2011-12-22, Bakingandmistaking
No Fear Deep Fried Donuts
Subject: How to deep fry the perfect doughnuts

By Amy Spiro of www.bakingandmistaking.com  
Before I ever deep fried anything, I was terrified of the concept. A huge vat of bubbling oil, constant standing over the stove, burning, undercooking - I had no idea what I was doing. But after some careful research and a little experimentation, I realized that nobody should be afraid of deep frying. (See my recipe here http://culinarykosher.com/index.php?action=add_recipe&id=3013) 

So this Chanukah, stay away from the storebought sufganiyot and make your whole family happy by frying up your own doughnuts. 


The first thing you’ll need is a large pot. It doesn’t have to be enormous, but the wider the opening the better - so no tall stock pots. You want a deep enough pot to have about 3 inches of oil and another 2 or 3 inches “splash zone.” 
Another tool you’ll need is a candy/deep fry thermometer. Now of course, your grandmothers were probably deep frying long before these things existed, but I really don’t recommend frying without one, and here’s why. It is very hard to tell by sight just how hot your oil is. If it’s too cold, your doughnuts will absorb way more oil than necessary, and if it is too hot, then the outsides of your doughnuts with overbrown before the insides are cooked.


With that out of the way - let’s talk dough. There are a million different recipes out there, some good, some not so good. I’ve included my standard below, but don’ be afraid to try all different kinds and types. Some people even buy cans of biscuit dough from the supermarket and use that. 
Once your dough is ready, and has rested and risen, you can roll it out and cut out your shapes. 
You can buy “doughnut cutters” in most baking supply or craft stores, but you don’t need to. What you need are two round cutters with ½ to 2 inches between them (or one round cutter if you’re planning on filling them).
And those little centers you get when cutting - that’s how you make doughnut holes! It is best not to reroll the doughnuts after cutting, because the yeast has been deactivated, but if you really feel the need to, let the scraps sit another half hour first. 


Well, now that we’re up to frying, let’s talk fat. Although the miracle of Chanukah is about olive oil, it’s really not your best choice for frying. It’s expensive, and i had a relatively low smoke point, so it’s just not ideal. Canola oil or grapeseed oil are better choices (though the latter is also fairly expensive). There is another option that I’ll put out there: Shortening. Now, before you close the screen, hear me out. Yes, it’s not the healthiest fat (by far) but it does have some perks when it comes to frying. (Also, Crisco does make a trans fat-free version, if it helps matters). Since it is solid when cool, treats that are deep fried feel less greasy both in your hand and in your mouth. Either way - the choice is yours. 
So - the frying itself is pretty easy - gently lower the doughnuts in to the oil to avoid splashing (and on a general safety note, please keep children far, far away from hot oil). Let cook one one side about 1 minute until lightly brown the flip over and cook another minute. Cook all the doughnut holes separately, checking carefully to make sure they don’t burn. 
Most doughnut recipes - including mine - are not very sweet, because they are designed for you to dunk your doughnut in powdered sugar, glaze or frosting after baking.  


One last note - doughnuts are best right out of the fryer (or 5 minutes later so you don’t burn your mouth) and deteriorate minute by minute until they are fairly inedible about 8 hours later. So invite over all your friends to eat up!

Amy Spiro is a food writer and editor and has been published in the The Jerusalem Post, the New York Jewish Week, Ami Magazine and other publications. She blogs about her kitchen triumphs and flops at www.bakingandmistaking.com.


see my recipe in my recipe box

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