If you have never fried something before, be extremely cautious. You will need either a pot or a frying pan with tall sides to fry these in. Make sure the handle of the pan is not protruding out over the stove and that you aren’t wearing anything that can catch on the pan and bring it crashing to the floor filled with hot oil. The process is very easy and almost mesmerizing as you drop in the dough and it immediately puffs up. You’ll need a lot of paper towel and some forethought, but once you make these– you’ll want to make them again and again.
- 1/2 tbs. dry rapid-rise yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream OR 1/4 cup melted and cooled butter
- 3 eggs, separated
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- heavy inch of salt
- large bottle of vegetable or canola oil for frying
- powdered sugar, for topping
Gently heat the milk until it is very slightly warm. Put your finger in to test it– it should feel neither hot nor cool. Stir in the yeast with a pinch of flour and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for about ten minutes, it will start foaming and smell like weird beer by then aka ready to go!Beat the yolks of the eggs in a large bowl with the sour cream or butter, vanilla, and salt until the color is a smoothly lighter yellow. In a different bowl, whisk the whites until the are slightly fluffy, just to get some air into them. MIx the milk/yeast into the yolk mixture. Then mix in the whites slowly.
Add in the flour by 1/2 cup increments until it is all combined. Use a spoon at first to do this then, once it is not sticky, use your hands to make sure it is all incorporated. Very lightly oil another large bowl and place the dough in it and cover it with either a towel or cling wrap. Let it rest there for at least two hours OR place it in the fridge and let it rest overnight (about 8 hours)– this is convenient if you want to eat these fresh for breakfast, rather than for brunch. About 45 minutes before you would like to eat them, flour a large cutting board or work surface and roll out the dough until it is about a half-inch thick. Use either a cup, mug, or 3ish inch cookie cutter to cut the dough. Gather up the scraps, flour, and roll out again to get more doughnuts. LIne a baking sheet with parchment paper and place each lightly-floured doughnut on it. Cover very lightly with cling wrap and let them rest for a half hour, or until they are fluffy.To fry them, fill a pot or a pan with about 2-3 inches of vegetable or canola oil with about an inch clear of the brim.
A cast iron pan, a tall pan, or a shallow pot all work wonderfully. Avoid shallow pans and tall pots, as they would be a potential hazard to flip the doughnuts in. Once your pan is filled with the oil, turn the heat to medium and let it heat there. Do not be tempted to turn the heat to high– it will make the oil too hot and burn the doughnuts right away. Line a wire rack with paper towels.Test the oil to see if it’s hot enough by placing a scrap of dough or piece of bread in the oil– if it immediately sizzles, you are ready to fry. Do not fry them before or else the dough will just absorb the oil. Very carefully place 2-3 doughnuts in to fry at a time. Use either a spatula or a large slotted flat spoon– I also use a fork to facilitate flipping them. The doughnuts will fry for about 2 minutes per side. I would say to place the first one in and flip once the first side is golden and then fry the other side ’til it is also golden.
Remove it to the wire rack and let it cool– cut it open and if it is done, you will now have a sense for how long the others will take.While remaining cautious around the hot oil, you get into a rhythm and soon the wire rack will be filled with hot, crisp doughnuts. Let them cool before you generously cover them with powdered sugar. You can also fill these with jam once they have cooled– just poke a hole in them and use a piping bag or turkey baster to squeeze in the jam. You can cool and gently pour the remaining oil in the pan back into the bottle to use again for frying. Enjoy warm with ample coffee, friends, and family.