Daring Bakers’ October Challenge- Donuts

Donuts are one of my favorite foods. I like to make these about once a year but since it was chosen as a Daring Bakers challenge I got to make them twice this year. Previously, I used Beatrice Ojakangas’ recipe. The Daring Bakers used Alton Brown’s. The recipes are somewhat similar but for Alton’s you do not need heavy whipping cream which I hate driving to the store for and paying an arm and a leg for. Call me cheap and lazy. No, nevermind— don’t call me that.

Making donuts at home isn’t for the lazy. It’s much easier driving to the store. But it’s a creative project and loads of fun coming up with the perfect concoction. I attempted to re-create my childhood favorite here: The Bear Claw!

And in case your Thanksgiving meal isn’t going to meet your caloric needs, you could add these Turkey Leg Donuts to your menu:

Who doesn’t love sprinkles? In my opinion, sprinkles taste best on a donut.

My husband requested plain old Cinnamon & Sugar Donut Holes:

I like them with sprinkles though.

These only keep for a day though. They should be eaten soon after frying. If it’s just you in the house, best to make only a quarter of a recipe otherwise one of two things will happen: A) You eat too many donuts and have much regret B) You end up wasting donuts when you throw them out the next day because the dough is tough and chewy.

Yeast Donuts

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.


  1. Posted October 27, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Wow – fantastic job on all of your shapes and varieties! Love the turkey legs – so funny! Really great job.

  2. Posted October 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I just love your bear claws and the pear-shaped ones but all of them look fabulous. I love your enthusiasm in your posting. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. Posted October 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Great variety on your doughnuts! I love the bear claws and who can resist sprinkles on a doughnut. Nice job on the challenge!

  4. Posted October 27, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmm tastey! Gonna make some fresh ones for when I roll through Saturday night? Haha just joking of course.

  5. Posted October 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I love these donuts!! Those bear claws are making me a bit drooly and your photos are just gorgeous! Great job on this challenge!

  6. squeaky mouse
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE your creativity, pure genius!