Our great friends Sammie and Simon came to stay this weekend and, because the former had put in an advance request for donuts – that’s what I made.
And inspired by another friend’s recent successes with sourdough donuts, I went down that road, and it was a good one.
So to celebrate having visitors, a day off and Father’s day (in no particular order), I made a huge batch and we had them for breakfast. Then to balance things out, we set off for a long walk along the swollen creek that runs through our farm.
It was my idea of perfection – happy, muddy dogs and children, a furiously flowing creek and even the discovery of a random wild copse of daffodils to pick. As I said. Perfection.
We’ve had so much rain in the past few days, the usually calm little creek was reaching exciting new heights. So we walked the length of it (on our place at least) and after most of the party either fell or was pushed into the water then started complaining about being cold and muddy, we turned for home. And one (or two) more donuts each.
Sourdough donuts are a revelation – so very light, so very fluffy and SO much more flavoursome than their regular yeasted counterparts (which are of course, also very good). Though as I found with last month’s sourdough scones, the starter really does bring extra lightness and a whole new spectrum of tastiness to the party.
This recipe comes from my friend Sarah. I’d given her some of my starter last month, and because she is an excellent baker, she’d mastered beautiful loaves in no time then moved on to donuts. Sarah based her recipe on this one and sometimes makes an extra big batch for her brother Jeremy’s great cafe in town (Orange) Byng St Local Store, so watch out if you are in the area! Makes about 20.
200g sourdough starter – bubbly and ready to go
120g lukewarm water
60g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
400g bakers’ flour
1 tsp sea salt
60g butter, room temperature
Canola oil, for frying
Caster sugar and ground cinnamon, for dusting
Place the starter, water and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Whisk together then let sit for 10 minutes. Now add in the eggs, flour and salt and mix with the dough hook for five minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment then add in the butter, a knob at a time, mixing well between each addition (about 8 minutes in total).
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave overnight to do its sweet thing.
The next morning, or close-ish to the time you wish to make your donuts, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll out until about 2cm thick. Using a 4cm cookie cutter (or thereabouts), cut donuts into rounds. The dough is very sticky and they won’t come away as perfect circles but please don’t worry – they to puff up into lovely round spheres when cooking.
Place the rounds on a Silpat sheet or tray lined with oiled greaseproof paper (did I mention the dough is sticky already?) and let them sit for another hour or two.
Fill a large saucepan with canola oil and bring the temperature up to 180C. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow dish.
Cook the donuts in batches of three or four, for about a minute each side. Then, with a slotted spoon remove donuts from the oil and place straight into the bowl of cinnamon sugar. Roll them around so well coated then pop in a bowl and share around. Repeat with remaining dough. YUM!
A couple of things to note before you start on this recipe;
- You do of course, need a sourdough starter. Here’s how I made mine.
- It’s a very sticky dough and to be quite frank, a bit of a pain to deal with. So use an electric mixer with a dough hook as much as possible, and don’t skimp on flour for your work surface and rolling pin,
- A candy thermometer is helpful here,
- They are completely and utterly worth it.