Eye-catching, fun, and delicious! Yeast donuts can be found in various flavors, and are most easily recognized by their characteristic round shape, flavorful glazes, and colorful sprinkles. These Chocolate Glazed Yeast Donuts have a thin, crisp exterior, and a soft and fluffy exterior. They are seriously out of this world!
Why do donuts have holes in the center?
As a real food geek, I’m always curious to find out little-known facts about food.
Like, who the hell is the first person in history who came up with the idea of throwing a piece of leavened sweet dough in the hot oil.
Although food history rarely gives us exact information, in this case, it turns out that early American immigrants who came all the way from the Netherlands were the first ones to make something similar to donuts. It was called oliekoek but it didn’t have the typical look of the donut.
The credit for the characteristic ring shape maybe has to do something with a man called Hanson Gregory, the captain of an American ship who, allegedly unhappy with the fact that the doughnut in the middle was often raw after baking, decided to punch a hole in the dough. After that, his mother continued to make and bake donuts which had holes in the middle.
I mean, men and holes, what can I say.
Then WW1 came and for young American soldiers who fought on European soil, donuts served by Doughnut Girls became some kind of comfort food, not only during the war but afterward too.
Considering the donuts were simple and cheap to make, it didn’t take long for them to become one of the noticeable features of American cuisine.
Two basic types of doughnuts
Basically, there are two main procedures of preparing donuts or doughnuts, whatever you like to call them:
The dough for these donuts is very similar to what we in Europe, Croatia especially, know as donuts (Croatian “krafne” or “krofne” are made without holes). In addition to flour and yeast, it contains butter, some sugar, milk, and a good combination of spices and flavors. In this recipe, I decided to go with lemon zest, nutmeg, and tonka bean. I even added some whiskey. Fried donuts loooove some alcohol. These can be filled with some lemon curd or your favorite jam.
This type of donuts is fried in deep oil.
The mixture for this type of donuts is more cakey and runny compared to donuts made with yeast. These preferably need to be baked in a donut baking pan in the oven. Their texture mostly reminds me of soft and fluffy little cakes. They definitely give more opportunities when it comes to experimenting with different flavors.
How to avoid donuts to become oily
Oil’s temperature and the size of your pot are very important.
I’ve noticed that my yeast donuts turn out the best for me when I fry them in oil heated to a temperature between 170 and 180°C (340 – 350°F). If the temperature of the oil is too low, the donuts will be greasy and oily after frying. If the temperature is too high, they will darken too quickly on the outside and probably stay raw on the inside.
Now, nobody want that to happen, right?
A kitchen thermometer is a life saver.
The trick with putting a toothpick or handle of a wooden spoon into hot oil to see if the temperature is correct may help while we fry our yeast donuts but it’s not 100% reliable. If you can, try to invest in a good kitchen thermometer which will probably become a very helpful tool to you.
Don’t overcrowd them.
Remember, these chubby pieces of dough like to have plenty of space while getting a tan, so don’t bake more than 3-4 at a time. This also depends on how big your pot is. Just imagine yourself during the summer in the pool – do you prefer to huddle with a bunch of unknown people or do you like to swim freely?
Well, same logic goes here.
A cooling rack is your best friend.
Before you start baking donuts, prepare a place where you can drain them of some excess fat. In this case, the cooling rack covered with few layers of kitchen paper towels proved to be the best.
How to dispose of leftover frying oil
Since I very rarely prepare fried food at home (this was one of the exceptions), I became interested in what should I do with the used oil after frying donuts and decided to do a little research on what are the best options.
What you must NEVER do is pour the oil down the drain. This will seriously pollute the water and wildlife. Also, you may end up clogging your pipes. It’s best to store it in a plastic bottle and then dispose of it in the garbage. There’s even a better solution: try to find out the place where you can recycle the cooking oil. In my country, we can do this at the gas station.
Chocolate glaze for donuts
Once the donuts are done, here comes the funniest part – GLAZE.
Scrolling through many American recipes for donuts, I’ve seen that many people opt for a glaze made of icing sugar + milk. To those two main ingredients can be added different food colorings and extracts.
Honestly, that seemed kind of boring to me, so I decided to dip my yeast donuts in classic chocolate ganache made of dark chocolate. Then I sprinkled them with some hazelnuts, chocolate, and rainbow sprinkles.
You can experiment with salted caramel, coffee glaze, sprinkle them with crushed candies, cookies, or salted pretzels. Only the sky is the limit.
Now let’s make these chocolate glazed yeast donuts!
Bake with love,