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Donut-Making Tips: Yeast-Raised Donuts

Read our tips and tricks for making yeast-raised donuts! Copyright © Dawn Food Products, Inc.

Preparing Yeast-Raised Donuts

  1. Mixing -- Put water into bowl first, crumble yeast into water, then add mix. Mix dough until it is pliable and dry to the touch. Dough should pull clean away from the sides of the bowl when properly developed.
  2. Dough Temperature -- Ideal temperature is between 78° to 82° F (25.6° to 27.8° C). Dough temperature that is too hot will ferment too fast, have poor texture and grain and have a darker than normal color when fried.
  3. Fermentation -- Defined as: a period of time to allow a chemical change activating the living organism (yeast or bacteria), that is, allowing it time to feed and grow, thus producing a leavening gas. Dough should be fermented in the mixing, at room temperature, and away from drafts. Allow dough to come up to about two or three times its original bulk. This time should be from ¾ to 1½ hours.
  4. Rolling and Cutting -- Block the dough into several small pieces. Use as little dusting flour as possible. Roll dough gently so as to not tear the surface. Cut with an even, solid pressure. Sweep away excess flour.
  5. Proofing -- Proof box should be 95° to 100° F (35° to 37.8° C), with sufficient humidity to prevent crusting. When touched, a properly proofed donut will hold an indentation without collapsing. If the indentation returns to the surface, the donut is underproofed. If the donut collapses when touched, it is overproofed.
  6. Frying -- Proper temperature of the shortening is 375° F (190.5° C). Allow donuts to dry off at least five minutes before frying. Let the underside attain a golden brown color (55 to 60 seconds) then turn and finish the second side. Remember, when grease drains off the donut, it will be darker in color.
  7. Glazing -- Fresh glaze should be made daily using honey glaze as a stabilizer. Allow donuts to drain about one minute, then glaze immediately.
  8. Finishing and Cooling -- After frying, donuts should be allowed to cool away from drafts, and on screens, at room temperature. They should then be filled and iced as soon as possible and put into a closed showcase or packaged.

Troubleshooting Raised Donuts

  • For bench type production, is there a good rule for dough temperature? For a 1 gallon (3.8 liter) dough, a temperature of 80° to 82° F (26.7° to 27.8° C); for a larger dough, 76° to 78° F (24.4° to 25.6° C) is suggested to allow for a longer make-up time.
  • What will happen if my dough temperature is 85° to 90° F (29.4° to 32.2° C) ? The dough will ferment more rapidly, and there is a chance that the dough will "gas out," or age too quickly, before make-up is complete. This can cause low volume, high grease absorption, light crust color, and poor shelf life.
  • What will happen if my dough is too cold? The rate of fermentation is greatly slowed down -- longer make-up time is necessary to avoid working a "young dough." In some cases, proofing times will have to be extended to avoid low volumes and blistering.
  • What is the best way to mix a yeast-raised dough? Place all ingredients into the mixing bowl, add water, and mix in low speed with a dough hook until water in incorporated (one to two minutes). Mix in medium speed for two minutes to clean up (normally 10 to 15 minutes total). Dough should have a smooth, not tacky, feel.
  • How should dough be fermented? The dough may be fermented in the mixing bowl, or a machine bowl, if a regular dough room or trough is not available. Be sure to protect dough from drafts. Use a constant room temperature of 80° to 85° F (26.7° to 29.4° C) with sufficient humidity to prevent the doughs from crusting.
  • What are the characteristics of a properly fermented dough? The dough should be fermented until is it between two and three times its original bulk. The exact time may be between 1 to 1½ hours, depending on the shop routine and shop conditions. Usually the dough will recede when slight pressure is applied to the top center area of the dough.
  • What special precautions should be observed when rolling the dough? Avoid excessive dusting flour. Brush flour off before proofing. Raw flour on the surface of donuts affects the frying shortening adversely. Roll small donuts on a slightly dusted bench cloth. Do not rupture the donut surface.
  • At what temperature should dough be proofed? Proof at 95° to 100° F (35° to 37.8° C). Humidity should be between 80 percent and 85 percent.
  • What are the characteristics of a properly proofed dough? When lightly touched, a properly proofed dough retains an impression formed by the finger but does not collapse. A young or underproofed dough is tough, elastic and springy, and retains no impression when touched. An old or overproofed dough retains the impression of the finger and may even collapse.
  • What happens if the donut is underproofed? The dough will not have the desired expansion. The cells will be small and the structure tighter than if properly proofed, and the keeping quality will be poor.
  • What happens when a dough is over-proofed? The donuts may have coarse, open grain, poor shape, blistered or ruptured crusts, excessive frying shortening absorption, low volume, pale crust and poor keeping qualities.
  • What is the correct frying temperature for yeast-raised donuts? Fry at about 375° to 380° F (190.6° to 193.3° C). Donuts brown too rapidly and may have raw or doughy centers if fried in fat that is too hot. Donuts fried in colder shortening brown too slowly and absorb excessive frying shortening.
  • When should glaze be applied to yeast-raised donuts? Drain donuts for about one minute until excess shortening has run off. Then glaze evenly.
  • What is the best way to prevent glazed donuts from "weeping?" Make sure that your dough does not have an excessive amount of water mixed with it. Do not under-fry -- this gives the donut a little darker, thicker crust. Make sure cooling time prior to glazing is correct -- if it's too hot your glaze will run off the donut. If it's too cold, your glaze will not adhere. Then glaze down with a simple syrup, not water. Check to see if icing conditioners or driers are being used correctly and in recommended quantities.
  • What factors affect symmetry? A slack dough, excessive dusting flour, careless rolling and cutting, overproofing or fermentation and proofing temperatures that are too high contribute to poor symmetry or shape.
  • What contributes to poor volume? Poor volume will result when the dough is not fermented or proofed enough or when dough is chilled by a draft during fermenting or proofing.
  • What special care should be given to frying shortening? The shortening foams vigorously when frying yeast donuts because they yield a large amount of carbon dioxide gas and some alcohol. This dislodges small pieces of dough and particles of dusting flour which float off into the shortening and are carbonized or burned. These conditions make it doubly necessary to drain and strain the frying shortening daily to remove the burned particles. Avoid overheating the shortening. Use a temperature controlled kettle.
  • Why do my yeast-raised products have a tendency to collapse occasionally? Your dough may have too much age -- don't mix more dough than you can handle within suggested time guidelines. Don't add too much scrap dough back in at once (20 percent is a good guide). Don't overproof or proof too wet as this will weaken the structure of your products.
  • Why do my yeast-raised products vary in size and shape after they are cut? Be sure to fully shrink your dough piece after pinning it out. Unless the dough is completely relaxed, it will shrink and become misshapen as it is cut. When rolling out the dough, try to get the entire piece down to a uniform thickness (usually ¼" to ½", or 6.4 mm to 1.3 cm, thick). Be sure that your dough is developed enough, and dry enough, so that it is not easily misshapen when cut pieces are transferred to screens or cloths. Care must be taken to use just enough dusting flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the bench.

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