You guys. I can’t believe this recipe is ready to post finally! I’ve been trying to work out a great yeast doughnut recipe for years, and I think I must have tried at least 15 recipes, no joke. The combination of a yeast dough and the method of frying has always proven too complicated here at altitude. Today is the day though!
How to Make High-Altitude Donuts
So I’ve got tips and the method for you today, plus signs to look for as you go along to make sure you’re doing it right. First though, I will say, this is a recipe best done in a stand mixer. I believe you can do it by hand, but it’s quite a lot of kneading even in the mixer, so it’d be a ton of work!
So, into the dough. It’s a brioche dough, so it has milk and butter, which enrich the dough and give it that yellow color. Figuring out this recipe has also revealed some things for me about making bread doughs, namely that I’m not spending enough time kneading the dough to develop the gluten.
In a stand mixer, this dough kneads for about 20 whole minutes all said, which is a lot longer than I’m used to. But what you’re looking for in the end is to have a dough that is stretchy enough to create a thin window that you can almost see through without the dough tearing. This is really important for the texture of the dough!
Here’s what the dough should look like right when you get started kneading:
Once it looks like this, you can start adding the butter in:
When you’re adding in the butter, it takes some time. Here’s what it looks like:
And finally, here’s what it looks like when you’re done kneading!
And just a couple photos so you can see what it looks like when you start frying!
Alright guys, those are my tips. Top these babies however you’d like- I chose a cinnamon and sugar mixture as well as a simple chocolate icing. You could also do a maple icing, vanilla icing, sprinkles, a whole doughnut glaze, whatever sounds best! Enjoy!
Tips For Making Perfect High-Altitude Donuts
Here are my tips on the dough:
- Be sure that your yeast is properly activated. I do this by blooming the yeast as the first step in this recipe- this way you know it’s active and properly bloomed before you get too far into the recipe.
- Be generous with your kneading time– and use the window pane test seriously. If you’re dough is breaking before you can stretch it into a pane-like section, you haven’t kneaded it enough. Seriously.
- Keep everything warm. This helps to activate the yeast and keep it warm throughout. Take the bowl of your stand mixer and run it under hot water on the outside to warm the bowl before you use it. And make sure all your other ingredients are actually at room temp!
- Keep a close eye on your dough as it rises. You don’t want to let the dough go too far- it should about double in size. For me this only takes about 30 minutes, but it may take a little more or less time for you!
- On the second rise, use the spring test to make sure they are ready to fry. If you touch the dough with your finger, it should spring most of the way back right away. Then you’re ready to go! This takes about 10-15 minutes for me, about enough time to heat up your oil.
- Keep that oil at 350-375 degrees. Use a candy or frying thermometer clipped to the side of your pan. The oil temp makes a big difference in how they cook up.
- When you start to fry, if the doughnuts have properly risen, they will sit up on the oil- with slightly more than half above the oil. This is what creates that pale line in the middle when the doughnuts are finished that you see in the stores.
- I’m at about 5,000 ft above sea-level, and I find that most people who live between 3,000-7,000 ft above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes.
High-Altitude Yeast Doughnuts
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tbs water
- 3 tbs sugar
- 1 tbs active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup bread flour
- 3/4- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbs butter
- 4-5 cups vegetable oil
In a small bowl, heat the milk and water to 115 degrees. Mix in the sugar and yeast, and set aside to bloom. If the yeast is active, the mixture will become foamy.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the eggs and the yeast mixture together with a fork until just combined. Add in the bread flour, and 3/4 cup all purpose flour, and the salt.
Mix this together until a very sticky dough forms- it will still be sticking to the sides, but should be very thick. See photos above. Add more flour if the mixture is too wet- but not so much that it completely pulls away from the sides.
Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low-medium speed for about 5-10 minutes, or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time, letting it knead into the dough before each addition. This process can take a while, and you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl some to ensure that the butter gets incorporated.
Return the speed to medium, and let the dough need for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the window pane test works. Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it is about double in size. For me this takes about 30 minutes, but pay attention to the size most of all.
Once risen, scrape the dough onto a floured surface. It will still be fairly sticky at this point, so be generous with the flour. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into your desired shapes.
Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper, and a third sheet pan with several layers of paper towels. Place your cut doughnuts onto the parchment lined sheets, and cover with plastic. Let them rise for about 10-15 minutes, or until they spring back when touched.
Meanwhile, in a deep pot, heat about 4 cups of canola or vegetable oil to 350-375 degrees.
Fry the doughnuts for about 1 minute on each side, or until they become a deep golden brown. Remove from the oil and place onto the paper towel lined sheet pan to drain. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts- you only want to fry about 3 at a time. Coat in any icing or sugar mixture you prefer!
Hello and welcome! My name is Nicole, and Dough-eyed is a food blog for people who want to bake for their family and friends in high-altitude areas. Think of me as a friendly voice there with you in the kitchen, here to give you confidence when you’re baking, and to help you with the struggles of baking at high-altitude. Come back every week for new recipes, tips, and advice on high-altitude baking!