True, you can always buy doughnuts -- most supermarket bakeries sell them, and nearly every town has a doughnut shop. But making homemade doughnuts yourself brings its own sweet rewards: Yours will be fresher and better -- and it's a great project for a rainy weekend afternoon.
What Are Doughnuts?
Doughnuts (also spelled donuts) are deep-fried pastries made from dough. Doughnutlike fried pastries appear in many forms the world over, from savory to sweet. However, in the United States, doughnuts are most often sweet treats, commonly enjoyed at breakfast or as a midmorning or midafternoon snack. Although doughnuts are sometimes filled with jam or pastry cream, the most common American doughnut type is circular with a hole in the middle -- it looks like a puffy, chubby ring.
The Hole Story
How the hole ended up in the center of the doughnut is unclear, but one believable story is that in the mid-18th century, a Maine baker's apprentice was frustrated by a succession of fried pastries that turned out with underdone centers. The apprentice decided to poke holes in the pastries before frying to help them cook more evenly.
There are two basic ring-style doughnuts:
Safety First When Making Doughnuts
When deep-frying, the cooking oil reaches very high temperatures, which can start fires or cause burns. Before you roll up your sleeves to make doughnuts, review a few safety guidelines:
Special Equipment for Making Doughnuts
1. Gather the Ingredients
2. Make the Batter
3. Prepare the Coating, Glaze, or Icing
About a half-hour before the end of the chilling time, get the coating, glaze, or icing ready for the doughnuts. Coatings and toppings should be prepared before you start to fry the doughnuts, as they should be applied while the fried doughnuts are still slightly warm. Doughnuts can simply be coated with powdered sugar or granulated sugar. Place the sugar in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. Or you can ice the tops of the doughnuts with one of the following:
4. Roll the Dough
5. Cut the Dough
6. Fry the Doughnuts
7. Coat or Ice the Doughnuts
Add these optional finishing touches while the doughnuts are still slightly warm: