This week’s obsession: Baked Cake Donuts
I was rummaging around my kitchen one morning before work this week, all in a tizzy because I knew that I had a big weekend planned for Rebellion Baking, but none of what I was doing this weekend would have been ready on time for me to use for my blog today. My main concern was trying to figure out what to make that was relatively easy, but I was also trying to figure out who would be around to eat whatever I made (this is unfortunately a real concern for me in a new city during a pandemic - I don’t have enough taste testers nearby to offload my weekly baking so it’s all going directly into my pie hole. You may have to roll me out of San Francisco when it’s time to leave if this keeps up #PastryChefProblems), when I came across this doughnut pan that I’ve used precisely once, purely as a coping mechanism at the beginning of this pandemic.
Now that I’ve grown more accustomed to these “unprecedented times”, I’m looking for a little flavor in my pastries as opposed to just comfort. As most of you know, cinnamon is one of my all time favorites #America so of course I decided that I had to make a simple cinnamon sugar doughnut. I’m also a bit of a chocoholic and sprinkle fiend, so I made regular cake doughnuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles, too.
REAL TALK: On one of my many, many pastry group sites, one of the bakers was extremely upset after multiple canisters of her sprinkles went rancid after only owning them for a year (these things can last FOR YEARS, but after reading about how much money she lost (have I mentioned that pretty sprinkles can be expensive? Just a tiny 2oz. jar is $8! And this woman was apparently way less commitment-phobic than I am because she had been buying multiples of the 8oz. jars!), I’m bound and determined to use all the sprinkles I own before they go bad AND to rein in my sprinkle spending habit as much as possible. (I know how to make sprinkles from scratch - comment below if you’d like me to film a tutorial on how you can make them for yourself!)
Back to these baked doughnuts. I really love them because 1) They’re yeast free, which means that I don’t have to wait for the dough to rise and 2) I don’t have to deep fry them (so lucky to still have all my fingers after all that time spent frying doughnuts over an industrial fryer and occasionally dipping my fingers in to the searing hot grease while working - 100% accidental and shocking each time.)
The only slight drawback to baked doughnuts is that they do typically require the use of buttermilk, and I’m not the kind of person who just keeps buttermilk on hand. Honestly I only ever met one person who did (she was the grandmother of some of my friends and she kept a jug of buttermilk in the fridge and drank a glass everyday 🤢 she said it kept her healthy 🤨), and it is not a habit that I’ve picked up for myself. It used to be that not keeping buttermilk on hand would prevent me from making a recipe with buttermilk entirely, however I have a baking hack to share with you for how to get around a lack of buttermilk in your refrigerator. Tip of the week: Use milk + lemon juice to make buttermilk.
That’s right, you can make your own buttermilk!
Let's take a moment to learn about it, shall we?
1) First things first - what is buttermilk?
Buttermilk is a fermented dairy liquid, originally found as the liquid that was left after churning butter. Today it is created by introducing the bacteria naturally found in original buttermilk to pasteurized milk and allowing it to ferment.
2) Why do we use buttermilk?
Buttermilk is used in baking because the acid created from the added bacteria reacts with the baking soda found in baked goods recipes, and helps create a rise during baking (hence no yeast for the baked doughnuts, but buttermilk instead). Buttermilk is also used widely across the south to marinate chicken before frying because the acid also serves as a meat tenderizer. Yum!
3) How do I make buttermilk?
This is my saving grace right here. I rarely use recipes that require buttermilk, so I never want to buy an entire jug of buttermilk only to use one cup of it and then let the rest waste away before I get to use it in another recipe (this is the same reason why I no longer make vegan recipes). So I make buttermilk for any recipe that requires it.
All you do is combine one cup of milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar, then let it sit for about 10ish minutes to curdle, et voila! You have a cup of buttermilk ready to use with no waste!
Once your buttermilk is ready, just use it as directed in your recipes.
As most of you know, most of the pastries, cookies, and cakes that I’m making for this blog are my splashy way of developing and perfecting recipes that I plan to use in my own bakery, whenever the time comes for me to open. Since I’m at the very beginning of my baked doughnut recipe development journey, I will probably make these a few more times before I start to really like the ones I make. So if you have a baked doughnut recipe that you use and think I would like (mostly I’m looking for a light, fluffy texture, and an excellent flavor) please send it my way. I’d love to experience what everyone considers to be delicious, and I want to build my own recipe based on crowd consensus.
Happy eating, y’all!
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