I like donuts. A lot. And I like you tiao and ‘butterfly buns’ too. I used to go for long runs just so that I could treat myself to a butterfly bun and you tiao and ham chim peng afterward. So after salivating over many a post on donuts, I decided to finally take the plunge and try my hand at making them when I knew I was going back to Malaysia for the weekend. This was because of two main reasons – my mom abhors any form of frying while we’re in Singapore (the ventilation in our small kitchen is horrible), so there is absolutely no frying allowed. Back in Malaysia however, we have an outdoor wet kitchen, so I could fry my heart’s out (to quote my mother). Second, I knew that I’d be bored out of my senses while in Malaysia because there’s no internet connectivity, so making some donuts for tea would be the perfect excuse to while some time away!
The donut-cutter in action!
Naturally, something had to go wrong. First, I had no donut cutter, and there was no other form of round sharp instrument which I could use as a substitute. Thankfully, I managed to get myself a smallish plastic donut cutter in the nearby Giant for a mere RM2.50! Second, I realized that I was out of bread flour only minutes before making the donuts, so I had to make do with all-purpose flour. I merely kneaded the dough a little longer to try to compensate for the lower gluten content. Lady Luck has been on my side for these last few bakes, because my forgetfulness gave rise to yet another happy mistake. The donuts turned out to tiny fluffy clouds and were a joy to consume. I shall not deny that I finished 8 donuts in a single sitting – I had donuts that were cinnamon-sugar coated, sugar glazed and also chocolate glazed. And ALL of them tasted oh so delicious! And because they were so light, I didn’t feel the greasy after-taste that you’ll sometimes get after consuming too many fried goods. 

Fried Donuts 
Lightly adapted from allrecipes and Lara’s recipe 

(PS Lara has a book all about doughnuts! Lovely recipes accompanied by lovely photographs – do check it out!)

Makes 27 donuts with a 9-cm wide donut cutter

For the donuts

7 g        yeast
30 ml    warm water
180 ml  warm milk
25 g      sugar
½ tsp    salt
1 whole egg + 1 yolk
25 g      shortening or butter
320 g    all-purpose flour

For the sugar glaze 
25 g    butter
80 g    icing sugar
½ tsp  vanilla
30 ml  water

For the chocolate glaze 
Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe, made only 10% of the given quantities

Method: 
  1. In a bowl, dissolve the yeast into the warm water until foamy, for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add milk, sugar, egg and yolk, salt, shortening and 160g of flour into the bowl, mixing well. Once a smooth paste is achieved, add in the remaining flour. 
  3. Knead the dough, for about 15-20 minutes, or until a smooth dough is achieved. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. 
  4. Punch down the dough and roll it to about 3-cm thick before using the donut cutter to cut out the donuts. Place the doughnuts on the baking sheet at least 3-cm apart and cover with plastic wrap. 
  5. Allow the donuts to rise until doubled in size, about 30-40 minutes, testing at five-minute intervals. To test whether the dough is ready, touch lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it has overproofed and you should punch it down and re-roll it. 
  6. Using at least 10-cm of oil, heat your wok or pot up to 175 degrees and gently drop the donuts into the oil. Fry for about 1 minute per side, until they rise to the top and turn golden brown. 
  7. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing. 

Janine’s jots: 

  • Taste: I’ve reduced the amounts of sugar required in the donut, so by itself the donut is pretty much very plain and not sweet as all – in other words, not too palatable if you eat it on its own. I highly recommend a glaze or sugar coating at the minimum to enhance the flavor profile of the donut. The sugar content in the glaze is also greatly reduced, do feel free to add up to 125g of icing sugar into the glaze. 
  • Texture: The all-purpose flour definitely gave the donut its ‘airy’ texture, much like how Krispy Kreme and J.Co donuts taste like, so for those who prefer more bite in their donut, you’ll have to substitute the all purpose flour for bread flour instead. 
  • Serving size: I’d probably halve the recipe in the future, because 27 donuts are a tad too many for a family to have for tea, but then again, the dough freezes rather well, so it makes sense to make an entire recipe and keep some for a quick fix next time!
  • Modifications: Egg whites provide structure, while egg yolks provide tenderness – so since I went the route of all-purpose flour and ‘cloud-like-ness’, I decided to use an extra yolk instead, to further add to the tenderness of the donut. You can see that in Lara’s recipe, she uses a maximum of 3 yolks to tenderize her donuts, but her recipe calls for bread flour, so do note the subtle differences! 
  • Storage: Although the dough freezes well (you can freeze it before the first proofing, but it’s best if you freeze after the punch down so that you save time on proofing the next time), the quality of the fried donut deteriorates rather rapidly after a day. I tried a day-old donut and it just didn’t taste as good as when it was eaten hours after it was fried. So, do consume these babies asap!
  • Would I make this again?: I would probably not repeat this any time soon, not because I didn’t like it, but because it’s way too addictive. Like I said previously, the lightness of the donut is rather deceptive and makes you eat more than you should! 
  • Other comments: Do feel free to substitute a bread machine or electric mixer for the first few steps of the recipe. You will realize that it’ll take some time for you to achieve a smooth dough because all-purpose flour has less gluten content and will take longer to form those gluten chains. 


In pictures: (photos again taken with my trusty sidekick, the iPhone)
After the first rise – to check if the dough has sufficiently proofed, press a finger into the dough. If the dough bounces back, it is not sufficiently proofed. If the indentation remains, you can begin punching down the dough and shaping :] As you can see, I was a little over-zealous with the checking :p
Using my donut cutter. I removed the donut holes and actually re-rolled them into sheets for more donuts because I don’t really like donut holes :p I don’t think the textures of the donuts were affected much by the re-rolling.
All cut and ready for the 2nd proofing. They kinda look outta shape cos they’re pretty fragile with the holes in the centre and I don’t exactly have a light touch =X
I chose to fry them in a wok instead of a pot because my mom says that woks use less oil than required.  My oil is a little too hot here because some of the donuts wrinkled immediately after I slid them into the oil and are turning wayyyy too brown!
Ooooohhhh look at these lovely donuts – all brown and sugary :] And look at the difference between this shot which is taken outdoors and two photos before this which was taken indoors. Bleh :/
Here’s a close-up – my donuts are a tad too brown because I can’t control my fire properly – it’s my first time frying something! 
Not a pretty picture with icky shadows, but just wanted to show you the sugar and chocolate glazed donuts. Those are not oily donuts but my sugar glazed ones! Really really good – I like the glazed ones better than the normal sugar sprinkled on ones. 
And a picture of the inside before it disappears into my tummy. Look at those holes – LIGHT AS AIR I tell you!
I actually only made 18 donuts with my dough, because I kept a third of the dough in the freezer since I felt that 18 donuts were way too many for a family of 5 to have for tea (I was wrong). Like I mentioned, I combined what I thought was good about both recipes to get the recipe above. I thought that it was a pretty good primer into the world of making donuts, and I definitely have much more to learn – but I’ll have to wait until I can get my hands on a wok of hot oil again (in Malaysia), so that I can fry myself some more donuts! If you’re wondering about the excess frozen dough – here’s a hint, I didn’t fry it and no, it wasn’t donuts! ;p

14 comments

  1. CaThY says:

    They look really yummy! :)

  2. Oh gosh! You captured our heart with these!!!! Donuts are our fav breakfast item :p

  3. Anncoo says:

    Mmm…your donuts looks so delicious! Wish I can have a piece :)

  4. j3ss kitch3n says:

    oh my Janine, doughnuts are tedious work like bread making! can u bring some over for me?

  5. Janine says:

    @Ellena: I was itching to make donuts ever since I saw your beautiful mini ones!

    @Anncoo: thanks for the compliments – I wish I could pass you a piece too!

    @Jess: It’s actually the same as bread making – just that you fry instead of bake! ;p

  6. Xiaolu says:

    How could I resist that description? And the inside shot is clearly proof that you’re not kidding. These look amazing.

  7. In fact, yours donut look really fluffy and good, well done.

  8. Alice says:

    my kids will stuff their mouths with these donuts! :)

  9. Wow, love the texture!

  10. sotong says:

    upon reading ‘light-as-air’ had me sold! I’d stuff myself silly too! haha

  11. lena says:

    hi janine, i’m sold by the way you described them! The cinnamon coating sounds good to me and they look pretty good! why no internet in malaysia? no laptops you mean?

  12. Janine says:

    @xiaolu, sonia, pigpigscorner: thanks :D the texture is really good!

    @sotong and alice: you guys should try the recipe!

    @lena: heh my home has no modem!

    @weng: thanks :)

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