These fried ring doughnuts are a lovely baking project for the Easter weekend. The dough is flavoured with orange zest, lemon zest & vanilla, with the resulting doughnuts being rolled in a mixture of mixed spice & caster sugar.
Extra fluffy doughnuts
When making these doughnuts I used a mixture of plain white flour & wholemeal spelt flour – a mixture which can result in a denser doughnut. To counteract this I used two methods to make sure the doughnuts remained super pillowy & light.
1: Potato starch: Although you can replace this with the more common cornstarch, I do think potato starch is a worthwhile thing to seek out for using in baking. When added to yeasted doughs it creates an extremely light texture. Potato starch is able to bind more water than cornstarch as it gelatinises which makes it amazing for holding moisture in doughs.
2: Tangzhong: This method of pre-gelatinising some of the starch helps to bind more water into the dough without it becoming super sticky. This too helps the doughnuts maintain their soft texture for longer. I opted for the method where you just mix boiled water straight into some flour which instantly gelatinises it, rather than cooking a flour/water mixture in a pot on the stove, stirring until thickened (although you can do this if you don’t have an easy way to boil water e.g. a kettle).
Spiced Easter Doughnuts
For the tangzhong:
- 30 g plain white flour or wholemeal spelt flour
- 80 g boiling water
For the dough:
- 25 g vegetable oil
- 40 g cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 orange, zest finely grated
- 1/2 lemon, zest finely grated
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 120 g flour (I used a mix of plain white & wholemeal spelt flour here)
- 40 g potato starch or cornflour
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine table salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
Make the tangzhong:
- Combine the wholemeal spelt flour and boiling water in a large mixing bowl and stir until fully mixed and slightly sticky.30 g plain white flour or wholemeal spelt flour, 80 g boiling water
Make the dough:
- Stir the vegetable oil and cold water into the tangzhong then let the mixture to cool to lukewarm.25 g vegetable oil, 40 g cold water
- Mix in the egg and egg yolk, vanilla, orange zest and lemon zest until smooth.1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, 1/2 orange, zest finely grated, 1/2 lemon, zest finely grated
- Add the yeast, both types of flour and potato starch (or cornflour) to the bowl. Add the sugar and salt on top then stir to get a rough dough.2 tsp instant yeast, 120 g flour (I used a mix of plain white & wholemeal spelt flour here), 40 g potato starch or cornflour, 1 tbsp granulated sugar or caster sugar, 1/2 tsp fine table salt
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting with a little more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and less sticky.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and drizzle on some oil, turning the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel (or reusable shower cap) and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in volume – 1-2 hours.
Shape & prove:
- Punch down the risen dough and tip out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out until the dough is roughly 1.5cm thick. Use a circular cutter to punch out 6cm circles. Use a 2cm round cutter to punch circles out of the centre of each round (I use a large piping tip to do this as I don't have a round cutter which is small enough).
- Place each shaped ring onto its own small square of baking paper and set onto a baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes until the doughnuts look puffy and when gently poked, an indentation is left in the dough.
Fry the doughnuts:
- Fill a heavy, medium pot with a 5cm depth of vegetable oil. Place on the stove over a high heat until the oil reaches 180°C. Turn the heat down to low.vegetable oil
- Gently transfer a risen doughnut to the pot of hot oil (you can either peel off the square of parchment or add the doughnut to the pot along with the parchment – it will peel off as the dough fries and you can remove it from the oil). Cook for around 1 minute on each side, flipping over so both sides are golden.
- Remove with a slotted spoon to a wire rack to cool briefly before tossing in a mixture of caster sugar & mixed spice.75 g caster sugar, 1 tbsp mixed spice
- Fry all the doughnuts, keeping an eye on the temperature of the oil & adjusting the heat to maintain it at 180°C.