Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Yes really! Your very own doughnuts. These are a tiny bit of an effort what with the yeast and letting them rise and everything, but well worth it.

When I do them again, I'm going to make them really small, as if I were a giant holding a normal-sized doughnut and give them to people with coffee after dinner with dipping sauces of warm jam or melted chocolate. I'll also be experimenting with different glazes, but for now, I just rolled mine in sugar and tried not to eat all 8 of them at once.

Nigel Slater's cinnamon doughnuts
makes 8

250g plain flour
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
big pinch of salt
20g butter, cut into cubes
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
150ml milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk

1 Put the flour, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and then rub in the cubed butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles crumbs, then sprinkle over the yeast. Give the whole thing a stir with a whisk

2 Heat the milk and sugar together until it's just warm. If you get overexcited and get this actually hot let it cool before you ...

3 ... stir in the egg yolk otherwise it's scrambled eggs time.

4 Stir this into the flour, a sploosh at a time. There is too much liquid here so don't do what I did which was to blithely trust in Nigel and throw the whole lot in because you'll get soup. Keep adding splooshes and stirring it in until you get a dough.

[I actually emailed Nigel Slater, the man himself, to ask about the too-wetness of it and to my total suprise he emailed back, asking why I hadn't stopped adding the milk when I saw it was getting too wet. Well, I simply didn't have an answer. "Because I'm thick," was too depressing to actually write down and send.]

5 Turn this out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 mins. Put back in a bowl and leave somewhere warm for an hour. After this time, cut into 8 or 16 pieces and shape into rounds. Stick your finger through the middle to make a hole and then sort of whizz the doughnut round your finger, as if you were whizzing a bunch of keys round your finger or something, in order to widen the hole. Then leave these for 20 minutes.

6 Heat about 1/2 to 1 in of vegetable oil in a pan. Best to do this in a very small pan so you don't need to use much oil. Heating veg oil will make your house stink like the back end of a chippy if you're not careful, so close the kitchen door and line the crack under it with tea towels and aprons to stop the smell getting out. Then turn your extractor fan on full beam. And while the oil is heating up and between frying session, keep a lid on the pan - a see-through one with a hole in for steam to escape if possible. But don't open your kitchen windows because this will turn your flat/house into a chimney and the stench will be permeate your whole dwelling. Your whole soul.

7 The trick here is not to get the oil too hot. What you want is for these doughnuts to cook for a while - about 3 minutes altogether - and not burn. When you lower a doughnut in (best to do these one at a time) you want there to be a modest amount of bubbling going on round the sides not mental mental CCRRRRSSHFFFSSHHHWWWWWWW like you're cooking chips.

8 When the doughnut is golden brown - depending on how much oil you've got in the pan and how big you want your doughnuts, you may have to flip them once during cooking - remove with a slotted spoon to a cooling rack. You can dip these in sugar straightaway if you want, but they'll still take a sugar bath well if you want to leave coating them until they've all been fried

These keep well. They're best eaten the same day but you don't have to eat them instantly. You could easily make some in advance and keep them in tupperware (once they've cooled) and then if you wanted them warm, reheat gently in a very low oven.

Bliss. Enjoy.


  1. Holy shit! I didn't even know this was possible. They look amazing.

  2. This is so exciting! Can't wait to make these; your desserty things are always great and these look DELICIOUS and special.

    I have a tiny question, though: kneading intimidates me. So how exactly does one knead? Do you knead different doughs in different ways? And when do you stop? Is there a knack to it?


  3. These look amazing - I'm going to make these tonight!

  4. Charlotte:

    Yes kneading can be one of those things that seems mystifying when actually it's only one notch up from stirring.

    What you do is get your dough into a ball and press down on it away from you with the heel of your hand. Then with the tips of your fingers, flip the furthest edge of your squashed dough back towards you in a fold. Then sort of shimmy the dough a quarter-turn and repeat. There is sort of a knack to it, but you'll get the hang almost instantly, I'm sure.

    Most recipes will give you instructions as to how long to knead for - 3 mins, 5 mins etc. But generally-speaking, the kneading is done when the dough is springy and light.

    As far as I know, there aren't different ways of kneading different doughs. But I'm not a huge expert.

    This video is very annoying and patronising, but it's helpful.

  5. Oh yes, that is a bit kids' TVish, but it's perfect for my level of ineptitude. Thanks! I feel encouraged to try it now. Will give it a bash this weekend.

  6. Have contemplated making doughnuts for quite some time now... might have to give it a go after your brilliant post.

    Been lurking for a while gathering courage to cook outside my comfort zone (pork pie? DOUGHNUTS?!). Saw your "tools" post from some months back; wondering if you could do a follow up on that? What kitchen kit do you find really essential? Most professional chefs' lists are miles long; you seem like a normal home cook with a normal budget. Thanks!! Unsure whether to invest in a copper pot, or All-Clad skillet or a new set of utensils or a proper roasting tin... I'm always attracted to shiny new things in the store, would appreciate some guidance. Love your blog!