Happy Donut Dress Up Day, also known in Germany as Fastnacht! Okay, no one calls it Donut Dress Up Day, but really that’s what it is.
Children and adults run around in costumes and stuff their faces with fried food. There’s a parade and a whole lotta crazy, freaky masks. We went the first year, and that was enough for me.
I also must admit I’m not much of a donut lover. The greasy sponge of choice here is the Berliner, a jelly-filled type dusted with powdered sugar. I just can’t bring myself to indulge. Squishy fillings completely creep me out.
But donut holes? Covered in spiced up sugar? And whole grain? Well, I am ALL over that. And since Germany isn’t really into the whole grain donut thing, I’ll have to whip some up myself.
Given my laughably miniscule amount of free time, I prefer to use the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day doughs whenever possible. The recipes are simple, and there’s no kneading or other complicated professional baker type stuff.
I own both books, but my copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day is resting comfortably in a friend’s kitchen on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Thankfully, I had a few notes scribbled on a random piece of paper as to how to make these delightful dough balls.
If you don’t have the book, you can find the recipe and directions for mixing up Whole Wheat Brioche dough here.
Just a heads up for those with will power issues… The recipe makes a LOT of dough. One quarter of the recipe should yield about sixteen donut holes. I had my two best eating machines around to make sure that none went to waste (or to my waist). If you decide to make the whole batch of dough – consider yourself warned!
Because my boys are home from school for a few days this week, I had my kitchen-crazy five year-old help me make the donuts. Just a little heads up if you do the same.. he did an awesome job fishing the finished donuts out of the pot. Plopping the dough circles into the hot-enough-to-send-you-to-the-ER-if-you-get-splashed-the-wrong-way vat of oil? Eh, not so much.
Start with your dry ingredients; I used whole spelt flour instead of white whole wheat. Salt, yeast, and vital wheat gluten round out the mix. (Vital wheat gluten can be found at health food stores or in nice care packages from your brother.)
Meanwhile, get some good old-fashioned white sugar out and spice it up. The recipe in the book calls for one half cup of sugar plus 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cardamom, and 1/4 tsp cloves. I subbed nutmeg for the cardamom and upped the cinnamon ’cause I seem to be completely unable to follow a recipe from start to finish without changing a single thing.
When your moody dough is ready, turn it out on a flour-covered surface. Flatten it using your hands or a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Any thicker and the donuts will not cook all the way through. Using a small circular biscuit cutter, cut out your donut holes.
Carefully drop two or three dough blobs in the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip over using a spider. Fry for an additional minute or two, and then remove (again with the arachnid on a handle) to a paper towel-covered plate.
Have leftover dough? Make this super cute Valentine’s Day bread with the rest of your brioche. Enjoy!