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There is nothing better than hot glazed old-fashioned yeast donuts. Learn how to make the perfect melt in your mouth glazed donuts.
Are You Team Cake Donut or Yeast Donut?
When it comes to donuts, there is a fierce debate on the best donut. And, you can only be on one team: team cake donut or team yeast donut. In case you aren’t familar with the differences:
- A cake donut is tender, soft and has a cake like inside. It gets it’s leavening from baking powder or baking soda. They can also be dense and filling. These donuts are similar to what you get a Dunkin’ Donuts.
- On the other hand, yeast donuts are made with a yeast raised dough. Yeast donuts are fried in oil and a little chewy. The dough is not sweet but usually coated in some sort of icing glaze. A yeast donut is similar to what you get from Krispy Kreme, although I think there are many local donut shops like Shipley’s or Mary Lee Donuts that produce a much better yeast donut.
I am 100% team yeast donut. When I was younger, we would wait until the flashing light outside the donut shop said “HOT” and we would grab hot fresh donuts. There is just something special about a hot, melt in your mouth, sweet glazed donut. They serve primarily cake donuts here in the Netherlands so I’ve had to create a recipe to match the delicious old-fashioned glazed donuts I remember.
Before You Get Started
To get perfect homemade glazed donuts, it takes time, patience and practice. I would be lying to you if I said these were super easy and going to be on your breakfast table in under 30 minutes. There a reason people flock to those amazing local donut shops. They have made it their life’s passion to perfecting the glazed donut. However, don’t let it scare you off. You can make delicious glazed donuts at home. With the right recipe and a bit of patience, you can do this!
How to Make a Glazed Donut
Make the Dough
We are going to first start by making the dough. Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with warm water. Yeast is alive so you’ll want to use warm water. I usually use warm water from the tap and just feel it with my finger. If it is lukewarm, that’s perfect. If the water is too hot, you will kill the yeast and then you won’t get a rise in the donuts. Let the yeast and water sit for about 10 minutes. It should start to bubble and froth a bit. That’s when you know the yeast is activated.
Next, scald the milk. To scald the milk I use a small sauce pan and heat the milk until it is almost bubbling. When you start to see tiny bubbles, turn off the heat. You can also do this in a microwave. I just heat it up by 30 second increments and when the milk is hot, take it off. It usually takes about 1.5 minutes in my microwave but every microwave is different. After you have scaled the milk, let it cool.
Add your shortening (Crisco), sugar and salt to the mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat this on medium low for 1-2 minutes or until the sugar and shortening are fluffly. Once those have come together, add the milk to the mixture. If you feel the sides of the bowl and it is hot, let it sit for a minute and cool to room temperature.
Then you’ll add your egg, vanilla and the yeast/water mixture. Make sure to get all the yeast into your mixer. Remember the yeast is what is going to make your donuts fluffy so you don’t want to miss any of it!
Now it’s time to add the flour. Switch out your paddle attachment to a dough hook attachment on your mixer. Slowly add the flour by 1/4 cup at a time. The recipe calls for 3.5 cups of flour but you may need a little more for it to come together. When it starts to come together into a ball, stop adding flour. Each time I have made this recipe, it takes a slightly different amount of flour each time.
Knead the Dough
Time for my favorite part! Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 4 minutes. Yes, I know. It takes some elbow grease. Just think of it as your workout for the day. After all, you will be eating delicious donuts shortly. The dough will be slightly sticky but should not stick to your hands.
After you have worked the dough, place it into a clean oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rest in a warm place for about 1-1.5 hours.
The dough should be double in size now. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, donut cutter or mason jar lid, cut the dough into donut rings. Cut a hole in the center. I used an icing tip to cut the center. Place the donuts and the holes on a parchment lined baking tray.
As you can tell, they won’t be ready for breakfast unless you wake up at the crack of dawn. If you want to cook them the same day it’s time to do the second proof. However, I recommend doing the second proof in the fridge overnight. So you can do all the steps above the first day and you just have to fry them first thing in the morning.
If you are cooking them the same day: Cover the baking tray with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
If you are doing an overnight proof: Cover and place in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to cook, allow the donuts to come to room temperature (about 30-40 minutes). You can do this while the oil is heating up.
Heat the Oil
Heat 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C. The hardest part of getting a perfectly cooked glazed donut is temperature control. It’s best to use a food or candy thermometer if you have one. You’ll need to monitor the oil heat to make sure they aren’t cooking too fast. Otherwise they will not be cooked all the way through.
Make the Glaze
While the oil is heating up, make the glaze and set up your cooling station. To make the glaze, melt the butter in a medium size bowl. Add the icing sugar and milk. Stir together and set aside. Now is also a good time to set up your cooling station. I used two cooling racks and placed them on top of baking sheets. You can also you a plate with paper towels.
Fry the Donuts & Glaze
Place the donuts in the hot oil and fry until golden brown (about 1 minute on each side). Remove them carefully and drain on paper towels or cooling rack. Dip the donuts into the glaze and set back on the rack. I used some chopped sticks to help toss the donuts around in the glaze. This would also be a great time to grab a friend to help out. You can do this by yourself but it helps to have one person frying the donuts and one person glazing the donuts. You want to make sure that they are glazed while they are hot.
Frequently Asked Questions on Glazed Donuts
Do I need to chill the dough?
I highly suggest using the overnight chill method. The dough will continue to slightly rise in the fridge but not a tremendous amount. The dough will chill in the fridge and be ready to use in the morning. This way you can do all the prep work the day before and then just bring the dough to room temperature and then fry them in the morning.
What is the best temperature for frying donuts?
The best temp is 335 to 350 degrees F (170-175 C). The hardest part of frying the donuts is keeping the oil temperature consistent. I suggest using a candy thermometer to keep and eye on the temperature. Also, note that it does take some time to get 2 inches of oil to come up to temperature so give it some time to heat up. If you are cooking them the same day, heat up your oil about 20 minutes before the second proof is done. If you are cooking them the next day, heat up the oil as the dough is coming to room temperature.
How do I know when donuts are cooked?
The donuts take about 1 minute per side until they are golden brown. And, don’t forget to fry the donut holes. They only take about 30 seconds on each side.
What if I don’t have a donut cutter?
No problem! You can use a biscuit cutter, large cookie cutter or mason jar lid. I use a large icing tip to make the inside hole.
Tools You Need
Here are a few of the tools I used to make this recipe:
- 1 pack of yeast (7 g)
- 1/4 cup water (60 ml)
- 3/4 cup milk (175 ml)
- 1/4 cup shortening (48 g)
- 1/4 cup sugar (50 g)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3.5 to 3 3/4 cups flour (420-450 g)
- Oil for frying
- 2 tbsp melted butter (28 g)
- 2 cups powered sugar (240 g)
- 1/2 cup milk (use less if you want a thicker glaze)
Make the Dough
- Dissolve 1 pack of yeast in warm (room temperature) water in a small bowl. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- In a medium sauce pan, scald the milk so it is just hot and then turn off the heat and let it cool. You can also use the microwave for this and just heat it in 30 minute increments until it is hot to the touch.
- In a mixer, add the shortening, sugar and salt. Mix with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Add egg and vanilla.
- Add yeast and water mixture.
- Switch to the hook attachment and start slowly adding the flour. Add a little bit at a time until it comes to a ball. This may take slightly less or more flour.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 4 minutes.
- Place into a clean oiled bowl and allow it to double in size (1 hour - 1.5 hours).
- On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, donut cutter or mason jar lid, cut the donuts. Cut a hole in the center (I used a icing tip).
- Place donuts on a parchment paper lined tray.
- If proofing overnight, cover the donuts with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.If cooking them now: Cover the donuts with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let the dough rest (proof) for 1 hour.
Make the Glaze
- Melt butter. Add icing sugar and milk. Stir together.
- Heat 2 inches of oil to 350-375 F degrees (175-180 C degrees).Fry donuts about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Remove carefully and drain onto cooling rack or paper towels. Dip donuts in hot glaze and set them on a rack.