Deliciously easy doughnut dough (master recipe)

If you think doughnuts are best left to your baker, think again; this recipe gives brilliant results without lengthy kneading or a mixer. All you need is a little patience. Combining strong and plain flours with butter and eggs gives a doughnut with an almost cake-like structure that won’t go stale too fast – if you can resist them, that is! 


200ml semi-skimmed milk
100g unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
50g caster sugar
200g strong white bread flour
200g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp fine salt
7g sachet Allinson easy bake yeast
3 eggs (150g), beaten


1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the butter and vanilla. Heat gently until the butter melts and the milk is warm, then remove from the heat.

2. Mix the sugar, flours and salt together in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre and add the yeast. Test the milk temperature with your little finger – it should be warm but not hot. Pour the milk mixture into the well and leave to stand for 5 minutes to let the yeast dissolve. Add the beaten eggs, then mix with a wooden spoon to a smooth, very wet dough (almost a batter); set aside for 10 minutes.

3. Beat the dough for 1 minute; you’ll find it has more body to it. Cover the bowl with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 2 hours, or until at least doubled in size.

4. Generously flour the worktop and your hands, then scrape the dough from the bowl. Flour the top of the dough too, then gently knead by bringing the top edge into the centre, turning the dough a quarter turn and repeating. Do this for 2-3 minutes. Add more flour if your hands get sticky (the odd sticky patch of dough will mean a better doughnut, though, so don’t be put off). The dough should feel soft, fluid and bouncy. Flour 2 large baking sheets.

5. Divide the dough in 2, roll each piece into a rough sausage and cut into 8 equal pieces (about 50-60g each). Use more flour to shape into smooth balls. Place the balls on the floured baking sheets, well spaced out, then cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to prove until almost doubled in size – about 45 minutes-1 hour. (You want the dough to be well risen but not so much that it is starting to lose shape.) It is now ready to cook.

This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Food, March 2017 issue. Download the Waitose Food app for the full issue.

  • Preparation time: About 4 hours (includes resting, rising, proving and cooling)
  • Cooking time: 0 minutes
  • Total time: About 4 hours (includes resting, rising, proving and cooling)

Makes: enough dough for 16 large doughnuts

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This recipe was first published in Wed Mar 01 15:06:49 GMT 2017.