How To Make Doughnuts


“Doughnuts; Mrs. Harry Shoemake.

One quart flour, three teaspoons baking powder, one teaspoon salt, one scant cup sugar, two eggs well beaten, two tablespoons melted lard, one cup milk; mix with fork or spoon, take out on board and cut strips down with knife, roll and tie in a knot, drop in deep fat and fry till brown. The softer one can roll them, the better.

Doughnuts; Mrs. Sarah Ament Dodson.

Three-fourths cup sugar, one-fourth cup milk, one-half cup cream, two eggs, pinch salt, a little nutmeg, heaping teaspoon baking powder; beat eggs to a foam, add milk and cream; put baking powder in two and one-half cups flour, sift in, mix and roll; if not enough flour, more can be added.

Doughnuts; Mrs. L. Krieg. Burlington

Two eggs, one cup sugar, sweet cream, one-half cup sweet milk, three teaspoons baking powder, salt, vanilla and nutmeg for flavoring, enough flour to roll out easy; cut into rings; do not work the dough, as it will make them tough.

Doughnuts; Lydia Fox, West Liberty.

One cup sugar, two eggs, one cup sour milk, one tablespoon melted lard, one teaspoon soda, one-fourth nutmeg grated.

Doughnuts; Mrs. John O’Neal, Burlington.

Two eggs, one cup sugar, one cup sour cream, one teaspoon soda, nutmeg and salt; flour for stiff dough.

Good Doughnuts; Mrs. V. D. Bumgardner, Oasis, Iowa.

Three cups sugar, two cups sweet milk, four tablespoons melted butter, three eggs, one teaspoon salt, three teaspoons baking powder; flour to make soft dough.

Fine Doughnuts; Miss Hattie Evans, West Liberty, Iowa.

One egg, one cup rich milk, one quart flour, one cup sugar, two teaspoons Royal baking powder, pinch of salt, nutmeg to flavor; beat thoroughly sugar and egg, add milk, then flour with baking powder; roll out and fry in hot fat.”–Doughnut recipes from ‘Good Living And How To Prepare It’; 1905.

“TO keep doughnuts moist, they should be kept in a stone or earthen jar. Also, if made with brown sugar they will keep moist longer than if made with white. In frying, let them brown on one side well before turning, as they rise more thoroughly, and so are lighter, than if turned frequently while frying; then turn them and brown the other side. Use a pure vegetable cooking oil for frying and your cakes will be crisp and delicious. The oil should be smoking hot so as not to allow the cakes to “soak fat.” Some use a tablespoonful of vinegar in the dough to prevent soaking fat, others use a fourth of a teaspoonful of ginger, for the same purpose.”–Emma Iona Locke; 1915.

“A temperature of 185°C. (365° F.) was found to be very satisfactory for frying doughnuts. Doughnuts of average standard size and weight (about 32 grams, or  1.129 ounces of dough), having a center hole of 1 & 1/4 inches in diameter, require about 3 minutes to fry at this temperature if allowed to float, and about one and one-half minutes if submerged in the hot fat during frying.

For the best quality of doughnuts the dough should be of fine texture but rather soft and smooth, and handled as little as possible.  The time of frying has as much influence as any one factor in controlling fat absorption. Frying at too low a temperature and thus requiring a longer period of cooking, frying doughnuts that are too thick and require a long time to thoroughly cook through, or leaving the doughnut in the fat too long, due to poor judgment on the part of the cook as to when the product is done, all tend to produce a doughnut unnecessarily high in fat.

For the woman who fries doughnuts often, some simple device, such as a frying basket of appropriate size, by means of which she can keep her doughnuts completely submerged during frying, may prove to be a worth while investment; for by such a device she can reduce the time of frying practically one-half and the fat absorption considerably, and produce a doughnut of superior quality and appearance. However, this process cannot be recommended for large or thick doughnuts or for those which tend to “swell shut” in cooking.”–Minna C. Denton & Louise B. Pritchett; The Journal of Home Economics, Volume 13; 1921.

“The actual making of doughnuts is not difficult and not complicated. But there are a few important details which must be followed carefully in order to insure the best results. And there is a certain amount of knack in the handling of the dough which comes with practice.

Although doughnuts may be made from a yeast-raised dough, the most popular variety is made from the more quickly raised mixture, one that depends on baking powder for the leavening agent. There are two types of baking powder which may be used in this and all quickly raised mixtures. It matters little which type is selected, but the methods of using them differ radically. In the cream-of- tartar powders chemical reaction begins as soon as the mixture becomes moistened.

“Therefore, the more rapidly the mixing is accomplished and the more quickly the product is cooked, the better will be the result.”

“Mix lightly and rapidly” is the invariable rule for this type of baking powder. On the other hand, the phosphate powders require heat before the reaction which forms carbon dioxide takes place in the mixture, and the best results are obtained with this type of baking powder if the mixture is allowed to stand for twenty to thirty minutes. The actual choice of the baking powder to use in the making of doughnuts will depend somewhat upon circumstances and the individual worker. With a clear understanding of the types of baking powders which may be used and a knowledge of the methods to employ in order to obtain the very best results from each the final choice should not be difficult. It may even differ on different occasions, owing to varying circumstances. It is a good plan to keep both types of baking powder at hand.

“One of the chief considerations in the making of a good doughnut is to make a soft dough and handle it as lightly and as little as possible.”

At the same time it is vital that the doughnut shall retain its shape during the process of being removed from board to frying kettle. Recipes heretofore printed have not been consistent in the kind of flour designated for doughnut making. Although either bread or pastry flour may be used in the making of a good doughnut, repeated experiments have shown that it is possible to make a dough with bread flour, which can be easily and deftly handled, by using less flour than can possibly be sufficient if pastry flour is used. For this reason the bread flour has a tendency to give a lighter, less compact texture to the doughnut than the pastry flour.

Doughnuts need not be a prohibitive article of diet either because of their cost or because of their reputed tendency to indigestibility, if they are carefully made from properly chosen ingredients and fried at the correct temperature so that they will be merely seared on the outside by the fat medium and not saturated with it. From the many tests using the different kinds of fats and oils as deep fat frying media for foods of all kinds, the results point to the fact that it matters not at all what kind of frying medium you select, provided you use the right temperature for the frying.

“A thermometer makes doughnut frying a sure process instead of a more or less hit-or-miss one.”

Use preferably a frying kettle designed especially for the purpose. The Scotch kettle is especially well adapted to doughnut frying, because the doughnut slips easily down the sloping side. It is by far the best choice when using a coal range, because it sets comfortably into the hole left by removing a stove lid.

Although this kettle can be used with good results over gas or oil ranges, its base is not flat enough to be perfectly secure. For this reason the flat-bottomed, sheet-iron kettle designed especially for deep fat frying is perhaps a safer and wiser choice. When using an electric range, it is absolutely essential to select a flat-bottomed utensil, so that it will set firmly and cover completely the heating element.

For frying the doughnuts, select any fat or cooking oil which you prefer. Fill the kettle about one-half to two-thirds full and place it over the fire. Just as soon as the fat is melted, place the thermometer in it. Heat gradually until the proper temperature is reached. The best temperature for frying all uncooked batter or dough mixtures like doughnuts is 360° F. Maintain this temperature just as nearly as possible throughout the frying. Do not try to fry too many doughnuts at a time, because the fat will become too suddenly cooled, and the results will not be good.

When immersing the doughnuts, it is safe to have the temperature from five to ten degrees hotter than that desired for frying. Watch the thermometer closely and adjust the heat accordingly. Turn the doughnuts frequently during the frying and cook them until they have assumed a rich golden brown. This should take three minutes. When done, take them up on a fork or a special tool designed for the purpose, if the doughnut has an opening. Shake off the surplus fat, and drain on crumpled paper. If the doughnut has no hole, use a skimmer for removing from the fat.

Now for the recipe itself. In the mixing bowl place one cupful of granulated sugar, add one-half teaspoonful of butter, and cream together until they are well blended. Break into the sugar mixture one egg and stir well with a slotted spoon. Now mix and sift together three cupfuls of bread flour, four teaspoonfuls of baking-powder, one teaspoonful of salt, one-fourth tea spoonful of nutmeg, and one-fourth teaspoonful of cinnamon. Add these sifted dry ingredients to the first mixture, alternating with one cupful of milk. Mix together well and add one more cupful of sifted bread flour to make a soft dough.

“Fry the doughnuts by temperature and drain them well on crumpled paper.”

Take one-third of the dough and toss it on a floured board, roll lightly to about one-fourth inch in thickness, cut in desired shapes, and fry as directed, either immediately or after standing, depending upon the type of baking powder used. Knead the cuttings lightly with half of the mixture remaining and roll again. Repeat until the mixture is all used, being very careful to handle as deftly and lightly as possible.

This recipe makes the plain doughnut which is so popularly found, especially in New England, on the breakfast menu. However, doughnuts need not be confined to breakfast service. They can be made particularly attractive and delicious for afternoon tea or coffee service—-in fact, for any time—in place of the usual tiny cakes or cookies.

The doughnut may be varied in two ways: first, by a change in ingredients; second, by the use of variety as to shapes. The regulation round cutter with the hole in the center is good, but if you have just a few other cutters similar to those illustrated, the possibilities are many. Crinkled edges and heart or diamond shapes all make the same mixture taste differently. A pastry wheel makes possible other variations. Cut the rolled dough into small squares and then slash it two or three times with the pastry wheel. Or cut the dough into oblongs, and cut with the pastry cutter to within one-half inch of one end, thus making two or three strips which can be twisted or braided.

For special service make the doughnuts small and dainty and roll them in sugar. For sugaring, place two tablespoonfuls of sugar in a paper bag and toss the doughnuts about in the bag until thoroughly coated. Sugar only a few at a time.

For Chocolate Doughnuts omit the butter and spices, and add to the batter two squares of bitter chocolate melted over hot water, and one teaspoonful of vanilla. Cut in fancy shapes and always sugar after frying.”–Mabel Jewett Crosby; Excerpts from a ‘Good Housekeeping’ article, Vol. 72; 1921.

How to make your own Krispy Kreme donuts!