There’s this term, ‘First World Problems’, that’s been floating around for a while. Seemingly trivial issues that at that moment, feel like the end of our world as we know it.
Can I just say, yeast inexplicably refusing to dissolve and construction workers sending paint dust flying all over my precious donuts, need to go right at the TOP of that list.
Because on Sunday afternoon, I really did think someone out there really didn’t like me. NOTHING would go right!! However, where there’s a dough, there’s a way.
I present to you, cinnamon sugar donuts that basically say “first world problems, in your FACE!”
The night before I made these donuts, I used the very same packet of yeast to make a pizza base and it worked perfectly. Dissolved, foamed, all of that jazz. And the next day when I set out to make these little guys, BOOM. The yeast did not move. Just stayed there and after about a year, dissolved a bit, a tiny bit. Like it was doing me a favour. The water temperature was right, it was a new packet of yeast. I have no idea what went wrong. Any suggestions at all, will be awesome.
In the end, after staring helplessly at the bowl of yeast, sugar and water, I microwaved it for a few seconds just to see what happened, it bubbled a bit and then went quiet again. I could have stopped right there, put all the ingredients back where they came from and baked something else, or sat in a corner, moaning about my first world problems. I did neither. I took a leap of faith and used the very slightly dissolved yeast anyway. I honestly have no clue how, but the donuts turned out fabulous. Even better than these barley ones. Soft, fluffy and just amazing.
The reason I just shared this very weird story, is because working with yeast is scary for me. And I know I’m not the only one. It worked fine when I made these rolls and this bread. But sometimes, bizarre things happen. It’s raining here now and the humidity’s worsened though the temperature is lower. Maybe that? The point is, if you find yourself in this kind of situation, take a chance. It might just work.
Then I tried taking photographs. Oh boy. I had to scuttle back into the house in about 30 seconds because of all the work going on in our building and the unavoidable dust flying absolutely everywhere. I stalked my balcony for a bit waiting for the dust to settle and then I did the best I could.
It’s just amazing how so many of my blog posts have some sort of disaster attached to them.
But the good part. Finally! These donuts were topped two ways: cinnamon sugar like the original recipe, and coloured cream-cheese and sprinkles. Because, why not? I’ll share the cream cheese version in the next post. Both kinds deserve the spotlight 🙂
I made some changes to the recipe and omitted a couple of things I didn’t have, but weren’t integral. These yeast based donuts definitely turn out way better than non-yeast donuts. Closer to the fried Krispy Kremes that I would sell my soul for. Their fluffiness will amaze you, even if you do have a yeast disaster like I did. The recipe makes 12 donuts and I made them in two batches but even with the yeast, the dough remained just fine while the first batch cooked. Be brave, try them!
What you’ll need:
2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tbsps warm, not hot, water
2 cups flour (barley flour doesn’t hold its structure as well, I discovered the last time I made donuts)
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt, if using unsalted butter
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly plus about 4 more tablespoons for greasing and dipping later
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
2 tsps cinnamon
What to do:
1. In a small bowl, stir water, yeast, and ¼ cup sugar together. Let the yeast sit for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy.
2. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Place a donut pan in the oven while it preheats. This gives a crispy crust to the donuts.
2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt, if using. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir together butter and yogurt until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla; stir until combined.
4. Stir in yeast mixture and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and mix until well-combined.
5. Add the flour mixture, and stir until just incorporated. The batter will be on the thicker side, more like a dough.
6. Remove the hot donut pan from the oven, smear a few drops of butter into each mould, with a brush if you have it, or a small spoon, removing any excess. Spoon the batter into the moulds, smoothening and levelling as much as you can. There might be a few bumps even after baking, that’s ok. I dipped the bottom of each into the topping because that was perfectly smooth.
7. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until set and light golden brown. Donuts should spring back when lightly touched.
8. While the donuts are baking, stir together sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
9. Un-mould the hot donuts, dip bottom-side down into the remaining melted butter and dip immediately into the cinnamon sugar mixture. I only dipped one side, I didn’t want the entire donut covered because the cinnamon I have is strong. Feel free to smother each one, making sure you have more cinnamon-sugar and more melted butter.