Friday, July 15, 2011

Farm Stand Doughnuts - Club Baked

I've been a fan of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito for a few years.  While I've never had the pleasure of meeting them or visiting their bakery, Baked NYC in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I quickly became enamored of the them and their luscious recipes when I purchased their first book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, in 2008.  Their second book, Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, was published in 2010.  Imagine my glee when I found Club: Baked, a group of baker bloggers that were baking their way through Baked Explorations.  I quickly decided to join the group, and the first recipe I made during this bake-off is Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts Three Ways.

I am in love with doughnuts (isn't everybody?!) and I have made them at home at least a half a dozen times.  I've made yeasted raised doughnuts and cake doughnuts; the Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnut is a cake doughnut made yummy by way of ingredients like buttermilk, sour cream, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg (you cannot beat the flavor of fresh nutmeg!)  While I have one of those cute little Babycakes min-doughnut makers, I decided to stay true to form and fry these doughnuts in my small Rival home fryer.

The dough was very easy to put together, simply a matter of mixing the dry ingredients, separately mixing the wet ingredients, and gently combining the two.  I patted the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness on my floured Silpat mat and cut out doughnuts using a doughnut cutter that is 2 1/2 inches across.  With this cutter, I was ultimately able to produce 18 small doughnuts and about the same number of doughnut holes.  (The recipe says it will make 10 large doughnuts, using a larger cutter, plus doughnut holes.) Here are some of my cut doughnuts before frying.
The recipe indicates to fry the doughnuts between 365-370 degrees F.  My Rival fryer does not have a very precise temperature gauge, and instead of testing the oil temperature with a thermometer, I did a test doughnut.  I fried it on one side for about 2-3 minutes, then flipped it and let the other side cook for about the same amount of time.  That doughnut came out pretty dark and had a thick outer crust when I tasted it after it had cooled a little.  It did not seem burned, but just a little too crusty.  I turned down the fryer temperature setting to be in the 350-360 range, and from that point on, I fried the doughnuts for about 2 minutes on each side, and that worked well to ensure that the doughnuts were cooked all the way through but weren't too dark on the outside.  One of the biggest challenges with frying doughnuts, beignets, etc. is you don't know if the inside is done until you break it open.  I would suggest always doing a test doughnut and using that as your guide, rather than trying to precisely follow the instructions.

I debated changing up the topping/glaze recipes a little, but ultimately decided to make them according to the recipes in the book, which include chocolate dip/glaze, vanilla glaze, and cinnamon sugar.  I used bittersweet Ghirardelli baking bar for the chocolate dip, and my son Ryan said the doughnut had a little bit of a coffee taste to it from the slight bitterness of the chocolate.

My vanilla glaze came out very transparent rather than looking like white frosting glaze, as the doughnut in the cookbook's photo did.  I used vanilla extract vs. vanilla paste, so as soon as I added that amber colored extract to the vanilla glaze made with powdered sugar and milk, it turned an opaque tan color.  On the doughnuts, it looks a lot like the clear sugar glaze used on glazed raised doughnuts.

One of my favorite toppings for cake doughnuts is cinnamon sugar.  I just ate one of those doughnuts this morning (made last night) and even though doughnuts may be best served immediately after cooking, this doughnut was darned good.  The number of glazed doughnut holes has dimished since last appears these are also a favorite.
All in all, baking these doughnuts was a fun experience, and even though I've owned Baked Explorations since it was published, I had not made this recipe before this, instead favoring another cake doughnut recipe I had.  Now that I know what a winner this recipe is, I think I will make it often.  Probably the next time I make them, I will bake them in my little Babycakes doughnut maker to cook them without oil and save on the calories.

Thank you to Gloria, the Ginger Snap Girl, for hosting this go-around of Club: Baked.  I really look forward to baking more wonderful treats with the rest of the Club: Baked group, and getting to know all of you!  Happy Baking!


  1. It is funny that your my son said the chocolate doughnut had a little bit of a coffee taste to it... that must be why I enjoyed dipping it in my coffee so much! That is a good idea to use your Babycakes doughnut maker next time! Yours look great!

  2. I agree - the vanilla glaze was quite transparent and tan. I even dipped once, let it set a little while, and did a second dip and it still looked that way. Oh well - tasted yummy! :)

  3. I think you are right! Everyone does love doughnuts! LOL. How can you not? I wish I would have read your post before I made my second attempt at the donuts, because it didn't occur to me to test the doneness of the inside of the donut until I had cooked 4! Whoops. Lessons learned. Your donuts look great. I love the little donut hole with the vanilla frosting and sprinkles! So cute! Thanks for baking along!

  4. I ended up adding more powdered sugar to my vanilla glaze to make it thicker in order to get that topping of frosting like the book. It seemed to work pretty well. Your donuts look like they puffed better than mine. My donuts didn't puff nearly as well as my holes. Oh well, they still tasted great!