There are many, many baked and fried goods that people love. In fact, there are enough of these that baking is its own separate category of cooking.
If you are interested in baking, then there’s a good chance that you will end up looking at recipes for some of the most common favorite baked goods out there.
However, as with many things in the cooking world, there will always be the chance that something goes wrong. It could be that you accidentally measured out the wrong amount of ingredients and your cookies aren’t rising as they should.
It could also be that you began making the dough for your food, but as soon as you were ready to place the dough on the pan, you realized that you don’t have the tools to make the shapes that you want.
When most people think about cutting shapes into dough, they often think about cookies and cookie cutters. However, there are many, many more baked goods that rely on being a certain traditional shape to be recognizable. One common example of this is the donut.
Just about everyone knows what donuts look like, with their circular appearance and the classic hole in the middle that you can use the leftover dough from to make another separate dessert. If you are in the mood to cook donuts but you realize partway through that you do not have a classic donut cutter, you might feel at a loss as to what you should do.
Thankfully, there are plenty of different ways that you can create the classic donut that everyone knows and loves, even if you do not have a specialized cutter for it.
In fact, if you really want to take things to another creative level, while still retaining a standard donut texture and taste, you can even consider cutting the donut into another shape.
Not only can this be fun for the whole family, but it can also add a personal flair to your donuts to separate them from the rest of the crowd.
Creating a Standard Donut Shape
First things first, you are likely going to want to try and keep your donuts looking as close to the standard donut as you can before turning to other shapes and creations.
With that being said, it is pretty easy to cut donuts without a donut cutter. All you will really need is two circular ends, with a relatively sharp edge to cut the dough with, and with one being notably larger than the other.
There’s a very good chance that you will have the materials in your kitchen already, you may just have to do some scouring, measuring, and cleaning to prepare them for use.
Before you begin rummaging through cupboards and shelves, you will want to think about how thick you want your donuts to be. Cutting a donut without the typical cutter means that you are going to need two instruments to cut with.
You will need one to cut the round donut shape out of the dough you already have, and you will need a second, smaller instrument to cut out the donut hole.
You will also need to decide if you want to use something that already has a sharp edge, or a tapered edge that you can press down, or if you want to cut out the dough with a knife. It can be hard to find circular objects that have sharp edges in the kitchen, but they are far easier to use for cutting the dough if you are able to find them.
Likewise, cutting the dough out with a knife is going to be a little bit more work, but it is also something that just about everyone can do, as most people have knives in their kitchens.
If you want to try and find something that will work with a minimal amount of effort, the two things that you will want to look for include a biscuit cutter and a pastry frosting tip. Biscuit cutters are often slightly smaller than a typical donut, but it will cut through the dough easily and it will produce a circular shape that is similar to your usual donut.
Pastry frosting tips are what you often put onto the end of a frosting bag to help frost pastries. While there are different shapes, sizes, and styles, just about all of them will have a circular end where it connects to the frosting bag.
This larger end, in comparison with the biscuit cutter, will usually produce a good donut without needing any extra work, such as cutting around the edge of a cup.
Unfortunately, not everyone will have these in their kitchen, especially if you are not an avid baker who has countless baking utensils and accessories. If you are unable to find these, you may have to resort to using a knife and cutting around the edge of other circular objects.
For instance, you could consider using a large glass (the open end) to create the first hole that will be the donut. Then you could use a shot glass to cut out the center piece of the donut to allow the oil to help cook it through and produce that donut shape that everyone knows and loves.
This may take a little bit of finesse to properly cut the shot glass hole, but it will produce your typical circular donut.
With this method, keep in mind that you should try and keep the same proportions as a standard donut cutter would when creating the hole of the donut. If you make the center hole too big, you could end up with a thin donut that looks a lot more like an onion ring than a baked dessert.
If you make the center hole too small, then the hole could close up, leaving the center of the donut not entirely cooked, which is something that nobody wants to have happen.
If you have cans from canned vegetables (or fruits), you can also clean and use these. The sharp, thin edge from the opened can will work well by cutting through the dough, and it should be easy enough to find a small, circular object to cut the center hole of the donut.
Depending on the size of the donut, you can even use the cap off a water bottle or the top of a wine bottle.
In a worst-case scenario, where you find yourself without any adequately sized glasses to use to cut out the donut, and you don’t have any other circular baking utensils that you can use to stencil out a circle, and you still want the donut to have a typical donut shape, you can print out a paper template of a donut.
This is certainly not an ideal way to cut your donut dough, but when worst comes to worse, it will provide a good proportioned donut, without you needing to dirty any other kitchen utensils besides a knife.
You will have to be careful not to put too much pressure onto the dough when you are cutting it and the stencil though, as this can affect the way the dough will cook.
Cutting Non-Standard Donuts
While circular donuts with a circular hole in the middle are, by far, the most popular kind of donut that people like to eat, there is nothing saying that all donuts have to be this shape. There are plenty of other donut types that do not use this shape.
For instance, there are crème-filled donuts, which use the same original shape of a donut, but do not have a hole in the middle. There are also bar-shaped donuts, which as you may expect, are generally rectangular in shape and a little bit thinner than your average donut.
With this being said, unless you are specifically looking to make traditional standard donuts, you do not have to use circular cutting utensils to cut the donuts out of the dough.
If you are looking to make bar donuts, you can use just about anything that is rectangular. There are many more rectangular cutting edges than circular, and even if you do not have a cutting utensil that is rectangular, it is much easier to cut a rectangle out with a knife than it is to cut out a circle.
You can also apply this same pattern of thinking to square donuts, with or without the hole in them.
Keep in mind that if you are altering the amount of dough that is going to go into each donut, including the shape of the dough, it would be prudent to check and make sure that you adjust the cooking time and additions appropriately. The last thing anyone wants to have happen is, after making substitutions for the donut’s shape, they end up over or undercooking and the effort you put into them was lost.
More often than not, you do not have to make any major adjustments to the cooking process unless you drastically change the amount of dough you are using.
In the end, it will be easier than you might imagine to create the perfect donuts, even if you don’t have a donut cutter specifically.
Whether you are looking to create something unique and different to share with friends and family, or you want to stick with a standard donut that nobody would know was cut with something other than a donut cutter, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to cut your donuts one way or another.
Now that you’ve figured out how you are going to make your donuts, make sure that you know how to store them for maximum freshness.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.