Yeasted Doughnut Rolls
Cooking for Joy
Every now and then, between the chaos and stress of our oh-so-fun everyday lives, I like to disconnect by cooking. Not kidding! And you know how it is when you are immersing yourself into something you love; you are in the ZONE!!! That’s when music flow through your head, ideas come up and problems seem smaller than you though. Suddenly you realize that, for that moment, you are living in pure joy.
I’m always amazed and a bit amused on how much joy I get to experience when I’m in the kitchen. Cooking or baking. Not doing the dishes. That joy comes up especially when making a dish just because; not because of a trend or a holiday or a chore, but just because. And this recipe is the ideal example for that!
I’ve been wanting to do this yeasted doughnuts for a long time now. Why the heck I have been procrastinating making yeasted doughnut rolls I have no idea. There was always something. But as many great things, spontaneity is key. I just said one day “now is the right moment”. It was last week, by the way.
I don't know how I come up with this hybrid. It just popped into my mind. Maybe at one moment I needed a sugar rush for breakfast. My mom used to make some mean yeasted doughnuts when I was little, so maybe I was reminiscent of that and wanted to recreate the experience with my own daughter. No matter the reason, I think it has been one of the cleverest ideas I have come to think. These yeasted doughnuts are pillowy and sweet but still have a bite on the crust. Thanks to the sugar inside they are nice and moist. They are annoyingly delicious.
I have to tell you in advance that this recipe requires few steps at different points in the process. You just need simple everyday ingredients and the processes are quite simple, mainly because the hard work it’s done by the mixer. But you definitely need to start ahead. I started the around 7pm the night before cooking them and at 10pm it was already resting in fridge. The day after I started working on the dough around 7am and by 9am the first batch was done. Of course, the first thing I did as soon as I opened my eyes was to stretch and make those rolls. But if you read the recipe in advance and organize a bit I know you could make it. I made them still in the middle of a chaotic weekend. But I did for the joy of it!
1. For this recipe is super important that all the ingredients are at room temperature. Remember that yeast is very happy and thrives in a warm environment.
2. When resting the dough to rise, I look for the warmest corner in the house, which is a nightstand in our bedroom. Besides topping it with a kitchen towel, I wrap it with a light blanket and a clean t-shirt, again, to keep it nice and warm. Don't wrap it up too tight though so it breathes.
3. I used a bit vanilla to add a floral note. You can go all the way to a full teaspoon or nothing at all.
4. When stretching the dough, do not press the rolling pin too hard. Gentle strokes from the center out are good enough to stretch it to a ¼” thickness. Don’t stretch it too thin either.
Yeasted Doughnuts Rolls
Coconut milk, lukewarm - ⅓
Instant yeast – 1 envelop
Eggs, at room temperature – 5
Unbleached organic all purpose flour – 3 ½ cups
Raw sugar - ⅓ cup + 4 TBSP + ⅓ cup
Vanilla extract – ½ to 1 Tsp (see notes)
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp
Butter, at room temperature and in pieces – 12 TBSP (6 ounces)
Ground cinnamon – 1 TBSP
Vegetable oil for frying
Total time - 4 hours plus overnight chilling Active time - 20 minutes for making the dough and 20 minutes for stretching a making the rolls
Equipment - Standup mixer (highly recommended), rolling pin, large deep skillet or pot, slotted round spatula
In the bowl of a standup mixer with the hook attached pour the coconut milk and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow the yeast to dissolve for 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, slightly beat the eggs. Dump the flour in the mixer bowl and knead in slow speed (#2 in the Kitchen Aid) just until smooth. Add the eggs in a stream and knead just until they seemed incorporated. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and knead for 15 minutes. Don’t worry if the dough seems a bit wet, it would come together eventually. After the fifteen minutes of kneading add the butter by pieces. If you see that the pieces are sticking to the walls of the bowl, stop de mixer and bring the butter to the bottom of the bowl as much as you can, then continue kneading. Don’t do this more than two times so you don’t mess the kneading process and don’t worry if some pieces of butter come up again through the walls of the bowl, they will come together eventually. Knead for an extra 10 to 15 minutes, until the dough is completely smooth.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and wrap it up with some extra kitchen towels or blanket (see notes) because it like to be warm. Place the bowl in a warm corner to rise double its size, about 2 hours.
Stretch the dough on the top from center towards the edges to redistribute the yeast and release some of the gases, 3 to 4 times. Cover with a sealing plastic paper and a kitchen towel and wait 5 to 10 minutes before placing in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, mix the 4 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Dust plenty of flour on a clean flat surface and turn the dough on it. Using a rolling pin stretch it until you got a rectangular shape and the dough is about ¼” thick (see notes), always starting from the center out. Cut the edges to have straight lines through the rectangle. Sprinkle all the surface dough with the cinnamon sugar. Starting from the longest edge, roll the dough until the end. Work on the seam by pinching with your finger as much as you can. You may try to pull a bit of dough from one side to the other and vice versa until the seam almost disappears. Cut the log into 1 ½” rolls. Reshape each roll with your hands and check the seam is still closed. Place each roll in a tray or large baking dish. Cover again with a couple of kitchen towels, blankets or cloths and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hour, until they are puffed. Knead the dough edges into balls and put them to rise as well.
Fill thru half a heavy bottomed pot or deep skillet. Heat the oil to 350° (you may use a candy thermometer to check on the temperature. Drop 2 to 3 doughnuts into the hot oil. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until most of each doughnut is floating. Using a rounded slotted spatula or a spider web spatula turn the doughnuts upside down a fry for an extra 2 to 3 minutes, until dark golden brown. If you feel the dough could still be raw on the inside, turn and fry for an extra minute and repeat on the other side. Take out of the oil and rest over kitchen paper towel to absorb excess of oil.
Place the remaining ⅓ cup of sugar in a shallow bowl and with the doughnuts still warm, after one or two minutes outside the oil, dip them in the sugar and rub the entire surface with it. Finally, time to eat!
You may store any remaining doughnut in an airtight container or plastic bag. After the second day, store them in the fridge and heat a few seconds in the microwave before eating.