Perfect Yeast Doughnuts–Sugar, and Filled (with Jam, Nutella or Cream)

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January 13th, 2014 | 968 Comments

Perfect yeast doughnuts are easy to make at home if you have the right recipe. You now have that recipe in your hands (or on your desk). What are you waiting for?

Perfect yeast doughnut recipe ever sugar donut donuts

Who can resist perfect, soft and fluffy doughnuts?

Perfect yeast jam and cream doughnut sugar donut best recipe ever

Especially if it is a freshly homemade, fluffy yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jam and fresh cream? Not me! And I honestly have no desire for a store-bought, packaged, baked or donut shop doughnuts. They’re not nearly as enticing. This recipe is simply the best for sugared, cream or jam filled or glazed doughnuts.

Perfect Plum Muffins

Perfect Plum Muffins

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Yeast Doughnuts vs. Baked Doughnuts

For me, there is no comparison. Yeast doughnuts are a delight how simply light and airy they are. Baked doughnuts never seem fresh to me; they are dense and unappealing (remember, this is my opinion). Whereas, yeast doughnuts, when freshly made, are just heavenly to me! Which do you prefer?

I recently received this message~

“One day at work your brother showed me a picture of some absolutely perfect-looking donuts you made. Any chance of posting that recipe?”  -Destruction

this is the photo referred to in the message

I’ve been wanting to post a recipe for yeast doughnuts for a long time, so Destruction, I’m more than happy to comply. As for the rest of my readers, if you think that yeast doughnuts are difficult to make, think again, especially if you own a stand mixer or bread machine.

You may also enjoy my Scottish Cream Buns recipe!

Scottish cream buns

You can make ring doughnuts, filled doughnuts, or doughnut holes. I just want you to know that one batch of these beauties will disappear within seconds. However, don’t take my word for it, read the comments!

Edited: I’ve also added a vegan version of this doughnut recipe recently which you can find HERE. They turned out just as beautiful as the originals!

three vegan doughnuts

Incidentally, I’ve linked to the bread machine I have, but any bread machine with good ratings will work (and they are much less expensive).

I also have Italian Christmas doughnut recipe: frittelle! I just LOVE doughnuts! 

Frittelle: Italian Christmas Eve Doughnuts
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ARE BELOW
THE RECIPE 

How to Make Yeast Doughnuts
(Perfect Yeast Doughnuts!)

adapted from a recipe in The Bread and Bread Machine Bible
makes about 16 ring doughnuts (printable recipe below)

SEE PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW FOR MORE EXPLICIT DIRECTIONS FOR USING A STAND MIXER OR BY HAND

The measurements are critical in this recipe, so a scale is necessary.  (This is why there are no cup measurements-please do not ask for them.)

Too many readers were not having success with this solid, tested recipe, and the only reason I can think of, is difference between using cups versus a scale (volume vs weight). The ONLY way to obtain the correct amount of flour is by weighing it.

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) water
  • 5 oz buttermilk (150 ml)  (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg, beaten (at room temperature)
  • 2 oz (57 g) butter, melted
  • 16 oz (454 g) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 2 oz (57 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp (5 g) regular or quick-rise yeast (one and a half teaspoons)
  • oil for frying (I use sunflower or grape seed oil or a combination)
  • sugar for coating the doughnuts
  • jam, Nutella and or real whipped cream for filling, if desired

Special equipment:

  • parchment paper, cut into about 4″ squares (smaller pieces for doughnut holes)
  • large pot, deep fryer or wok
  • a sharp doughnut cutter (a reader asked what I recommend, and I like this one as there is no guessing where the center of the doughnut is–perfect doughnuts every time).
  • candy/oil thermometer, not necessary, but very helpful if you’re not a deep-frying pro

Make the doughnut dough

Place the water, buttermilk, beaten egg and melted butter in the bread machine pan or stand mixer bowl, then add the dry ingredients, except for the yeast.

adding flour to liquid in bread machine

Make a small indentation in the dry ingredients, then add the yeast.

adding yeast to dry ingredients

Set the bread machine on the ‘dough’ setting.

If using a stand mixer (see directions in printable recipe below, as steps with the yeast are different), run it with the dough hook, until a soft dough is formed, then cover and set aside until at least doubled in size.

I do not specify a time on the dough rising because there are too many factors that will determine the length of time. Which yeast was used (regular or quick rise), if the yeast was fresh or old (older yeast doesn’t work as well, or sometimes not at all), and the temperature of your kitchen.

dough in a bread machine

Roll out the dough and cut

Once the dough has risen, place it on a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide it in half, keeping half the dough covered, so it doesn’t form a skin.

yeast dough on the counter

With a rolling pin, roll out half of the dough to about 1/2″ thickness. (Do not rest the dough.)

Cut with a round, sharp doughnut cutter (about 3″ diameter). Or else use a sharp cookie cutter, then make the holes with a smaller cookie cutter (about 1″ diameter), saving the holes. This is an older photo, I recommend this cutter.

dough being cut with a doughnut cutter

Let the cut doughnuts rise

Place each doughnut on a piece of parchment paper, then place on a cookie sheet. Put the tray in the oven (turn it on for 1 minute, SET A TIMER, then turn the oven off again, just to make it barely warm). The oven warming step should not be necessary in the summer unless your a/c is very cool.

Next, boil some water and pour it into a measuring jug or bowl. Place the jug of water in the oven with the tray of doughnuts (this will create steam will keep a skin from forming).

rings of dough on parchment paper

With the remaining dough, divide into quarters, then divide each piece in half to make 8 equal amounts. If you are perfectionistic, you can weigh each piece–not that I’d ever do any such thing! 😉

making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe

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Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball, and place on parchment or waxed paper pieces and place on a cookie sheet; place in the oven with the other doughnuts and holes to rise until doubled in size.

making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe rising on tray
This is what your dough should look like after rising.

Fry the yeast doughnuts

Heat the oil to about 350ºF (180º). If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil with a doughnut hole. If it doesn’t start frying (bubbling) immediately, the oil is too cold, if the hole turns brown right away, the oil is too hot. Adjust the heat accordingly.

Drop the yeast doughnuts into the hot oil using the paper to carefully lower them into the oil.

frying making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe in a bread machine

Turn them over as soon as they become golden brown on the underside, then remove and place on a paper towel lined plate once they are ready.

frying making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe in a bread machine

Decide how you want to finish them (sugar, glaze, filled, or plain)

Sugar Coated Doughnuts

When the doughnuts have cooled, roll them in sugar to coat evenly.

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making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe rolling in sugar

Glazed Doughnuts

Put some powdered (confectioner’s) sugar in a bowl and add a little bit of milk or water. Stir and keep adding liquid until you reach a smooth, slightly runny consistency. You want the glaze to run off the doughnuts when you’ve dipped them.

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Dip one and place it on a cooling rack to set. If all the glaze runs off, add more sugar, and if it’s too thick, add more liquid. No measuring needed.

Filled Doughnuts

If you choose to fill the large yeast doughnuts, push a skewer into the center of the doughnut to make a hole. Next, put some room temperature jam, or slightly warmed chocolate hazelnut spread (I’ve gone off Nutella since they’re using tons of palm oil) into a piping bag and pipe the filling into the doughnut.

making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe filled with Nutella

Scottish Style with Jam and Cream

Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable not to fill them with anything. However, if you like the look of the jam and cream filled doughnut below, just slice it in half, at a slight angle, then slather on some raspberry jam. Next, pipe in some real, freshly whipped cream (I used my ISI whipper). That’s it!

Finally, dig in! These jam and cream filled yeast doughnuts could probably get anyone, to do anything you want!

Cream Doughnut like in Scotland making perfect yeast doughnuts recipe

Don’t miss another post! Sign up for my free subscription below the recipe card.   Yield: 16 doughnuts

Perfect Yeast Doughnuts

Perfect Yeast Doughnuts

4.7 Stars (567 Reviews)

The best recipe you’ll ever find for light and fluffy yeast doughnuts! I promise! Prep Time 45 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Rise Time 2 hours Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) water
  • 5 oz buttermilk (150 ml) (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg, beaten (at room temperature)
  • 2 oz (57 g) butter, melted
  • 16 oz (454 g) all-purpose or bread flour (please us a scale)
  • 2 oz (57 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp (5 g) regular or quick-rise yeast (one and a 1/2 teaspoons)
  • oil for frying (I use sunflower or grapeseed or a combination)
  • (sugar for coating the doughnuts)
  • (jam, Nutella and or whipped cream for filling, if desired)

Instructions

FOR BREAD MACHINE:

  1. Place the water, buttermilk, beaten egg and melted butter in the bread machine pan, then add the dry ingredients which were weighed using a scale (it’s so important), except for the yeast. Make a small indentation in the dry ingredients, then add the yeast. Set the bread machine on the ‘dough’ setting.

FOR STAND MIXER WITH DOUGH HOOK, OR BY HAND:

  1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put 6 tbsp of lukewarm water in a cup and sprinkle the yeast on top, set aside for about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to react (you can add a pinch of sugar to help it). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the buttermilk, egg, melted butter and yeast mixture. If using a stand mixer, run with the dough hook until a dough forms then continue for about 5 minutes. By hand, knead for about 10 minutes. Cover and set aside until at least doubled in size.

BOTH BREAD MACHINE, STAND MIXER/HAND INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOW BELOW:

  1. Once the dough has doubled, place it on a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide it in half, keeping half the dough covered, so it doesn’t form a skin. With a rolling pin, roll out half of the dough to about 1/2″ thickness. Cut with a round, sharp cookie cutter (about 3″ diameter) then make the holes with a smaller cookie cutter (about 1″ diameter), saving the holes. Or splurge (haha) and buy this doughnut cutter and save yourself a lot of trouble!
  2. Place each doughnut on a piece of parchment or waxed paper, then place on a cookie sheet. Put the tray in the oven (turn it on for 1 minute, SET A TIMER, then turn it off again, just to make it barely warm).
  3. Next, boil some water and pour it into a measuring jug. Place the jug of water in the oven with the tray of doughnuts (this will create steam will keep a skin from forming). With the remaining dough, divide into quarters, then divide each piece in half to make 8 equal amounts. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball, and place on parchment or waxed paper pieces and place on a cookie sheet; place in the oven with the other doughnuts to rise until doubled in size.
  4. Heat the oil to about 350ºF (180º). If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil with a doughnut hole: if it doesn’t start frying immediately, the oil is too cold, if the hole turns brown right away, the oil is too hot. Adjust the heat accordingly.
  5. Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil using the paper to carefully lower them into the oil. Turn them over as soon as they become golden brown on the underside, and remove them and place on a paper towel lined platter once they are ready.
  6. When the doughnuts have cooled, roll them in sugar to coat evenly. If you choose to fill the large doughnuts, push a skewer into the center of the doughnut to make a hole, then place some room temperature jam, or slightly warmed Nutella into a piping bag and pipe the filling into the doughnut. Using an ISI whipper, pipe fresh cream into a doughnut cut in half (add some jam first if you like).

Notes

-This recipe requires the use of a scale. Please do not attempt to make these without one, as you’ll most likely be disappointed.

-Special equipment: a kitchen scale, parchment paper, cut into about 4″ squares (smaller pieces for doughnut holes) and a pot, deep fryer, or wok and candy thermometer (optional).

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