2 hours 5 minutes
Glazed, cinnamon sugar, filled... whatever you like... you can do it!
250gm warm milk
8gm instant yeast
400gm plain/bread flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
FOR THE PRE-FERMENT
In a medium bowl, place half yeast and 3/4 cup of warm milk. Add 3/4 cup of the flour and stir well. Cover with cling film and place in a warm area to rest for 30 minutes.
FOR THE DOUGH:
After the 30 minutes is up, add the remaining milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the pre-ferment along with the vanilla and egg yolks. Mix until smooth.
Add an additional 1 cup of flour with the sugar and salt. Mix on low until the dough starts to come together. Add the butter and mix until it becomes incorporated.
Add more flour (about 1/4 cup at a time) kneading the dough in between. Mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. (You may not need all flour just keep kneading and build more gluten)
Scrape off and remove the dough hook. Cover the bowl let it sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. Gently knock out the air (degass) from the dough, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 12 hours).The reason is that the longer the proof, the more flavour and also easier the donuts will be to digest.
Line a tray with baking paper and sprinkle with a little flour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1.5cm (~1/2 inch) thick. With a donut or cookie cutter, cut out 8cm (~3-inch) diameter rounds with 2.5cm (1-inch) diameter holes (for filled donuts, don’t cut out the holes).
Place the donuts on the baking sheet a few centimetres apart and cover loosely with cling wrap. Let sit in a warm spot to proof until they almost double in size, about 30 to 40 minutes, testing at 5-minute intervals.
To test the dough: touch lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it has overproofed; you can punch it down and reroll it once.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pot with at least 5cm (2 inches) of oil until a thermometer registers 180˚C/360˚F.
Carefully place the donuts in the oil using a spatula (metal). Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before filling or glazing.