, I was thinking of the 9 ounces of milk I was adding and didn’t want to add too much liquid. At least, not yet), and 8 ounces of sugar.

First, I added the sugar, yeast, 0.2 ounces of salt, and a couple tablespoons of wheat germ to the flour and mixed it together. Then I added the milk and turned on my mixer with the dough hook attached. Once it looked like it was coming together, I added the eggs, which my kids broke into a bowl so I was able to fish out all the shell pieces after they abandoned me. When they looked more or less mixed in, I added the butter, which had been cut into pieces and was generally room temperature (my kids got impatient). Since my butter was still a little cold, it took a while for it to mix together. I think I left my mixer on for over a half hour before I got tired of the whining.

Enriched dough calls for two rises, the second one being in the fridge over night or about 8 hours. My kids were, under no circumstances, going to wait until the next day. So I went ahead with the first rise and decided to use about 2/3 of the dough to attempt to make some donuts. The dough was extremely sticky while I tried to flatten it into about half an inch thickness, and I probably ended up adding way more flour than I should have just so I could work with it without it sticking to me. My husband had a donut cutter from last year, so I used that, and had to pry the still very sticky dough from it and practically flour them so they wouldn’t stick to my parchment paper, or me while I transferred them to a pot of hot oil.

I had no idea what to heat the oil to, but later found out 330-350 degrees is a good range. My first couple of donuts got very dark on the outside and were raw on the inside. The next few were better, but still dark. I made an icing with powdered sugar and milk, and let the kids enjoy. They were dense, but tasted like donuts. I refrigerated the last third of dough because I was tired.

I had planned on making brioche with the rest of the dough, but my kids demanded more donuts. Fortunately, I had a better idea of what to do with the dough and what oil temperature to use. Also fortunately, the cold dough was so much easier to work with, so I added far less flour into it while I flattened the dough and cut out the donuts. They were still a little darker than I would have liked because I still haven’t figured out exactly how long to fry them for, but they were lighter and, honestly, a vast improvement over the day before.

Will I make donuts again? Eventually. But donuts don’t always sit well with me, so I avoid eating them as much as I can, and we really don’t need to add more fried foods to our diets. But I’ll try to take pictures next time. Maybe I’ll add some sprinkles, too.

3 thoughts on “Ratio Baking: Donuts

    1. Once I started getting the math worked out ratio baking became a lot more enjoyable. I’m always surprised by how easy a lot of things are to make. Donuts were a little more challenging, but still delicious. I’ll definitely agree with needing to be brave enough, though. It takes me a while to get up the nerve to try something new.

      Liked by 1 person

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