Brioche doughnuts

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I fell in love with doughnuts at a gas station somewhere off the autobahn in Germany. Karan (my ex-boyfriend/husband), Mike(our friend) and I were driving to Switzerland from Paris for a music festival. We had rented the world's teeniest car which was powder blue in colour and stinking cute but could barely fit the three of us. I am the shortest so was stuffed in the back along with the luggage while the two 6 feet tall boys climbed in the front with their long limbs folded at awkward angles. Needless to say we were the slowest car on the autobahn and soon need to make a stop just to stretch. While the boys used the loo, I grabbed an espresso and a box of pfannkuchen from a vending machine(seriously, i haven't eaten vending machine food since college) because it sounded super cute and I was intrigued. I found a sunny spot and opened the box to find three medium sized doughnut holes rolled in sugar looking rather delicious. I was a bit disappointed because not a doughnut fan but I took a tentative bite because I wasn't about to waste 5 euros. To my surprise, this was unlike any doughnut I had eaten in America which always tasted really sweet, doughy and dense. These doughnut holes were sublime with a rich, slightly sweet, yeasty dough filled with a tart plum jam that melted in my mouth.  Mike and Karan came back to find me covered in a thin layer of sugar and running back to the vending machine for another box.

I didn't know back then that Germans take baking very, very seriously. And doughnut is a favourite. Its tradition to eat doughnuts on new year's eve to mark start the year on a sweet note and it's common practical joke to hide a mustard filled doughnut among the delicious jelly ones.

These doughnuts are my riff on the German ones I tasted a few years back. I used a brioche dough and filled it with a plum jam that we sell at Sustenance which is gently spiced with cinnamon and cloves. We shared these in the kitchen during coffee break and for the first time in the day, every member of my team shut up and went for seconds. Give these a go and you will never go back for a store bought one.


Brioche doughnuts

- Recipe fromChef Sim Cass ,Institute of Culinary Education.

  • All purpose flour   910 gm
  • butter        225 gm
  • eggs        450 gm
  • milk        155 gm
  • salt           14gm
  • sugar       55 gm
  • SAF GOLD yeast   14 gm
  • Plum jam for filling (or any jam of your choice)- 120 gm
  • Caster sugar- 100 gm (to roll the doughnuts in)

Method

  1. Combine milk and yeast in a mixing bowl and whisk. Let it sit for 5 minutes till the yeast is activated and bubbles form on the surface of milk.
  2. Add eggs, salt, sugar and flour to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes with a dough hook attachment. Then mix on high speed for 3 minutes.
  3. Cut really cold butter in small cubes. Keep it in the fridge if it starts to melt. Butter has to be really cold before you incorporate into the dough.
  4. Add butter slowly into the dough while the dough continues to mix. Mix for 12-15 minutes and near the end, scrape down the sides.
  5. Scrape dough into a a bowl that has been oiled lightly and cover it with plastic wrap.
  6. Allow the dough to sit for an hour at room temperature. 
  7. Refrigerate dough overnight.
  8. Next day, remove dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  9. Lightly flour your work surface. Cut brioche into 80 or 100 gm pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle then fold the edges to the centre. Flip it over and gently roll it into a ball. Repeat till you have 12- 14 doughnuts. Gently transfer the rounds to a parchment lined baking sheet with about 1 inch of space between them. 
  10. Lightly cover the brioche with plastic wrap and let the dough proof for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  11. Heat about 2 L of vegetable or canola oil in a very large saucepan or soup pot to 185 C. Once the oil has reached the correct temperature, start frying the doughnuts one or two at a time. Fry each side for about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the oil and let cool on a wire rack. 
  12. Dip the doughnuts into sugar and roll it around to cover both sides.
  13.  Transfer the jam you are using to a piping bag fitted with a small circular tip. Poke a small hole in the side of the doughnut and insert the piping tip. Pipe the jam into the doughnut until you feel a little bit of resistance. When you remove the piping tip, the jam should come out a little. Serve immediately.
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