i interrupt my Friday practice (of late) of answering reader questions to share with you our donut adventures of 1 week ago.
I come from a long line of Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites and every February they celebrate Fastnacht, right before Lent. It is always celebrated with homemade yeast donuts. My grandmother kept that tradition alive although she would make them for us when she came to visit, which was usually in the summer. Well this year we missed it. Life has been crazy with some gluten free and 1 grain free and I didn’t have the energy to tackle donuts in February. But in March things looked different and so I decided to figure out to make donuts for my family. (Plus the kids were asking; it is a tradition now and you know how kids are with traditions.)
The result was that I adapted my grandmother’s donut recipe to be sourdough (so that all the grain is soaked and thus the danger from the gluten is neutralized) and I have to say they came out really awesome. And since my oldest daughter, who seems to be very gluten intolerant at this point, does not want to risk getting ill from sourdough she made chocolate peppermint cake donuts from Real Sustenance. So we were all happy.
In order to use gluten grains with those who are trying to be gluten free the grains must be soaked for 24 hours at least with the sourdough medium.. A longer time is better. The dough can be mixed and put into the fridge in order to length the time needed. I only allowed my dough 24 hours because I did not get started early enough. (I have found this information in The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread, by Jessie Hawkins, one of my favorite books in the past year on dealing with grains)
So after I mixed up the dough I lit it sit the rest of the afternoon and all night. It rose nicely in the bowl which was very reassuring before I went to bed. The next morning I added in the eggs and vanilla and began to roll out the dough and cut out donuts. To avoid any unsoaked gluten flours I used sorghum flour and white rice flour to deal with the stickiness and so I could roll things out. Below is the rolled out dough with my donut cutter. (Excuse the other things on the counter. I have a small and crowded kitchen.)
Then I left the cut donuts sit out on trays for the rest of the morning to rise, which they did nicely (although this picture was actually before they rose.)
When I was ready to fry I put together an interesting mix of oils that I have on hand. I used 1/3 lard, which I had rendered about 2 years ago and kept in the fridge since. Then I added in some safflower oil and the rest of a jar of vegetable oil (which I really don’t use but had sitting around.) Finally to make it deep enough in my big frying pan I added in some coconut oil. Then I let the oil heat up to 300-350 degrees F.
When the oil was hot enough we put in the first donut hole. It browned nicely so we put in donuts and at this point my oldest daughter took over as she loves to fry donuts and I needed to get confectioner’s sugar at the store for the glaze.
As soon as I got back we mixed up the glaze and here they are (although of course no longer). The family came running when they found out the donuts were ready to eat. And we had new tenants stop in with their deposit money so they got a donut each as well. Timing was everything today.
Recipe (combination of the sourdough donuts from Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread and my grandmother’s recipe)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 T butter, melted
2 cups mashed potatoes
Combine the starter, milk, flour, butter, sugar, potatoes, and salt in a bowl. For breakfast doughnuts, you’ll want to begin these in the morning the day before. Let the mixture sit 10-12 hours.
Later that evening, add the eggs and vanilla. Stir to combine. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut into shapes with a doughnut cutter. Place the doughnuts and holes on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel. Store the dough in the fridge to rise overnight.
In the morning, fill a frying pan with 1-2 inches of melted coconut oil or a heat-stable oil over medium heat (300-350). Add the doughnuts, frying 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly browned and cooked through. (If you’re not sure whether they are cooked or not, remove the first one and break it open to see. If the edges are dark brown but the insides are still doughy, you may need to turn the heat down to medium low.)
Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess grease.
Mix together 1 cup boiling water, 2 tbsp butter and 1 lb. powdered sugar ( no that part is not so healthy). Thin or thicken as needed to get a glaze that will stick to the donut but will also allow the extra to drip off. You will have to experiment with this to get the consistency that you like.