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Whip Up Perfect Donuts Every Time By Avoiding These 10 Common Pitfalls

Whip Up Perfect Donuts Every Time By Avoiding These 10 Common Pitfalls

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From cleaning up piles of bowls and spoons to having to precariously manage the hot oil, there’s surely some work that goes into frying donuts at home.

Yes, there are now donut recipes you can bake in the oven or air fryer. But, truth be told, nothing beats deep-fried donuts in terms of texture and flavor, especially when they’re homemade.

In fact, many donut connoisseurs believe it’s truly the only way to enjoy fresh, tasty, fluffy donuts. Even if you make them once a year, they’re certainly worth the effort.

So, because we know you’re just like us and can’t resist a good donut, we rounded up the 10 most common problems and solutions you may face when making donuts.

Scroll down to learn about which key mistakes you’re better off avoiding and which techniques can help you make the perfect batch of donuts every time.

Let’s get started.

Problem #1: Using Old, Stale Ingredients

According to one study in the Journal of IOPscience, the quality of the ingredients used has a direct effect on the quality of the texture and taste of baked goods. They also affect whether or not yeast rises, which could mean your donuts come out flat and dry.

It’s the same for the flour used in making the donuts, which provides them with the structure they need to keep their shape and texture.

In addition, using low-quality oil o artificial sweeteners can deprive the donuts of their fluffy insides and tender, crispy outsides.

Problem #2: Not Measuring Out the Ingredients Properly

Ask any professional baker and they’ll tell you baking is like a science. It needs to be precise or else the entire recipe will fail, and donuts are no exception.

Even the slightest deviation from the recipe can result in a different outcome. And, unfortunately, most times, it’s not for the better.

To avoid this problem, make sure you always level all the ingredients, both dry and liquid, and never heap. The best way to do this is to invest in a quality set of measuring cups and spoons. A kitchen scale is another tool that skilled bakers recommend for getting even more accurate results.

Problem #3: Undermixing or Overmixing the Dough

The consistency of your dough is vital to producing fluffy, tender donuts.

Not mixing it enough can cause the dough to not hold its shape well. This is because it hasn’t been mixed to its ‘full gluten development stage.’

On the other hand, overmixing the dough can cause it to become too chewy and tough due to excessive gluten development. The end result will be donuts that aren’t moist or fluffy, but dense and unappetizing.

Problem #4: Not Giving the Dough Enough Time to Rise

Another common problem, especially among beginner bakers, is when you don’t allow the dough to rise properly. When you leave the dough in a warm place to rise, the yeast feeds on the sugar, resulting in a scientific process known as fermentation. Through this fermentation process, carbon dioxide gas is produced, which is what makes the dough rise and the donuts come out tasting fluffy and light.

Rushing the rise time isn’t only about getting the dough to its proper volume, but it’s also about allowing the flavors to fully develop. Experts recommend leaving the dough for anywhere between 1 and 2 hours to help boost the overall taste and improve crumb structure.

Problem #5: Uneven Sizing and Shaping of the Donuts

Once the ingredients have been combined and the dough has had time to rise, it’s time to shape your donuts. You may be surprised to know that donuts that aren’t uniformly shaped will result in some pieces being either over- or undercooked.

The solution?

Invest in specialized donut cutters or use plain old cookie cutters to make sure your entire batch is consistent in shape and size.

When professional bakers make donuts, they go to the extremes of using rulers or calipers to measure the thickness of their donuts, resulting in evenly shaped donuts each time.

Problem #6: Overcrowding the Frying Pan

Adding in too many donuts at once will prevent them from cooking evenly. It’ll also lower the temperature of the oil and the donuts will come out greasy and heavy rather than light and tender.

Professional bakers prefer to fry their donuts in small batches. By allowing the donuts to float freely in the oil without overlapping, you’ll be preserving the oil’s temperature and ensuring even cooking throughout.

Problem #7: Not Adjusting the Oil’s Temperature

As we mentioned above, the temperature of the oil will fluctuate with each batch you fry. When you add in the donuts, the temperature will drop slightly. So, you’ll need to raise the heat to maintain the correct frying temperature.

Another thing that makes the temperature of the oil fluctuate is when you leave the frying pan empty for too long. Make sure you have everything nearby and work quickly to avoid the oil from overheating.

Then, before adding a new batch, check the temperature of the oil to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature for frying donuts should be between 350℉ and 375℉.

To accurately measure the temperature every time, you’ll need to look for a reliable deep-fry/candy thermometer at your local grocery store. They’re cheap and easy to use, thanks to the easy-to-read temperature markings and user-friendly clip that makes them stick to the pot.

Problem #8: Not Draining the Excess Oil from the Donuts

We’ll let you in on a little trade secret: bakery donuts are typically drained twice before allowing to cool.

The first time they’re drained from all the excess oil is when they’re placed in a slotted strainer and then placed over the frying pan. Give them a gentle shake every now and then to speed up the process.

The second time is when they’re placed on a cooling rack placed over some paper towels. The rack will ensure they’re not sitting in a puddle of oil before glazing.

By following these steps, you can ensure your donuts won’t come out greasy, but crisp and tender. Draining also allows them to keep tasting fresh for longer.

Problem #9: Not Using Enough Fillings and Flavorings

One of the things most people love about donuts is that they’re easily customizable. You can top them with chocolate ganache, powdered sugar, vanilla icing, sprinkles, cinnamon, and the list goes on and on.

Then, there’s the filling, which can be fruit preserves, cream, or custard.

The problem most newbie bakers make is skimping out on the toppings or using low-grade flavorings, which results in donuts that are tasteless and uneventful.

The easiest way around this problem is to use high-quality extracts, fillings, and spices to enrich the overall eating experience.

For example, using real vanilla essence will add a richer and deeper flavor profile than its synthetic counterpart.

Problem #10: Neglecting to Add Garnish

The final problem has more to do with the visual appeal of your baked goods than the actual taste. But it’s just as important because ignoring how you present your donuts can impact the entire eating experience, even if they’re the best-tasting donuts you’ve ever made!

The science behind this phenomenon is that visual cues have a direct effect on our perception of taste, as was discovered through research carried out at the Institute of Food Technologists. Yet, this isn’t a new concept. The 1st-century Roman gourmand, Apicius, is believed to have coined the phrase, “We eat first with our eyes.”

So, what to do? You can work on perfecting your presentation skills by sprinkling powdered sugar on the plate before placing the donuts.

You can also transform your donuts from satisfactory to outstanding by garnishing them with colorful sprinkles, glazes, or edible decorations.

Final Thoughts

The next time you get a hankering to make some tender, delicious donuts, this handy troubleshooting guide will help you avoid any unnecessary blunders.

By following the tips and techniques found here, your venture into the world of donut-making is sure to be both rewarding and highly enjoyable.

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