Saturday, January 29, 2011
1 1/3 cups warm milk (95-105 degrees)
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set aside for 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, stir butter and sugar into remaining warm milk. Add to yeast mixture.With a fork, stir in flour, nutmeg and salt until flour is just incorporated.
With the dough hook attachment, stir on medium speed for a few minutes. The dough should pull away from the side of the bowl and begin to form a ball. If it appears to be too sticky, add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time. If it appears to be too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon or so at a time.
Turn onto floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place (like the top of the oven turned to a very low temperature) for one hour, until dough is doubled in size.
Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two round biscuit cutters (one large, one small) to cut doughnuts out. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover, and let rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. While doughnuts are baking, melt butter in a microwe-safe bowl. Place cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Doughnuts are done when golden on the bottom. When doughnuts come out of oven, toss in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
This is the part where you're supposed to be enjoying your warm, delicious, guilt-free baked doughnuts. Instead, I was looking at a bunch of barely golden, flat disks on my baking sheet. I'm almost certain I know what went wrong (it could have been one of two things ... or both):
1. My milk was too warm. It's important to make sure the milk doesn't exceed 105 degrees or you risk killing the yeast. I checked mine, but removed the thermometer as soon as I saw it hit 95 - I should have made sure it didn't pass 105 (and I have a feeling it would have).
2. My yeast stayed at the bottom of the mixing bowl and didn't get fully incorporated into the dough. I often have this problem with my mixing bowl because there's a dip in the bottom of the bowl that's tough to reach. I suspect I didn't get down there while I was mixing with the fork, and it's impossible for the hook to reach down there.
My dough didn't appear to be doubled after the first rising, but I forged ahead because I'd already gone that far and I figured it was worth seeing what happened. It didn't get any better from there. I could tell when I was cutting the doughnuts that it wasn't quite right, too. But after all that work, I had to at least put them in the oven. What a waste!
As usual, I'm not giving up. I'll give it another shot, and now that I know what probably went wrong I expect to be successful! Erin was luckier than I was with this recipe, so many she has some suggestions for me :)