Make-Ahead Baking: Baked Doughnuts
I’m not one to turn down day-old doughnuts, but there’s nothing like a fresh, warm doughnut. I’m partial to the yeast variety—a buttery dough lightened with perfectly distributed pockets of air. I like to make them on chilly weekends to serve alongside a hot cup of coffee. Most recently, I baked these currant doughnuts, spiced with a generous grating of nutmeg and hint of cinnamon.
If you’ve never made a yeast dough before, the recipe might look intimidating. Just take it step by step and you’ll find that little of the four hours of prep is active—you’re mostly just giving the yeast time to do its thing. It breaks down simply to:
- Activate the yeast (pictured above)
- Mix the dough, then let it rise (pictured below).
- Punch down the dough, and let the dough rise again.
- Shape the doughnuts, and let them rise one last time.
- Brush with butter, coat with sugar, and serve.
Because there’s a good chance you’ll want to eat these in the morning, and an even better chance you don’t want to get up at 4 a.m., it’s helpful to know you can do all the steps through shaping the night before. Just cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight, and then bring them to room temperature for the final rise in the morning.
I didn’t deviate from the recipe except to prepare the recipe for baking ahead of time and to use some vanilla sugar I made several weeks ago for the crunchy coating. Speaking of which, do not skip the melted butter and sugar finish. Baked doughnuts need this last touch to be a treat rather than bread. I loved the vanilla sugar here, but you could also add some cinnamon and nutmeg to reinforce the flavors in the dough.
That sweet, crunchy blanket gives way to a fluffy, yeasty interior. The currants are little fruity bonuses throughout. I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend.