Friday, 24 July 2015

Recipe Revision: Doughnuts (Wheat-Free with Dairy Free Option)

Every so often, I like to revisit and revise some recipes that I think need tweaking. I take on the feedback, and make adjustments to the recipes, and this time I'm having a look at my doughnuts recipe.



I've been using the same doughnut recipe for a while now, and it's been doing the job. However, the most common bits of feedback is that they're too dry, the crusts are too thick, and that they crack when they cook. A few people, both online and in the real world, have said that they would prefer something a little more moist and soft, like a "shop bought" doughnut, and I would actually agree with them.

To achieve this, I did a few things:

  1. I reduced the amount of raising agent. This was causing the doughnuts to rise too quickly and too much, causing the cracking on the surface.
  2. I upped the amount of milk in the recipe, to make the dough softer and a little cakier.
  3. I swapped the oil for butter/margarine, and upped that too for more moisture. The block fat is melted to make mixing easier at the start, but sets up to solid again after a brief chill, making the dough - which now has more moisture - firm up and become easier to work with.


Also, another comment that was made, and that I personally experienced, is that the recipe I was using made dense and dry doughnuts that were difficult to fill with jam using the standard syringe method after cooking. However, no matter how many variations I tried, this was always the case. Also, sometimes the round doughnuts with no hole never cooked fully through, or needed way too long in the oil

To combat this, I had a go at filling the doughnuts before frying and it worked a treat! It also meant that they cooked faster and more evenly in the oil.

In the photos below, you can see a batch of doughnuts with glazed rings, and jam doughnuts. You can see in the sides of these ones where I attempted to inject jam, which didn't work at all. In the second photo, which had the jam sandwiched inside the raw dough before frying, the jam inside the doughnut, and the texture of the crumb of the cake itself. This method was far more effective. That's my brother's hand; can't you see the family resemblance?


FREE FROM
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat

CONTAINS
☒ Gluten
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Eggs
☒ Dairy (you can use block margarine instead of butter, and water instead of milk)

INGREDIMENTS

For the dough:

  • 6 ounces (170 grammes) white spelt flour
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) cornflour
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) butter or block margarine, melted and cooled
  • 4 fluid ounces (120 millilitres) milk or water, or milk alternative, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Optional: ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

For filling and decoration:

  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) raspberry, strawberry, or any jam you'd like, sieved to remove seeds and pieces of fruit
  • Icing sugar
  • Food colouring
  • Sprinkles
  • Caster sugar
  • Cinnamon

METHOD:
  • In a mixing bowl, sieve the flour, cornflour, sugar, (nutmeg, if using) and baking powder together. Make a well in the centre, and add in the egg, butter, and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are fully moistened, and the ingredients are well combined. The dough will seem very, very sticky, but don't freak out: it needs a stint in the fridge to set/
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a sheet of cling film, or a slightly damp tea towel, and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is firm to touch, but still a little tacky.
  • In a saucepan filled with about 2 inches (5 centimetres) of flavourless oil, such sunflower oil, or in a deep fat fryer, preheat the oil to 190˚C (375˚F). Line a plate with a double layer of kitchen paper, for draining. I use a deep fryer because it's safer, and also because the heat is more consistent, which makes more consistent doughnuts.
  • Dredge your work surface, rolling pin, and cutters very well with flour. You will need a 3 inch (7½ centimetre) round cutter for all the doughnuts, and a 1½ (3¾  centimetre) round cutter to cut out the middles of the ring doughnuts.


To make ring doughnuts,
  • Roll the soft dough out on the surface, keeping flour nearby in cake it sticks, to a thickness of half an inch (1 centimetre).The mixture is very sticky and very soft, but that's how you want it, DO NOT be tempted to add more flour, because it'll make the dough too dry, which will cause the crusts to crack too much while frying.
  • Cut out the doughnuts out with the big cutter, then their middles with the small cutter, and lie them on a baking paper line tray, to make frying easier. Gather up and re-roll the trimmings and punched out middles, being careful not to work the dough too much or be too rough with it; it’s delicate and temperamental.
  • Using a fish slice and a table knife, put a doughnut on the fish slice, lower it into the oil, and slide it off the slice with the flat of the knife. This stops the doughnuts from losing their shape. Only fry a few at a time, because they need room to puff up, and if you put too many in at once you will make the temperature of the oil will drop too much.
  • Fry the doughnuts for a total of 3 to 4 minutes, flipping half way through. You can tell when they’re ready to flip because the outside of the doughnuts, and the inside of the hole, will be a nice golden brown colour around the edge. If they brown too quickly, your oil is too hot, and if they don’t brown in two minutes, the oil is too cold.
  • Flip and finish cooking, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the kitchen paper lined plate, blotting off all the excess oil. Move to a wire rack to cool.


To make jam doughnuts,
  • Roll the soft dough out on the surface, keeping flour nearby in cake it sticks, to a thickness of a quarter inch (6 millimetres). Try and get the dough into a nice a rectangle as you can.
  • On one half of the rectangle, spoon teaspoonfuls of jam, about 2 inches (5 centimetres) apart, then fold the plain dough over, covering the jam blobs, pressing the edges around the jam gently. Use the big round cutter to cut out around the jam, making little round jam and dough sandwiches; treat them gently. Gather up and re-roll the trimmings as with the ring doughnuts.
  • In the same way as the ring doughnuts, use a fish slice to lower them into the oil and a knife to push them off. These take a little longer to cook: about 5 minutes, flipping half way through. You can tell when they’re ready to flip because the outside of the doughnuts will be a nice golden brown colour around the edge. If they brown too quickly, your oil is too hot, and if they don’t brown in two minutes, the oil is too cold.
  • Flip and finish cooking, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the kitchen paper lined plate, blotting off all the excess oil. Move to a wire rack to cool.


To decorate,
  • Once the doughnuts are cool, you can decorate them however you want. You can mix some caster sugar with some cinnamon, and toss the doughnuts in that to coat, or just toss them in plain caster sugar.
  • Or, you can make some simple glaze with water and icing sugar, adding some food colouring if you like, and dip them in it. Decorate with sprinkles.


These new revised doughnuts are much nicer in texture and flavour than their predecessors, and using the pre-filling method is much more effective. You can, of course, fill them with whatever you like: custard, nutella, marmalade, peanut butter, marmite, superglue, or whatever your heart desires... within reason, obviously.

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