Sunday, December 16, 2018

Babes Bake Donuts For December

Every month on the 16th the Bread Baking Babes bake a different bread for your enjoyment. This month I'm the Kitchen of the Month, which means that I was able to choose the bread we bake.

December is always a busy month, so I chose something that is tasty but not too time-consuming. When I saw this recipe for baked currant donuts in the Food and Wine seasonal magazine it seemed like it fit the bill. I love anything with currants and this donut is baked! It's from a yeast dough, so you do need to allow time for rising, but hands-on time is pretty brief.

I have never made baked yeasted doughnuts so that was a big part of the appeal. With the granulated sugar coating they also look sort of chilly or covered with frost...seasonal. This is an enriched dough with butter, eggs, and milk so they are quite delicious and rich, which is perfect for a celebratory time of year.

You can use a different dried fruit instead of or in addition to currants, you can play around with the flour and how you treat them once they are baked, but do make them as baked donuts, preferably with holes.

I made them over two days, mostly to fit in with my busy schedule. Holding the dough overnight after the first rise didn't seem to harm it at all, nor did it make it more sour since it was only for about 12 hours.

I found the dough to be just a bit too hydrated, so I added about a half cup additional all-purpose flour. Of course I didn't use butter, either, so my margarine could have had more water in it than real butter.

Allow plenty of time for making the dough, especially when it's time to add the walnut sized pieces of takes a while on low speed to incorporate those pieces. Rising time is a little over three hours, too. If you do as a traditional baker does and begin at 3 or 4 am these could be ready by breakfast!

These make soft, tender doughnuts with just a touch of spice. The currants and spices remind me of hot cross buns, but the texture is very different than the ones I've made...much more tender with a fairly open crumb.

Hope that you enjoy these between now and December 29th...which will get here sooner than you think. If you do, send me an email at plachman at sonic dot net along with a photo and your baking experience and I'll include you in the Buddy post, plus send you a gorgeous Buddy Badge designed by Elizabeth.

Do check out the donuts of my sister Bread Baking Babes, too!

XO, Elle

Baked Currant Doughnuts
adapted from a recipe by Robert Jorin, of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY

1 cup dried currants
1 quarter oz. (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour (I added about another 1/2 cup in 1 tablespoon increments)
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted butter (I used margarine for both)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Canola or other vegetable oil, for greasing (I used foil to line one pan and parchment paper the other and was able to skip greasing)

In a medium bowl, cover currants with hot water and let stand until softened, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir yeast with 2 tablespoons warm water and a pinch of sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon with 1/4 cup of sugar. Add milk, egg, egg yolk and half of softened butter; beat at low speed for 3 minutes. Beat in yeast mixture, then add salt. Beat dough at medium speed until soft and silky, about 8 minutes; the dough should pull cleanly away from bowl.

With machine on, add remaining softened butter to dough in walnut-sized lumps, beating at low speed between additions until incorporated.

Drain currents, pressing out any excess water. Add to dough and beat in at low speed.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl, turn to coat dough with grease. Cover and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Punch dough down, form into a ball, and return to bowl. Cover and let stand until billowy, 1 hour.

Grease two large baking sheets. (Or line with parchment or foil.) Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface & cut it into 12 equal pieces. Pinch each piece into a ball and arrange six balls on each prepared baking sheet, smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.

Using lightly floured hands, press each ball into a flat 4-inch disc. Using a 1 1/4-inch round cutter stamp out center of each disc. Return holes to baking sheets. There will be six donuts and six donut holes on each sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour, until risen slightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake donuts and holes for 25 minutes, shifting pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time. Donuts are done when they are golden and puffy and when the internal temperature at thickest part registers 200 degrees F.

Spread sugar in a shallow bowl. Brush hot donuts and holes on both sides with melted butter and dredge them in sugar. Transfer to a serving dish and serve at once.

Thanks to Elizabeth we also have measurements:

1 cup dried currants [144gm]
1 quarter oz. (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast [7gm]
2 tablespoons warm water [30gm]
[1/4 cup] granulated sugar [50gm]
3 cups all-purpose flour (I added about another 1/2 cup in 1 tablespoon increments) [375gm + 63gm]
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg [scant 2gm]
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon [scant 1gm]
3/4 cup milk, warmed [173gm]
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk [50gm + 17gm]
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted butter (I used margarine for both) [114gm + 60gm]
2 teaspoons kosher salt [6, 7.5, 10, or 11gm - depending on which kind of kosher salt is used]
Canola or other vegetable oil, for greasing (I used foil to line one pan and parchment paper the other and was able to skip greasing)

About salt:
Scroll down on this page shows the various weights for different salt

Real Salt Kosher Salt 2tsp = 11gm 
Morton's Kosher Salt 2tsp = 10gm
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 2tsp = 7.5gm

I'm thinking that 6gm or 7.5gm makes the most sense for a 1.6%-2% Baker's percentage of salt. I'll probably use 8gm if I up the amount of flour the way that Elle did.


  1. Thanks for a great recipe! We've been enjoying these all week.

  2. Your donuts look fluffier than mine, but I still enjoyed making (and) eating them! Thank you for choosing a unique twist on a theme for the December bake.

  3. These were very tasty! Thanks for the pick, I love having a good baked donut in my repertoire. I liked how they turned out when I sprayed with coconut oil before baking, just a touch softer, so I will do that in future. And want to try out that cranberry orange version too! :)

  4. We LOVED these, Elle. Many thanks for making us bake them. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I especially like that they taste just like really good doughnuts should, and yet they haven't been deep-fried. Fantastic.

  5. I think you chose a hit! And most of the Babes almost made the same thing!!!
    Yours look gorgeous!