Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homemade Doughnuts

Yesterday was my family's annual Doughnut Day when all the ladies get together to make homemade doughnuts. For one day out of the year, I forget that I try to bake healthy foods and jump into all the fried white flour yumminess.

Last year some of you asked for the recipe for homemade doughnuts. This is the recipe we've used for over 30 years, ever since I was a little girl (that makes me sound old!) I'm sharing it just like it is. If I was mixing up doughnuts, I'd replace the shortening with butter, the sugar with honey and replace some of the white flour with whole wheat flour. There may be a reason that I'm not in charge of mixing up the dough. I'm sure my brothers would think that I'm destroying a great tradition. But really, I think those changes could be made and still have a great doughnut - at least is you didn't mess up with the fried in lard part.

Strangely, one of the most popular recipes on this blog continues to be the baked doughnut. Honestly, baked doughnuts taste more like sweet rolls then doughnuts. They are still tasty but to get the real thing, you just need the fried grease.

I don't want healthy eating to become bondage and today I was thinking of Michael Pollan's Food Rules. Number 39 is "Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself." I partly disagree because I could make a awful lot of nutritional empty food for my family if I wanted to. But I get his point. Making doughnuts is a lot of fun when you can gab with your sisters and sister-in-laws. But by the end of the day, when we washed the last greasy pan, my feet ached and I was thoroughly sick of smelling doughnuts. Doughnuts didn't even look good to me anymore. No one in their right mind would go through that kind of work to get a doughnut with their coffee every morning. When our food consumption was tied to what we grew in our gardens and produced in our kitchens, our diets were healthier out of necessity.

Pollan's Food Rule # 60 is "Treat treats as treats." So I'll try to find some sort of balance and I will eat my doughnut guilt-free and with intense relish. These really are absolutely wonderful. The amount of doughnuts this batch makes will depend greatly upon the size of doughnuts made, how thin they are rolled, etc. We made four batches this year which made several hundred doughnuts which were divided among five families and shared with friends.

Homemade Doughnuts

1 quart of milk, heated almost to boiling
2 cup mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
4 T yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 T salt
8-10 cups flour

Mix milk, potatoes, sugar, and shortening. Cool to lukewarm.
Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar. After milk-potato mixture is cooled, add yeast mixture plus 4 cups flour. Mix well. Let stand one half hour in warm place covered with cloth. Then add eggs, salt and as much flour as needed to handle. If dough is a bit sticky, the result is lighter doughnuts.
Let rise until double in a warm place. Punch down and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with doughnut cutter. Place cut doughnuts on lightly floured surface to rise. By the time you have all the doughnuts cut you can start frying the first ones cut. Fry in hot fat at 350 degrees.
Dip in glaze while doughnuts are still hot. Drip over pan until dry.
Wait until cool to sugar or fill doughnuts.
For freshest doughnuts, freeze immediately. They thaw quickly 

For small amount of glaze (won't be enough for entire batch)
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar mix with 1/2 cup hot water, heat gently until dissolves. Don't boil!


  1. Gina,
    Do you freeze the doughnuts to use through out the year? How long do they last in the freezer? I wish I had sisters. You know, he probably has that rule because to make the junk yourself is a lot more work and you do it rarely, verses buying it often. That's the rule for our house w/treats and junk. Have a good day!

    By the way, last night I made homemade bread using one of your recipies, and my son said, "Yea, Mom has finally learned how to make good bread!"

  2. I cannot believe you! You do amaze me with all of your ideas and funtimes!!! Now, I feel if I don't make doughnuts; I will be missing out on some fun! Thanks again!!!!

    Blessings and Strength for all of your work you do throughout each day,

    Debbie S.

  3. Bookmarking this one... we get our 5 gallon storage buckets for free from the local bakery and you should see the list of ingredients on those things. It's mind blowing how processed those things are.

  4. I have a soft spot for doughnuts, and these look heavenly!

  5. Yum Yum. Great job. Can u freeze at any point?

  6. I've learned a lot from Michael Pollan - and also from you!

    It is fun to be with family to do projects. I remember talking in Sunday school one time about how TV can be so destructive when it pulls you away from community and family - one way to combat this is to make it a social event. (We don't have a TV, but I was reminded of this by your big family doughnut fry).

    Normally doughnuts don't tempt me that much. But homemade ones are really really good. When I was little, our neighbors were a retired couple and she would fry doughnuts and hand some to us still warm, with sugar sprinkled on them. They were fabulous.

  7. Oh they look wonderful!! I would love to have a day like this with my girls, maybe we will try it.

    Could you please send a couple to eastern Ontario? ;)


  8. Those look wonderful! I still have my grandmother's donut recipe.

  9. Gina
    how i love your blog! I stumbled on it while searching for easy bread recipes and have been hooked ever since. My favourite photo-aside from your gorgeous children-is of the washing pegged out in the snow. We get an inch of snow in the UK and everything grinds to a halt! Please keep sharing your enchanting home life with us
    Helen x

  10. Sarah -
    We put the doughnuts right in the freezer when they cool. They stay much fresher that way.

    If I ration these, they will last one week at our house. It looks like scads of doughnuts but once it is split amongst several families, we all get a reasonable amount to take home and enjoy. I think they would last for several weeks in the freezer but they wouldn't improve with long storage.

    Thanks to you all for your sweet comments. My computer has been acting up recently and not letting me online much. It is good for my to stay off the computer - but I miss "talking" with you all. If it wasn't for posts that were post-dated there wouldn't be much activity here some days!

  11. I've tried your baked doughnut recipe. They didn't last long around here. I should try them again.....

  12. My mouth is watering. Really. Yum!

  13. Because we are GF, I always made our own donuts. But I baked them, not fried. I really have to try and fry them now.

  14. Oh, spudnuts even! Takes me back thirty years :-)

    I just put _Food Rules_ on my library hold list.

  15. Yummy, these look so wonderful!
    I made some doughnuts last year and they were such a big hit with my family. We were licking the platter clean and I wondered why we ever buy store foods when homemade is so tasty!

  16. Gina, now I've heard of everything- "family Doughnut Day" oh my goodness- now there's a day I should mention to my family. :-)

    Love your take on life!
    An Oregon Cottage

  17. I have never heard of making donuts with potato, but I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe.

    I wish more women shared in cooking like this. What fun it looks like.

    I really enjoy your blog.

  18. wooow, look delicious donuts, thank the recipe

  19. I'm not sure if you will see this, being such an old post, but, do you really only use 8 to 10 cups of flour? Mine was so sticky I added up to 13 cups and it was still sticky. Maybe I'm too used to making bread?? I can't imagine even being able to roll it with even 10 to 12 cups. I actually have a batch in my new Bosch right now. My girls are all coming over today to have donut day a week late.

    1. It is a sticky dough but as the dough sits and rises, it tends to absorb most of the stickiness. You can add more flour when you roll them if necessary. To be honest, I usually jump dump flour in until it feels right so I might use more. I should make it and count accurately.

      Have fun doughnut making!

  20. What kind of flour do you use for this, AP, cake flour or bread flour?

    1. All purpose. But I'm sure bread flour would also do well.


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