YEAST RAISED APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS
For someone who is reserved and whose second favorite hobby is second guessing herself, writing a cookbook and starting a blog is scary. The thought that I am not a good enough baker or good enough writer still hangs in the air, but I got over it and am going forward anyway.
Still, there was another fear I had to get over-the fear of yeast. Why are yeast recipes so intimidating? Is it because some of the best baked goods are made with yeast, so surely it must be difficult? Or is it because it is so small and it is alive so our natural instincts tell us to be afraid? Or because yeast recipes just take so long and the fear is actually an excuse to not have to sit around for 2 hours waiting for dough to proof?
But I am still here, dozens of yeast recipes later, and I can tell you its really not that bad. It’s not hard either. And there is somewhat of a thrill in coming back to look at your dough and seeing that OH MY GOSH IT GREW.
These apple cider doughnuts (Recipe at the bottom of this post) are yeast raised. But they are not difficult and they are worth it! They can be either baked OR fried, though I prefer fried because I mean if you are already eating a doughnut….
The only things you need to conquer this recipe and any yeast recipe are few tips and a lot of patience.
1. Know your yeast. There are two common types of yeast. Active dry yeast and instant yeast. Active dry needs to be dissolved in water or a like liquid. Instant yeast can be added directly into a dough.
2. Check to make sure it is alive. Because yeast is alive, it can die. And it is reallllly depressing to wait an hour just to find out you need to start all over again. To make sure the yeast it alive and well, mix yeast, 1/2 cup of the liquid in your recipe and a little bit of sugar in a bowl. The yeast should dissolve the sugar and foam slightly.
3. Don’t completely forgo the sugar. Yeast needs a little bit of sugar in order to activate. A tablespoon will do the trick. So, while I can respect the clean eating lifestyle the yeast can’t.
4. Keep dough warm.Dough rises best at warm temperatures, somewhere around 75F. The colder the dough the slower the rise. If you have a cold house, try sticking the bowl in an oven (turned off, obviously) or microwaving a few damp towels and sticking them around your bowl.
5. Take a pre-proofing picture. As I mentioned, I like to second guess myself so I take a picture of my dough before it proofs. That way I can compare and reassure myself that all is well with my yeast.
6. Know not all recipes proof equally. Simple recipes will rise faster than complex recipes. The more you add, the longer it will take to rise. Just because your hot crossed buns rose in 30 minutes does NOT mean your chocolate monkey bread will.
And you will see-the more you bake with yeast the more you will love it. And I know, the more I write and test, the more confident I will become too. Because like yeast, I just need a little patience with myself.
Oh-and first favorite hobby is baking of course. Complaining and drinking coffee are tied for third.
Apple Cider Doughnut Recipe
Makes about 1 ½ dozen doughnuts
2/3 cup apple cider
2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast (1 packet)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
½ cup applesauce
¼ cup butter, melted
+oil for frying or melted butter for coating
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Warm apple cider to about luke warm. Sprinkle yeast onto apple cider and let sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. The sugar in the apple cider will activate the yeast.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and clove. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together apple cider and yeast mixture, vanilla extract, egg, applesauce and butter until combined.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and knead for about 5 minutes or until a smooth ball of dough forms that moves as one unit around the mixing bowl.
Place dough in a greased bowl and gently grease the top of the dough. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a cloth and let sit for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.
Remove dough from bowl and knead with hands for about 1 minute. Roll out dough to a rough rectangle that is ¼ to ½ inch thick. Cut doughnuts with a doughnut cutter, or with one 2 ½ to three inch circle cookie cutter and then cut a ½ inch hole in the middle.
Place doughnuts on a greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes until puffy and almost doubled in size.
In a small mixing bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon until combined and set aside.
IF FRYING: In a large frying pan or skillet, heat oil to 350F. Drop doughnuts into hot oil and fry doughnuts for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Dunk doughnuts directly into cinnamon sugar and toss with metal tongs to coat. Place on a paper towel lined cooling rack to cool.
IF BAKING: Preheat oven to 350F. Remove cover from baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until risen doughnuts bounce back slightly when touched. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and coat each doughnut in butter. Toss doughnuts in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Cool on a cooling rack