When I saw that farm stand buttermilk doughnuts were on the schedule for the Baked Sunday Mornings bake along, my initial reaction was that I would have to sit it out for this assignment; I have an irrational fear of deep frying. Not of eating fried food, of course -- just making it myself. Something about the need to use and dispose of so much oil has always discouraged me from frying. In fact, I have never actually deep fried anything before in my entire life. But then I realized that this was a good opportunity to expand my cooking horizons, and so I resolved to make fried doughnuts.
The dough is not difficult to make; you just stir together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon), and then mix in wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, and melted butter). You pat out the resulting dough, cut it into doughnut shapes, and chill the doughnuts before frying. I found this dough to be extremely sticky and I had to use a lot of flour to be able to cut it into doughnut shapes that I could actually lift off of my work surface; I also had to spray my doughnut cutter with nonstick spray to get the doughnuts to release. After they were chilled, they were quite easy to handle and fry. I used a large Le Creuset dutch oven and a candy thermometer for frying, which worked out just fine -- although I did have to struggle a bit to maintain a consistent frying temperature.
One of my favorite aspects of this doughnut-making project was the fringe benefit of getting doughnut holes. While the holes looked a little like lopsided hockey pucks when I pulled them out of the doughnut cutter, they came out of the fryer as perfectly round spheres. I also liked the fact that the doughnut holes had a high ratio of the delicious outside crust to interior.
The only downside to these doughnuts is that they do indeed have to be eaten warm; much like the monkey bubble bread from last month, their half life of optimum tastiness is tragically short. But, it is oh so good while it lasts!
Recipe: "Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at BAKED Sunday Mornings.