Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vegan Yeast Doughnuts


This is a long post.  Also, I am going to the dark side with this post, to the unhealthy world:  Vegan Doughnuts!  Is it spelled doughnut or donut?  Does it matter?  I will use both spellings.   I posted some pictures of these doughnuts in fb a while back and my vegan friend asked me to blog the recipes.  I don't usually eat doughnut and haven't been for a long long time since it is not available readily for us vegans.  I really try to eat healthy vegan food so it is good that it is not easy to get this unhealthy but delicious morsel.
 
I am talking about yeast doughnut instead of the cake doughnut.  You know that there is a difference, right?  My favorite is the yeast kind.  I've been to Ronald's Donut and Voodo Doughnut , shops who sell this kind of donuts. They are really really good but thank goodness they are really really far away. I also prefer the deep fried kind.  Sorry, if it is not deep fried it is not a doughnut to me.   I don't usually eat deep fried food, not daily, but once a while I will eat deep fried food and enjoy it.   If it is baked, the yeast doughnut is called bread in the shape of doughnut.  For the cake doughnut, if it is baked, then, it is really cake in the shape of doughnut.  This is just my opinion.  If I want to eat doughnut then I prefer the deep fried one.  Someone will ask me if these can be baked.  Yes, but then it is bread.   They can be baked in 375F for 25 minutes until golden brown.  The sugar will not stick to the baked doughnut so I sprayed or dipped the doughnuts into coconut oil or vegan butter before I sprinkle them with sugar.  Below is a picture of baked Bombolini, an Italian donut filled with vegan custard and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Baked Bombolini, an Italian donut style

This recipe came about after I learned making bread recently.  I perused many different sweet bread recipes and tried to imagine which one would be good for doughnuts.   I also tried different ways of replacing eggs in sweet bread and this one seems to be the perfect way for doughnuts. After trying and changing a few ingredients and measurements, I came up with this recipe below.  I have been really satisfied with the result.  The doughnuts melt in my mouth and so very soft and light.

I would like to share some tips and suggestions about the ingredients first so you'll know what I use:

  1. About the yeast: After learning baking bread, I have been using SAF Instant Yeast and bought it in 1 lb package from Amazon.  The instant yeast is easy to use because it doesn't need to be activated with warm water.  Basically, I just throw in the instant yeast, flour, salt, liquid together and then knead it.  No fuss with mixing it with warm water at all.
  2. About the flour:  I use Unbleached All Purpose flour.  King Arthur is supposed to be the best for making bread but it is hard to find in my area and if I find it, it is very expensive.  I use Bob's Red Mill organic kind and it's good.  After learning making bread, please, please, weigh the flour for measuring instead of using a cup measuring.  For accuracy, this is the way to do it since measuring flour by cup-measuring tool is not as accurate due to your environment (dry or humid air, etc.).
  3. About the coconut oil:  I am trying not to use products with palm oil in it so I came up with this Organic Virgin Coconut oil from Trader Joe's.  I love it.
  4. About temperature:  Please make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.  Do not refridgerate ingredients before hand.  If it is cold, let it out at a room temperature before mixing.
  5. Planning:  It takes about 12 hours or more to develop the dough.  Planning is really important.  I  prepared the dough on a weekend day and shape the doughnut early in the morning the next day.  Meanwhile while waiting for the dough to be ready, I prepared the glazes, the filling, and the topping ingredients.
Vegan Yeast Doughnut
Makes 1 dozen doughnuts and more than 1 dozen doughnut holes

Ingredients:
280g or 10 oz. Unbleached All Purpose Flour (about 2 cups, but please use a food scale to weigh the flour)
3 Tbsp. vegan sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt (fine texture)
1 Tbsp. Instant Yeast
1/2 cup coconut milk  (from a can or fresh)
3 Tbsp. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (it is solid kind)

Egg replacement:
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/2 cup water (at room temperature)

Grapeseed oil or Safflower oil for high heat for deep frying (abou 6-9 cups, depending on the size of the pot)

  1. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small pot (2-cup) and use a whisk, combine it together, vigorously, until all the cornstarch is mixed and not lumpy.  It will be smooth and the color of milk (opague).
  2. Cook it on top of medium high heat.  Use the whisk, keep stirring, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly.  When it starts to boil, turn down the heat to simmer and let it simmered for about 1-2 minuts until the color is not chalky or opague anymore but resembles the texture and color of glue.
  3. Let it cool in the pot.
Kneading the dough:
I prefer to use a mixer with a dough hook.
  1. Into a mixer bowl (with the dough hooks attached), add the cooled cornstarch mixure above, coconut milk, flour, sugar, sea salt,  and instant yeast.  Turn on the machine to knead for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the solid coconut oil and let the machine knead and mix for another 7 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and not sticking to the side of the bowl.  If there are remnants of dough sticking to the side, it means that there is not enough flour, add a little bit more flour until the dough is combined and kneaded.
  3. The dough should be smooth to the touch and NOT STICKY but soft.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in an oily bowl (use oil spray lightly on the inside of the bowl).  Cover with a saran wrap to prevent drying out and let it sit at a room temperature for about 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour,  the dough should rise a little bit.
  6. Refridgerate the dough in the bowl, covered, for at least 12 hours (or up to 18 hours) before starting to shape doughnuts. 
Shaping doughnuts:
  1. Prepare several sheet pans covered with silpat, parchment paper, or saran wrap and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Take out dough from the fridge.  At this time, the dough is firm and cold, almost the same as pie pastry.  Use warm hands to knead it on a floured cutting board and then use a rolling pin to flatten it and rolled it down to 12-inch diameter and about 1/4-inch thick (just like preparing pie crust).  Using a doughnut cutter or your own invention of a cutter(see picture below), cut the dough into doughnut shape, saving the holes, lay the doughnuts onto the prepared sheet pans.
  3. Re-knead the dough scraps by shaping them into a ball and use the rolling pin to flatten again. Roll it down to a smaller diameter and about 1/4 inch thick.  Repeat again until finish.
  4. Another option is to cut the dough into bars.
  5. Let the doughnut dough rise for about 1 1/2 hour in a warm place.  Cover with linen towels to prevent drying out.
Using a drink shaker, I cut the dough for the large circle.

Then, use the top for the small circle.  Voila!


Frying the doughnuts:
  1. Prepare sheet pans with a lot of paper towel on it (may use brown supermarket bag underneath it to absorb more oil).
  2. Using a heavy cast iron pot, heat oil into 375F (use a frying thermometer).
  3. Deep fry each donut about 1 minute, flipping to the other side, until golden brown.  Do not over crowd it by frying 2-3 doughnuts at a time.  Deep fry doughnut holes about 5 at a time.
  4. Keep oil heated up to 375F at all time.  If the temperature goes down, wait a few minutes until it goes up again.
  5. Place the fried doughnuts on the the prepared sheet pans and let the oil absorbed.
  6. Glaze, fill, top, and enjoy!  Unfortunately, these doughnuts will not keep for the next day.  They are best to be consumed in the same day.  Donut shops make donuts everyday.
Glazing, filling, and topping doughnuts:
The glaze, filling, and toppings make doughnuts better, for sure.  It is best to glaze, sprinkle with sugar, and top the doughnuts while they are still warm.  However, it is best to insert the filling when they are already sprinkled with sugar and that they are cooled.  For custard filled chocolate bars, it is best to fill first then glaze the donuts.   Below are a few tips and recipes.  Each type of glaze and filling are good for 1 dozen donuts so please select one type of glaze for the recipe above or make half a recipe.

Sugar Glaze (enough to glaze 1 dozen donuts and their holes):
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1 tsp. clear almond or vanilla extract, optional
Mix powdered sugar with non-dairy milk 1 tablesspoon at a time.  Add the extract, if using.  After 2 tablespoon of liquid, check the consistency, it should be thick and coat a spoon.  If it is too thick, add more liquid 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Maple Glaze(enough to glaze 1 dozen donuts and their holes):
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1/4 - 1/2  tsp. maple extract
Mix powdered sugar with non-dairy milk 1 tablesspoon at a time. Add the extract.  After 2 tablespoon of liquid, check the consistency, it should be thick and coat a spoon. If it is too thick, add more liquid 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Chocolate Glaze(enough to glaze 1 dozen donuts and their holes):
3 Tbsp. Organic Virgin Coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
Melt coconut oil and corn syrup in a small pot (2-cups size).  Add chocolate chips.  Use a whisk, melt and combine the ingredients together until it becomes a warm liquid.  Add the extract.  Then, add powdered sugar. Whisk and combine until it is smooth.  It is best to keep this glaze warm so I suggest to make it right before the frying of the donut.  Put it in a microwave for 30 seconds if it is drying out.

Custard Filling(enough to fill 1 dozen donut bars):
2 1/2 Tbsp. Bird's Custard Powder
3 Tbsp. vegan sugar
1 1/2 cup soy milk creamer
1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Mix custard powder, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the creamer(cold) in a small pot.  Use a whisk to combine them together until mixture is not lumpy and smooth.
  2. Heat the rest of the creamer in another small pot until it is hot.  Add the combined mixture from no. 1 above.  Keep stirring with a whisk until it starts to simmer and bubbly.  Turn the heat down and let it simmered while keep stirring for anothe 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thickened.
  3. Take it off heat and add the extract.  Put wax or parchment paper on top and let it cool.  Refridgerate for 1-2 hours before using.
  4. To fill doughnuts, pour custard into a piping bag with a large tip.  Insert a chopstick or small knife into the side of the donut to make a hole.  Pipe the custard into the donut then glaze with the chocolate glaze if making custard filled chocolate donut bars. 
Another filling suggestion:  strawberry jam and raspberry jam (without seeds).

Toppings and sprinkles:  sugar, colorful sprinkles, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, coconut bacon (homemade or Phoney Baloney Coconut Bacon), chocolate sprinkles, etc.

See my creation and combination below.  Which one is your favorite?

Chocolate frosted and topped with nuts and pearl sugar.

Maple glazed, sugar glazed, and sprinkled with sugar.
Doughnut bars: maple glazed topped with coconut bacon and chocolate glazed filled with vegan custard.
Round shaped:  sprinkled with sugar, jam filled or vegan custard filled.
Don't forget the donut holes:  glazed or sprinkled with sugar.

4 comments:

Brenda W. said...

Gosh ... please don't feel the need to apologize for posting a recipe like this!! I think part of the vegan world has gone WAY too far with fat-free proselyting.

Anyway, like you, I too feel a donut isn't a donut unless it's fried. Yes, I like cake donuts, but they are simply a totally different food!

One question ... these really don't keep, do they?? I've always thought that fried donuts need to be eaten the day they are made (preferably within a few HOURS of being made). Is this a recipe to splurge on when you're having a big bunch of friends over, or is there a way to preserve these??

Spice Island Vegan said...

Yeah, I agree, Brenda. I actually feel guilty of eating them because they are fatty but oh so goooood. My husband LOVES them but he doesn't gain weight eating this kind of fatty food.

Yes, they don't keep. Eat them within a day or hours. They are not good the next day. I had to hunt down the vegan friend who suggested to blog it. I gave a lot to this friend. I also gave to my non-vegan neighbor whom was not home when I finished making them. I made a lot for the blog and pictures. OMG, I had to find people who can eat them within hours today. LOL!

Michelle said...

these look amazing ... love Ronalds... next time u need someone to eat them send them to Newport :)

last time i saw King Arthurs i think was at Walmart but i havent been there in so long as i dont shop there any longer....

thx for recipe

Spice Island Vegan said...

Thanks Michelle. I'll check Walmart. If you missed Ronald's you can make these. :-)