- Yield: 8 doughnuts
- 3 tablespoons 3½ cups (518 grams) All-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) Instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons (74 grams) Granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) Kosher salt
- 1½ tablespoons ¾ cup (212 grams) Whole milk at 75°F/23.8°C
- 3 tablespoons ¼ cup (111 grams) Eggs
- 1½ teaspoons (9 grams) Vanilla paste
- 2 ounces (5 grams) Unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature
- Canola oil for deep-frying
- 1½ cups (300 grams) Vanilla sugar
How to Make It
For the dough
- Dust the surface with flour and spray a large bowl with nonstick spray.
- Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix for about 15 seconds to distribute the yeast evenly. Add all of the remaining dough ingredients, except the butter, and mix on low speed for 4 minutes to incorporate. Continue to mix on low speed for 30 minutes. (At this point there will be some dough sticking to the sides of the bowl.) Add the butter a few pieces at a time, incorporating each addition before adding the next. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and push the dough off the hook. Continue to mix for 5 minutes.
- Run a bowl scraper around the sides and bottom of the bowl to release the dough and turn it out onto the work surface, adding flour only as needed to keep it from sticking. With your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape; the dough will be sticky.
- Stretch the left side of the dough out and fold it over two-thirds of the dough, then stretch and fold it from the right side to the opposite side, as if you were folding a letter. Repeat the process, working from the bottom and then the top. Turn the dough over, lift it up with a bench scraper, and place it seam side down in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Use the bowl scraper to release the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently but firmly pat the dough into a rectangle, pressing any large bubbles to the edges and then out of the dough. Repeat the stretching and folding process, then return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Dough for filled doughnuts will be made through this point. To roll out the dough and shape the doughnuts
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough, flipping and fluffing it, into an 11-inch round. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or freeze for about 10 minutes, until the dough is firm enough to cut.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with nonstick spray.
- Using the 3¼-inch cutter, cut 8 rounds from the dough, then cut holes in the centers with the 1½-inch cutter. Brush off any excess flour and place on the prepared pan. The holes can be proofed and fried, or discarded. To proof the doughnuts
- Cover the baking sheet with a plastic tub or a cardboard box and proof for 1 to 1½ hours, until the doughnuts have about doubled in size; when the dough is delicately pressed with a finger, the impression should remain. To fry the doughnuts
- Pour 3 inches of oil into a Dutch oven or a heavy stockpot; ideally, the oil should come no more than one-third of the way up the sides of the pot, but it should be deep enough to allow the doughnuts to float freely. Heat the oil to 350°F/177°C.
- Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Pour the vanilla sugar into a large shallow bowl. Gently lower 4 doughnuts into the oil and fry for 30 seconds, without moving the doughnuts, to allow the dough to set; adjust the heat as needed to maintain the temperature. Flip the doughnuts over and fry on the second side for 45 seconds. Flip them over again and fry for 45 seconds, or until they are a rich golden brown. Transfer the doughnuts to the rack and cool while you cook the second batch. Just before you transfer the second batch to the rack, toss the first batch in the sugar, coating them on all sides, then transfer to a serving plate or platter. Let the second batch cool and then coat them with the sugar.
- The doughnuts are best the day they are fried, but they can be stored in a covered container for up to 1 day.