Sourdough doughnuts, sourdough donuts or sourdoughnuts? I know there are different opinions on the correct spelling, but regardless of the way you spell it, these doughnuts are a thing of beauty. They are light and airy, not overly sweet and you can decorate them any way you would like - so go nuts! Plus, these are easier to make than you may think, as with most things sourdough there is a lot of waiting, but the results are most definitely worth it.
If you have been following along with my posts and recipes you may notice that this recipe looks familiar. That's because it is the exact same dough as my Chocolate Swirl buns! Click HERE to jump to that recipe. I like to keep things as simple as possible and that dough works well for these doughnuts. Everything about the two recipes stays the same until you roll the dough out. At that point you can either cover it with toppings and roll it up for buns, or you can cut out your doughnut shapes...choose your own adventure. Sometimes I will even make a double batch, roll out the dough, cut it in half and make both!
Ingredients (~12 doughnuts)
300g Anita's all purpose flour or strong bread flour
60g Levain or discard
145g Milk (I use 2%)
1 large egg
50g Liquid honey
56g (1/2 a stick) Melted unsalted butter
Doughnut glaze, see notes
Canola oil for Frying
Overnight levain Build, or discard from the fridge.
7:00am- Mix all the wet ingredients and melted butter in a bowl (I microwave briefly until warm). Add everything else and mix well. With a stand mixer and a dough hook, mix on low for approximately 4 minutes. You want it to be getting pretty smooth and elastic by the end. Do not worry about full gluten development at this stage. You can also knead or "slap and fold" the dough for this step.
Perform two or three "Coil Folds" or "Stretch and folds" to the dough, roughly an hour apart. If you are unfamiliar with this, click HERE for a quick video from a previous recipe. After your last fold the dough should be very extensible and you will be able to pull it very thin before it breaks (this is called the "windowpane" test). This demonstrates that the gluten has developed well and the dough is strong.
1:00pm- Gently stretch out dough into a somewhat flat square, cover with plastic and place the dough in the fridge overnight. The cold dough will be much easier to roll out in the next step. If you are in a rush you can put the dough in the freezer for an hour to cool it down before rolling out. If you do this you can go straight to the next step and you'll have freshly made doughnuts for dinnertime!
9:00am- Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out until it is about a 1/4" thick. Use as much flour as necessary but try not to overdo it. Once rolled out you can then cut out your doughnut shapes. For this I just use a 3.5" water glass to punch out the circle and another small 1" container to knock out the middle. When you cut out as many circles as you can, gather the scraps of dough, and make a tight ball. Roll out and repeat until there is no dough left. Put the doughnut circles on a lightly floured piece of parchment, cover with plastic and place somewhere warm to proof. Like the Brod and Taylor Proofer that I use.
12:00pm-2:00pm- Keep an eye on your dough. Knowing when to fry the doughnuts is the most important part of getting great results. You want the dough to be visibly puffy and larger than this morning when you cut them out. When you put then in the oil they need to be proofed to the point that there is enough gas in them to float. Once they start looking plump you should get your oil ready to fry. I use canola oil and my classic 5 quart Lodge Dutch Oven for this. You are looking for a temperature between 350-375°F.
Frying- I like to fry a few of the little doughnut holes first. These will give you a good idea if the dough is actually ready to fry. If they just sink straight to the bottom and stay there then you need to wait a little longer. You want them to float the whole time. If you put them in and they sink but pop up right away them they will be fine also. I fry the doughnuts for about a minute per side, but watch them carefully. You want them to have a nice dark golden colour, although as with most of my baking I like to go a little darker than some might think is ideal! Once fried on both side transfer to a wire cooling rack to drain off any excess oil.
Once all the doughnuts have cooled down you can dip them in any glaze you want and decorate them. My favourite is a maple glazed doughnut topped with maple flakes.
Sometimes you can carefully peel off the dough and place into the oil by hand. Other times, if very proofed, it will resist and not want to come off. This is when the parchment paper can save you. Simply cut the paper into sections and place upside down in the oil, the parchment paper may slowly peel off at this point, or you might need to carefully coax it off with a spatula or spoon. See pictures below for reference.
Getting the glaze consistency just right may take a little practice. After dunking your doughnut in the glaze you do not want all of the glaze to run right off, but you also do not want it so thick that it is like icing. If it's a bit thick then add some extra milk 1/2 teaspoon or less at a time. If it is too runny a little bit of extra sugar with thicken it up nicely.
Maple glaze: 200g icing sugar, 20g milk, 55g maple syrup, 6g vanilla. Top with maple flakes or crushed walnuts.
Chocolate glaze: 200g icing sugar, 50g milk, 30g cocoa powder, 6g vanilla. Top with sprinkles or shaved dark chocolate.
I find that with my setup 350°F is definitely hot enough, 375°F works, but the doughnuts fry very quickly and get dark fast.
Play around with toppings, let me know what you like to use!
This is a recipe where my Brod & Taylor proofer really comes in handy. If you're thinking of purchasing one please click HERE for my affiliate link. It helps the keep the website running!
If you do not have a proofer, or you've made too many doughnuts to put in the proofer you can place them in your oven that is OFF with the light on to create a warm environment.