Baked Doughnuts

Baked Doughnuts Recipe

Mention the concept of a baked doughnut to any self-professed doughnut connoisseur, chances are you'll take some heat. The idea that a baked doughnut can match up to its deep-fried brethren is laughable in some circles. I'll concede they aren't the same, but baked doughnuts can be just as delicious - delicious yet different. They get bonus points for being healthier and for not making the house smell like a greasy fry station.

I spent the better part of Sunday trying to get the dough for these yeasted baked doughnuts right. Broadly speaking, if you can make pizza dough, you can make these. The process is very similar. I looked at a broad cross-section of recipes as inspiration and tried to settle on a ratio of sugar to egg to flour to yeast and salt that would yield a tender, slightly sweet, delicious, pillowy doughnut when baked.

Many recipes call for water as the base liquid, I opted for milk. I like the softness of the milk-based rolls I've made in the past -  and you can feel free to experiment with alternative milks. I baked batches at 375F, 400F, and 425F. On the higher end of the spectrum the bottoms browned too fast. I settled on 375F and a slightly longer time in the oven.

You can glaze these the way you would any other doughnut, but because I knew these were going to be at their pinnacle of taste minutes after coming out of the oven, I opted for a simple, classic, sugar dusting.

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Baked Doughnuts

3.75 from 4 votes

Don't over bake these, if anything, under bake them a bit - they will continue baking outside the oven for a few minutes. You want an interior that is moist and tender - not dry. Also, be sure to cut big enough holes in the center of your doughnuts - too small and they will bake entirely shut. Remember they rise, and they rise even more when they are baking. These really need to be made-to-order, but you can make and shape the dough the night before if you want to serve them for brunch. Instructions: after shaping, place doughnuts on baking sheet, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Pull them out an hour before baking, and let rise in a warm place before baking.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (alternately, white whole wheat might work - haven't tried it yet)
  • A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Be sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt - just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. This is where you are going to need to make adjustments - if your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.
  2. Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place (I turn on the oven at this point and set the bowl on top), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
  3. Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Most people (like myself) don't have a doughnut cutter, instead I use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  4. Bake in a 375F degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes - start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

  5. Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately if not sooner.
Notes

Makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen medium doughnuts.

Serves
18
Prep Time
55 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Wow! I'm totally hooked on your site now, given that those donuts were the first thing I saw!

    Dylan Duarte
  • I like the new layout, too! And I'm very happy that you seem to have realised the perfect Pan de Muerto in this recipe. (I know, I know, they're baked doughnuts, but my first thought was: "Pan de Muerto like I remember it!") I want to make these for Day of the Dead -- I wonder if they would hold up in bone shapes...

    Madeline
  • Wow, what beautiful doughnuts. Simple but delicious! The lemon glaze sounds lovely -- or maybe fresh raspberry? I may have to make a batch this weekend and try the freezing suggestion. I imagine that if you let them thaw in the fridge and then raise for an hour like usual before baking, they should work just fine.

    Amy
  • your timing is perfect! and the doughnuts look amazing! i just tried the most incredible doughnut muffin and i was going to research how to make that and then i cam across your recipe. i am going to try that along with a few other recipes to see what works best. thanks!

    aj
  • This recipe looks fabulous; just perfect for my doughtnut-loving partner with a cholesterol problem! Would it be possible, do you think, to mix the dough by hand? (I must be one of the few cooks on earth without a dough hook attachment . . . )

    nicola
  • This donut recipe sounds miraculous, particularly for those of us who can't/won't eat the deep-fried variety any longer (and that after growing up with a Krispy Kreme right around the corner from my GA home).

    Ann
  • I'm endlessly inspired by your beautiful and delicious creations. Love the new design. Can't wait to try these luscious donuts. I'm a donut addict! Thanks!

    Allison
  • This looks delicious and a healthier alternative! I love the photo too!

    Marc
  • Those are the best looking doughnuts I have ever seen! Wow!

    Kristen
  • I love the idea of baked donuts, and I am really happy you have posted this recipe. I have only once tried to make donuts, and they did not turn out very nice at all. I hate deep-frying so I will definitely give these a go on the weekend. Thank you!

    Cal
  • About the previous/next feature - I really did like it. I didn't use it much, but if I had been out of town or just crazy busy and had not visited for a week or two, I would click through to see how many postings I had missed.

    Jeremy
  • The recipe sounds wonderful! I'll have to try it when I visit my fiancee at the end of the month; I'd like to make some sweet-but-healthy (well, healthier :) things for us and this looks like it'll fit the bill nicely.

    Trinity
  • This is wonderful, Heidi! I bought a mini doughnut baking tray last month (well, it looked cute and it was cheap), and I was about to search for baked doughnut recipes. No need now:)

    Pille
  • Heidi, I have to say your site always inspires me with new ideas and new twists for familiar recipes. Really like the redesign and I can't wait to see the new book. I wonder how cardamom instead of nutmeg and a chai flavored sugar instead of cinnamon sugar would work - I'm not a big fan of chai usually, but several friends are ardent fans and I'm starting to play around with those flavors.

    Jeremy
  • Everything about these are great! And - Love the new look....:)

    Chris
  • Meant to say thanks for the printer friendly recipe button. Love it! Thanks.

    Joyce
  • Heidi: These doughnuts look fantastic! I hope your new cookbook does well!

    Jennifer A. Wickes
  • This recipe feels a lot like the Finnish twice rised sweet yeast bun "pulla". You would just replace the nutmeg with cardamon and skip the sugar coating - and voila! Finnish traditinal pulla! :)

    Emma
  • It's really funny, but I happened to ask my business/life partner (who is also a professional chef) if he could concoct a recipe for baked doughnuts. Normally, he gets annoyed with me when I ask him these questions because he is not a pastry chef. But I did anyway because he and I are anti-frying-in-the-house. For once, he responded with a look that sort of said, "Now that's an idea!" Looks like you beat him to the punch. My hat is off to you! Keep it up with the updates!

    Cynthia
  • Heidi, Big fan of the site and I love the redesign! I have a request -- a smaller batch of doughnuts! These sound delicious, but I can't make a full batch just for my husband and me...Do you think the dough would last in the fridge for a couple days or no? (And I know I could just invite people over, but my apartment is tiny and what if I screw up the recipe? Then I'm embarrassed in front of all my friends. It's a hard life I lead.) I have tried halving recipes in the past with mixed (usually bad) results. Please help!

    Beth
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