Hi there! This is my first post and I could think of nothing better to yarn on about than my passion for baking doughnuts.
My name is James and I have been baking from the age of 7. While my peers were out playing football or swapping Pokemon cards after school, I was in the kitchen making a mess (to the despair of my poor Mother). For years Mum was telling me, "Look James, you're fantastic at making cakes and I love eating them, but if you don't learn to clean up after you, I am going to have to take your wooden spoons and mixing bowls away". Over 15 years later I am still making a mess in the kitchen but to my Mother's delight, I have now learnt what a dishcloth is and does.
For years at school, people wondered why I loved baking. I wondered why they didn't. I had a bit of a tough time at school I must admit. 7-year-old James was keen on trying his bakes. A little too keen. I was a wee chubster and guilty as charged, still am. However this attracted the attention of school yard bullies and only three years after starting Primary School, I had to move schools. Yet throughout the trials, baking provided an escape for me. I could turn my attention towards creating some new concoction and watch it explode in the oven because I added too much bicarbonate. I could concentrate on beating egg whites and vent my frustrations until they turned into a meringue ready for cream and berries to sit on top of it. As is the case with many hobbies, mine was born out of trial which made me that more passionate about it.
But you will find out more about me as I continue to add more stories. For now, I would like to chat about doughnuts. This year, my final year at university, I fancied spending as much time with my friends whom I found along the way (much to the demise of my grades) so I decided to host a "doughnut night" each week. I must say, the mad seshers on my street who were getting ready to go clubbing, banging tunes out of speakers on the front steps of the houses, they would have been very jealous of my parties if they had known what we were up to. At my parties, we drank tea around a table full of my freshly baked doughnuts, caught up on the scandal the nursing students witnessed while on placement in A&E during the week, and we listened to the "Great British Breakfast" playlist on Spotify in the background if chat died out. In all seriousness though, I will miss these nights once I graduate, they were fab!
Each week my doughnuts improved. I experimented with new flavors and I loved to tweak at the recipes. I never actually followed a recipe I must admit. I read a few different methods and watched a couple of you-tube tutorials the night before but when the next morning came, I just winged it. As I began to discover what made a good doughnut, I documented what I did differently. Now I have in my view, the best recipe for doughnuts, EVER. And it's my own! I run a doughnut business called "Van Dough: Artisan Doughnuts"—check Van Dough out on Facebook! This is the recipe I use for my business. What I like about my doughnuts is that they are not greasy, when freshly baked they have a lovely fluffy texture yet because they are bigger and more risen than the average Tesco's value doughnut they constitute a decent portion with a cuppa. Because they aren't too sweet and in no way salty, they allow the toppings and fillings to respectively stand out alongside the bread itself.
So having got this far (which I applaud you for) I suppose you would like to take a peak at the recipe? If you read it, you have to promise to make it and let me know how it goes, OK? Well then lets get cracking (eggs) ((I'm a comical genius, no need to tell me)).
Recipe makes 12-15
- 500g Strong Bread Flour
- 1 x 7g Packet of Instant Action Dried Yeast
- 40g Caster Sugar
- 1 Tsp Table Salt
- 250mls Lukewarm Milk
- 50mls Lukewarm Water
- 30g Melted Butter
- 20g Melted Lard
- 1 Large Egg, Beaten
- Stick your favourite music on and get pumped. I recommend something funny. I once listened to a yodeling playlist while making doughnuts. Now that was a laugh, if you don't believe me, try it. You would be surprised how much you can make yourself laugh sometimes. I find myself to be my own favourite comedian. Alongside David Walliams.
- Sift the Flour into a large bowl and add in the other dry ingredients, stir. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients.
- Using your recently washed hands, mix together and form into a dough. It shouldn't be wet. If it is, add in a little flour to bring it to a pliable ball which can sit upright without continuing to spread out. Now that you have this dough, its time to get kneading for 10 minutes. Using the palm of your favourite kneading hand, push the dough away from you and then bring the dough back and repeat; that's how I do it. If you're new to this baking business, my kneading advice may not suffice. If so, look up a YouTube tutorial, its not hard, and you will get the hang of it!
- Place the kneaded dough into a large greased bowl and cover it with greased cling film. Leave the dough somewhere warm and dry for an hour or until doubled in size. Tip it out onto a lightly floured worktop, knead for 1 minute and divide into 2 equal portions. Lightly flour your worktop again and a rolling pin and roll a portion out until about an inch thick. Now, as you have read, this recipe isn't exactly precise at times, and that's because I am not a precise worker, but this next step takes the biscuit. Using a large glass, one you would drink out of, use it to cut out circles of dough. Alternatively use a medium sized scone/cookie cutter. Repeat this process with the other portion. Collect the scraps of dough and knead together into a small ball, roll out, and cut out more circles.
- Place these circles of dough onto 2 floured baking trays. Distance them far enough away from each other bearing in mind that they will almost triple in size. Cover them with greased cling film and leave them to prove again for an hour and a half.
- I use a wok, but if you have a deep fat fryer, use it. In my wok, I add a liter of vegetable oil and heat it to 340 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 3-4 doughnuts into the oil and it should bubble as the flour hits the oil. The heat will fluctuate as the doughnuts cook so adjust the heat to remain between 340 and 350 degrees. Fry for a minute and a half on each side. I recommend frying one doughnut on its own firstly so that you get a feel for how long they take. Cut open this doughnut and ensure that its fully cooked. If it isn't you can reduce the heat a little and fry for a little longer. I am not going to provide you with the exact procedure because its up to you to discover the best method that suits your frying conditions.
- Cool your freshly baked doughnuts and decorate. I recommend adding cinnamon to sugar and coating the doughnuts while they are still warm but not hot. Delicious!
Thank you for reading this far, I hope my instructions weren't too hard to follow. Stay tuned for more funny, unreadable recipes and anecdotes from my life.