Hanukkah will soon be upon us, which means it’s doughnut time!! I always make apple cider doughnuts, because I love them so much. And I love them so much because I rarely make them, so I yearn for what I don’t make that often. That way, they become a REAL treat.

This year I came upon a recipe in Food and Wine magazine by the owners of Curiosity Doughnuts that uses a Japanese technique to make the dough. The technique is traditionally used to make bread dough that bakes up light and fluffy. When I read through the doughnut recipe, I decided I am all for doughnuts that are described as “light and fluffy”, and I decided to give the recipe a whirl.

The technique is called tangzhong. To make a dough that uses this special method you first make a dough on the stovetop combining water and flour. The idea here is that the flour can absorb a hot liquid like water much more readily than if it were cold. This creates a dough-like blob that once incorporated into a dough will create lots of steam as the doughnuts are fried. The steam not only leavens the dough, but forms a light and fluffy texture. The steam formed within the dough is trapped due to the increase in gluten development from the extra water being absorbed. This increases the structure of the dough, helping the moisture to stay inside the doughnuts as they fry, creating those two lovely adjectives- light and fluffy!

For my doughnut dough, instead of water, I used apple cider, which is water based, and a little butter. Once it was cooked (it only took a minute or two) the dough was allowed to cool. I then incorporated it with some cream, sugar, eggs and chemical leaveners to get a nice, yet sticky dough.

The dough is now in my fridge, chilling on a sheet pan, until I am ready to cut the doughnut shapes out and fry them. I know it’s silly, after all, they are only doughnuts, but I am giddy as a school girl to try this technique.

In a few days, once they are made, I will post some pictures and observations and let you know how they turned out.  I am so excited!

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail