Mini doughnuts single

I was about 10 years of age, if I had to guess.  An age where, back then at least, the idea of playing shop was a terribly appealing one.  In this case, it was a real grown up version.

It would start with a Saturday morning ritual.  An outing.  A trip to the local shops.  For my mother, it was a highly practical affair.  Secure groceries for the week ahead before the stores closed at noon.  For me, it was the promise of something sweet.

I vaguely remember her being an older lady.  Happy.  Friendly.  And always eager to share her fresh, sweet treats.  I am not sure how I managed to find myself on the other side of that kiosk counter, but one day there I was, helping this charming older lady.  She managed a tiny doughnut shop.  As a child, it was a sugar ladened wonderland.  There were brightly iced doughnuts.  Cream and jam filled doughnuts.  And warm, fresh cinnamon doughnuts. 

The doughnut lady would take care of all the iced and filled doughnuts, plus cook the plain doughnuts ready for cinnamon sugar dusting.  That was where I came in.  As the freshly cooked doughnuts fell onto the rotating cooler, my little hands would grab on to the sugaring stick.  Gently navigating the centre of each doughnut, it was not long before I was quickly picking up half a dozen piping hot doughnut with ease.  With the requisite number of doughnuts ready to go, I would then move my little self towards the large, shallow pan of cinnamon sugar.  The best part was to come.  Gently rolling the doughnuts from back to front in the sugar pan.  Ensuring an even coating.  The last step was to transfer a full stick of doughnuts, into a long, narrow plain white glycerin bag.

Come noon-time, as the shops prepared to close, my reward for my sugaring help was a handful of doughnuts, which were not sold that day.  Happily munching, I left with my mother, and young dreams of having my own doughnut shop one day.

I have never made doughnuts, and the moment my hand started to turn these little balls of fried yeasty goodness into cinnamon sugar, the memory came flooding back.  The action of the sugar coating.  The distinct aroma of the cinnamon sugar on the warm doughnut.  The unbeatable taste of that just cooked doughnut.

These fluffy yeast style doughnuts were a fun twist on Sweet Dough month, and a lovely reminder of old fashioned doughnut shop confections.

Mini doughnuts set

{ Basic sweet dough recipe } Original recipe by Julia @ Mélanger

This recipe takes around four hours from beginning to end.  You will need to plan accordingly but the taste will be worth the effort.  

As delicious as these little doughnuts would be with a simple sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar, I paired with some homemade dulce de leche.  Again, using the recommended technique from my Chilean friend, Ms Contreras.

* Ingredients *
1 cup milk
¼ cup water (110F/45C)
3.5g / ½ package dried yeast
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4½ to 5 cups of plain, all purpose flour
¼ cup / ½ stick of butter, melted
Glaze:
1 egg, lightly beaten

* Directions *
Warm the milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear around the edge.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 110F/45C.  In the meantime, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.   Stir in the milk, sugar, salt, beaten eggs, and 1 cup of the flour.  Beat the mixture until smooth.  Add 2 more cups of flour and continue to beat.  Continue until the dough is glossy.  Add the melted butter and stir well.  Add a further 1 ½ cups of flour and continue to beat well.  Stir in the remaining ½ cup of flour bit by bit until the dough is stiff – you may not need to add it all.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.  Then knead the dough lightly until it is smooth and glossy.  Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, lightly spraying the top of the dough with oil to prevent drying.  Allow to double in size, about 1½ to 2 hours.  Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled, about 1 hour.  Turn out onto a floured surface.  You should have roughly have between 2.4-2.6lb / 1.1-1.2kg of dough in total.  The quantity of dough should be sufficient for three small loaves.  Once you have shaped your final dough, let rise for 20-30 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Brush lightly with egg and then bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on size.

{ Mini doughnut variation }

1. 1/2 batch of above dough recipe will yield approximately 25 doughnut holes.
2. Add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon into the dough with the milk, sugar, salt, beaten eggs, and 1 cup of the flour.
3. After the second rise, divide the dough into 25 equal portions (about 0.8oz or a 20-25g a piece). 
4. Allow-to proof for 20 minutes.
5. Heat up a small saucepan of neutral flavoured oil (vegetable, canola) to 370F / 190C.  Cook 4-6 doughnut holes at a time for 1-2 minutes, turning as you cook to ensure they are evenly browned.
6. Allow to drain on absorbent paper.  Once slightly cooled, toss in cinnamon sugar.

:: Yeastspotting ::
I am submitting these mini doughnuts with homemade dulce de leche to Yeastspotting.