How to make Perfect Doughnuts + Doughnut troubleshooting

Let’s talk perfect doughnuts! 🙂

Deliciously fluffy and airy (on the inside), and tender (on the outside) fried pieces of dough coated with a sweet glaze? What’s not to love about that? Doughnuts (or donuts, I’ll be using both spellings interchangeably in this post) have been around for centuries – and glazes, fillings and other little twists aside – there’s a reason why this little treat is still so popular in essentially the same way it was first conceived. Yes, there are baked, raw “donuts” out there now, but a deep-fried donut is where it all started, and there’s nothing like it in terms of flavour and texture.

I made doughnuts for the blog for the first time when I made these Simpsons doughnuts, a while back. I went through a few versions before I arrived at this recipe, and have loved making doughnuts since then!

My beautiful girl Madeleine, from KitchenAid certainly makes the job of making perfect donuts at home a lot easier! She’s my prized possession in the kitchen right now, and I absolutely love how smoothly it works.

My beautiful girl Madeleine, from KitchenAid certainly makes the job of making perfect donuts at home a lot easier! She’s my prized possession in the kitchen right now, and I absolutely love how smoothly it works.

If you want filled donuts, then you can simply cut/divide the dough in to portions more or less equally, and roll them into smooth balls.

Perfect Glazed Doughnuts - The guide to Perfect Doughnuts with a vanilla glaze with a complete troubleshooting guide. Now you can have perfect doughnuts every single time

Knowing when the doughnuts are ready to be fried 

The second proofing usually only takes 1 hour at a room temperature of around 72°F- 75°F (22°C- 25°C) – a little less in the summer if it’s warmer, and a little longer in the winter if it’s cooler.

After I leave the doughnuts (covered with plastic wrap) for this second rise, I check on them after 30 minutes and then every 10-15 minutes. Check the first doughnut you cut out/rolled up and lightly press/prod it.

If the indentation you make with your finger immediately disappears, the dough is not done yet (underproofed).
If the indentation stays (see the video) – it’s ready! Remove the plastic wrap, and it’s time to heat up that oil.

However, if the cut dough starts to deflate, then it has been overproofed (which is why you should keep an eye on them after the first 30 minutes of your second proofing step), and will need to be re-kneaded, and re-chilled in the fridge for at least one hour (to rest).

Here’s another important tip that works for me – once the doughnuts have been perfectly proofed, take off that plastic wrap cover and let the dough “dry” for about 10-15 minutes. This will form a crust on the surface of the doughnuts and will make it easier to handle them and protects the donuts while they are being fried.

This step is not required, but I’ve found that it makes it easier for me to pick up the donuts, and it also helps them keep their shape better during frying.

What happens if the doughnuts haven’t been proofed properly?

Overproofed – leads to oily, collapsed, flat donuts.

Underproofed – leads to stiffer (denser) donuts that don’t puff up well when fried.

Cracked donuts – this may have happened if you used a cutter and it wasn’t sharp enough to cut through the dough cleanly. Or the dough is underproofed or too cold.

Balled up donuts – if the dough has not had enough time to rest (especially donuts cut from the second re-roll), they tend to shrink (in width, not in height) and ball up when fried.

If your donuts were rested and proofed correctly, frying is the next step.

Perfect Glazed Doughnuts - The guide to Perfect Doughnuts with a vanilla glaze with a complete troubleshooting guide. Now you can have perfect doughnuts every single time

Frying doughnuts

The optimum temperature for the oil/shortening should be 370°-375°F (188-191°C).

If your oil is at this optimum temperature, then the oil does its job, and when you drain your fried doughnuts, any excess oil gets drained out cleanly so that you don’t end up with any oily residue on your doughnuts.

But if the oil temperature is too low (lower than around 360ºF/183°C), you will end up with very oily doughnuts, since the oil gets trapped and absorbed by the dough.

Conversely, if the oil/shortening is too hot, this results in your doughnuts browning too fast and leaving a raw center, or burnt doughnuts, or both!

Another tip for frying doughnuts – you want your doughnuts to float in the oil/shortening. Since only half of the doughnut gets fried at a time (only half is submerged in the oil due to buoyancy resulting from that light, airy inside), you might be tempted to shallow fry it with less oil. DO NOT do that! Please make sure there’s a good amount of oil, allowing the doughnuts to freely float while being fried.

Plus, it’s easier to maintain the temperature of the oil when there’s a sufficient volume of it too. The oil heats more evenly resulting in evenly browned/fried perfect donuts.

Perfect Glazed Doughnuts - The guide to Perfect Doughnuts with a vanilla glaze with a complete troubleshooting guide. Now you can have perfect doughnuts every single time

Glazing doughnuts

If you’re only glazing doughnuts (for classic glazed doughnuts), then wait till the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, but still warm. Warmer doughnuts are easier to glaze than cold doughnuts and it results in a thinner, more even glaze. However, I have glazed doughnuts that were at room temperature as well without an issue. But if I’m planning on filling my doughnuts, then I prefer to let them cool first, then fill and finally glaze them, especially because I work alone. If you have someone lending you a helping hand – you can have them glaze the doughnuts while they’re still warm.

Doughnuts are best eaten on the same day they are made! Really. Unglazed doughnuts really don’t taste that great the next day – unless they were stored in an air-tight container. Glazed doughnuts withstand time and drying slightly better because they are protected by that glaze which prevents them from going stale rapidly. These taste pretty good even the next day. But so-so by the third day, by which time, you could probably consider making bread pudding out of those doughnuts! 🙂 That’s what I do if we have leftovers and that tastes pretty amazing as well!

We have stored glazed doughnuts in the freezer as well, which helps keep them fresh for longer (up to a week). Each doughnut was stored separately in a ziploc bag. They thaw out fairly quickly at room temperature when you’re ready to snack!

Perfect Glazed Doughnuts - The guide to Perfect Doughnuts with a vanilla glaze with a complete troubleshooting guide. Now you can have perfect doughnuts every single time

You can use this dough to make your favorite doughnuts. Like these Simpsons donuts, or blueberry cardamom doughnuts, or coffee doughnuts filled with white chocolate creme patisserie!

I have other favorite ways to prepare doughnuts too! Maple bacon bars (with bacon and maple glaze, lemon meringue dougnuts, chocolate truffle doughnuts (with Lindt truffles inside), Nutella stuffed caramel doughnuts (Nutella inside, caramel outside!), and so many more flavors. SO STAY TUNED TO GET ALL THESE RECIPES! 🙂

If you liked this tutorial on how to make perfect doughnuts with vanilla glaze (perfect donuts) and this comprehensive troubleshooting tutorial, don’t forget to subscribe for new (and free) recipes by entering your email address on the side bar (and get all these recipes delivered straight to your inbox), so you don’t miss out on a thing. You can find me on FACEBOOKTWITTER,INSTAGRAM,  PINTERESTYOU TUBE and GOOGLE-PLUS too.

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