Mix the flour, instant yeast, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
Add warm milk mixed with vanilla essence to the above.
Bring the dough together.
Add the melted butter.
Knead the dough for 10 mins (or until it becomes smooth , non sticky and elastic).
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow the dough to double in size (1st proofing). This may take anywhere close to 45 mins to one hour depending on the room temperature.
Punch the dough down and knead for a minute before transferring it to a clean counter lightly dusted with flour.
Roll out the dough (about 1/2 inch thick).
Cut with a sharp round cookie cutter and use a smaller one to cut out the donut holes. You can use a donut cutter too.
Place the shaped donut rings on a baking tray lined with parchment. Set aside for 20 minutes to half an hour for the second proofing.
Cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying.
Heat oil in a large wok. Add a tiny pinch of the dough to test it’s readiness. If the piece of dough immediately floats to the top, the temperature is perfect for frying the donuts.
(Keep the heat on low to medium to maintain the temperature of the oil)
Fry the donuts until they are golden brown on both sides.
Alternatively you may choose to bake these too.
Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees C.
After the second proofing bake the donuts in the pre heated oven at 170 degrees C for 15-20 minutes. (Brush the top with milk / egg wash before baking)
Roll the warm doughnuts in cinnamon sugar or drizzle a generous quantity of chocolate ganache. Or really get creative and use any of your favourite fillings.
These taste best when served warm and fresh. Store them in an airtight container once completely cool.
If planning to serve later, store the ‘plain donuts’ in an airtight container once completely cooled.
These donuts are not too sweet. If you prefer it to be sweeter you may increase the quantity of sugar in the recipe.
I have used instant yeast, which can be directly added to the flour. In case you use active dry yeast, mix it with a little warm milk and sugar and allow it to become ”frothy”. Once activated add it to the flour. Follow the rest of the steps as mentioned.
The milk should be warm enough for you to be able to dip your finger in it comfortably. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast and our dough will not rise.
I wanted to bake half the batch but a power cut ruined my plan. The baked version tastes just as good. The pictures above are of the fried donuts I made this time. If baking, do place the shaped donuts a little away from each other so that they don’t end up sticking while rising / baking. The oven temperature and time may vary. Please keep an eye on the donuts and bake until they are light golden in colour.