Baked Doughnuts

Expats missing their doughnuts — listen up. You don’t have to travel to a city with Dunkin Donuts franchises on every corner to get a basic doughnut fix. You will, of course, have to do that to get your Boston Creme fix, and I kinda always thought doughnuts are supposed to be fried in oil, and not baked, but as the blogger who opened our eyes to this recipe puts it (and seriously, follow that link — they are beautiful!),

Baked doughnuts are better than no doughnuts.

But you know what? These baked doughnuts are better than anything I’ve had in Germany outside of a Dunkin Donuts. The vanilla flavor in the dough is subtle, but a delcious counterpoint to the yeasty tang, and it will remind, dear North American expatriate, what sweet baked goods are supposed to taste like. If your favorite textural aspect of the doughnut experience is the crispy outer layer, these are not the doughnuts for you. You just won’t get that without deep frying them in oil. If you tend toward inner cakiness however, keep reading.

Ingredients

1 egg
1/4 cup (53g) granulated sugar
1 cup (237ml) whole milk, heated to 115°F (46.1°C)
1 tablespoon (one 10g packet) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 to 3 1/2 cups (418 to 483) all purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading (we needed all 3 1/2 in our batch)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 110g) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes (presumably cold, right? you can’t cut soft butter into cubes)

For Topping:

1 stick (100ish grams) butter, melted
1 cup (210g) granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon (more or less, depending on your taste), mixed together

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg and sugar on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Add the milk, yeast, salt and vanilla, and stir to blend. With the machine on low speed, add 2 cups of flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook. With the machine on medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time, and beat until no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl, 3-5 minutes. We beat ours a lot longer than that, trying to get those butter chunks to integrate mechanically, until I finally gave up and broke them into smaller pieces with the spatula. Then the kneading hook made short of them. Perhaps warmer butter would have made it a little quicker. Reduce speed to low and add the additional flour until the dough gathers around the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. It will be soft and moist, but not overly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl.

Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or a cookie cutter, cut out 3 inch diameter rounds with 1 inch diameter holes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the doughnuts at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 25 minutes.

Bake until the doughnuts are light golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes, being very careful not to over bake them. Immediately out of the oven, dip into butter and then dip directly into cinnamon sugar mixture.

Best eaten fresh and warm, according to the recipe’s sources, but the next day they were still super tasty with a cup of coffee, and my office apparently agreed.

12 thoughts on “Baked Doughnuts”

  1. Scott

    If you had Franzbrötchen where you live, you wouldn’t need doughnuts, baked or otherwise.

    1. Sarah

      That looks like the unholy alliance of cinnamon rolls and croissants.

  2. CN Heidelberg

    I was just lamenting the lack of cake doughnuts here a few days ago! I must try these; thanks!PS Do you have Dunkin in Regensburg? We don’t have it in HD, but I always seem to see them in the north.

    1. Sarah

      I’ve never seen a DD in Bayern. That’s not to say they aren’t here, I just haven’t noticed any.

      These are pretty good for cake donuts in a pinch, but where the recipe says make sure not to overbake? Heed that. Because the middles would dry out and just be sad doughnut fails.

  3. Snooker in Berlin

    But you still need your Dunkin’ fix once in a while, don’t you?

    1. Sarah

      And a Snooker fix, too. Luckily we can get them both in the same place!

  4. Martina

    I will blame you for my expanding waistline. Yup.

    (Seriously, I will bake these this weekend….!!)

    1. Sarah

      Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, no worries on the waistline. They take forever and dirty up a lot of dishes. I enjoyed them a great deal, but I won’t be making them terribly often.

  5. Mandi

    Wow, these sound fantastic. Will definitely give them a try!

  6. GinBerlin

    My kids are donut addicts and the local bakery seems to do fine with the standard, both white frosting with sprinkles and the pflaumen filled. But I like my coffee (and the fancy decorated donuts, like those with eggs for Easter) at DD. Can’t your local bakery do a decent standard donut?

    1. cliff1976

      Can’t your local bakery do a decent standard donut?

      Nope! And especially not in the Fall, when the air always smells slightly of burning leaves, and you need a vest, but not quite a jacket, and fresh apple cider is to be had at every orchard, and you REALLY WANT A CIDER MILL DOUGHNUT.

      This recipe won’t satisfy that craving, either (since those cider mill donuts are always fried and tend to have a cinnamon dough, and this recipe doesn’t), but it still beats anything local I’ve tried.

      I like coffee from Dunkin Donuts too, but I only get it as a special treat. I was thrilled to see the franchise in the Berlin Ostbahnhof after taking the Nachtzug up from Munich in late November 2005. That was the first donut / coffee fix I’d had since moving here at the end of March 2004.

      1. GinBerlin

        I like the new commenting engine- it’s a bit slow loading, but I like the way it e-mails me. We have DD franchises all over in Berlin- I pass one every day on the way to class and another picking the kids up from school.

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