Fried Donut Recipe How to Make Donuts From Scratch - Melissa K. Norris

Fried Donut Recipe How to Make Donuts From Scratch

By Heather Harris | Dessert

Feb 02

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A delicious fried donut recipe made traditionally without yeast, that’s so good you don’t need to cover it up with frosting! This easy donut recipe is about as old-fashioned as you can get and high on flavor.

This fried donut recipe hails from the Little House Cookbook. This is our second recipe in our Cooking Like Ma Ingall’s series!

Back in the early pioneer days, there was no Dunkin Donuts, or Krispy Kreme to grab a snack from. If you wanted a sweet treat, you had to make them yourself. And since sugar was at a premium, donuts were not often as sweet are they are now. And I tell you what, there’s nothing like a still warm from the pan donut, you won’t even miss all the sugar-laden dough and frosting found on modern donuts, pioneer promise.

Fried Donut Recipe How to Make Donuts From Scratch

When you think of donuts, do you think of baked or fried, or yeast-raised donuts?

Many of us think that “healthy” donuts are now the ones that we bake and make with alternative flours, such as almond flour, coconut flour, or the like.

Back in the pioneer times, they used home ground wheat flour and deep-fried them in a traditional fat, usually lard. Many doughnut recipes call for yeast, but back in the day, an easy donut recipe without yeast (like this one) was the norm, it was less expensive and less time to wait on rising with a busy farm to run.

Sourdough was what most pioneers used to leaven their bread and if they did use a yeast donut recipe, it would have likely been a sourdough one. Want to start a sourdough starter? Click here to get access to my FREE sourdough starter video series!

What kind of fats can I use for this fried donut recipe?

The recipe calls for lard as the preferred traditional fat.  However, if you don’t eat pork, or can’t find good quality lard near you, there are alternatives. Try coconut oil, palm oil, or even avocado oil. Stay away from olive oil or butter as they can burn or scorch. Beef tallow is strongly scented and your donuts can wind up tasting a bit on the beefy side.

What kind of flour should I use?

This recipe calls for all-purpose white flour.  I have tried it with all-purpose white, freshly milled wheat pastry flour, and freshly milled bread type flour. The all-purpose white seems to give the best results as far as texture when fried.

Why don’t my fried donuts turn themselves over?

This was a frustrating recipe to learn for me. The twisting of the donuts and getting them to look nearly like French crullers wasn’t easy. At first, my donuts wouldn’t turn themselves over, like Mrs. Wilder’s did.

After the umpteenth batch, I finally figured out some of the errors I was making. If you can’t get your donuts to turn over, check for these possible issues:

  • Not enough fat in the pan. The donuts need to be swimming well above the bottom of the pan in order to turn.
  • Too many donuts in the pan at once. Cut the number of donuts down to 2-3 at a time, so they have the room they need to move.
  • Not twisting the dough tight enough. I found that I needed to turn my wrists 4 times each, twisting to get the right “corkscrew” effect. You will still need to be careful because the dough can break when twisting.
  • Too rough handling of the dough. Be gentle when rolling it out and only mess with it just enough to roll and cut.
  • The dough is too thick. Roll the dough to 1/4″ thick. Any more, and the donuts won’t hold together and they will come apart in the oil.

 

Are you ready to make some traditional donuts? Grab your flour, lard, rolling pin, and let’s get started!

 

Fried Donut Ingredients

  • lard, or other traditional fat of choice to fry your donuts in. Lard really is the best but coconut or avocado oil works well too.
  • Sour cream. If you don’t have sour cream plain unflavored yogurt is always an easy substitution (if you need help making your own here’s my easy recipe and method on how to make yogurt at home )
  • All-purpose flour. You’ll get the lightest texture with all-purpose flour but pastry flour or fresh ground soft white wheat works too.
  • Powdered sugar. No need to drizzle these bad boys in tons of icing, a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar creates all the sweetness you’ll need.

 How to Make Donuts From Scratch

  1. Heat the fat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. You want the oil to reach 375 degrees F on a thermometer. A candy thermometer really makes this part easy.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Add flour to the bowl and mix to combine. Knead for one minute to form a smooth dough.
  4. Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/4″ thick. Cut into 1/2″ wide strips.
  5. Twist each strip, then bring the ends together and form a circle. Pinch ends tight.
  6. Drop carefully into the hot fat and allow to brown and cook 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from oil, and lay on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

 

Fried Donut Recipe - Old-fashioned no yeast

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 24 donuts
Author: Heather Harris
The best fried donut recipe, no yeast, old-fashioned from scratch homemade donuts made just like Ma Ingall's!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lard or other traditional fat of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Heat the fat in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat. You want the oil to reach 375 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg, salt, and baking soda.
  • Add flour to the bowl and mix to combine. Knead for one minute to form a smooth dough.
  • Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut into 1/2" wide strips.
  • Twist each strip, then bring the ends together and form a circle. Pinch ends tight.
  • Drop carefully into the hot fat and allow to brown and cook 2 minutes.
  • Remove from oil, and lay on paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Notes

If the donuts take more than 3 minutes to brown, the fat is not hot enough. If they brown in less than 2 minutes, the fat is too hot.
If you can't get your donuts to turn over, check for these possible issues:
  • Not enough fat in the pan. The donuts need to be swimming well above the bottom of the pan in order to turn.
  • Too many donuts in the pan at once. Cut the number of donuts down to 2-3 at a time, so they have the room they need to move.
  • Not twisting the dough tight enough. I found that I needed to turn my wrists 4 times each, twisting to get the right "corkscrew" effect. You will still need to be careful because the dough can break when twisting.
  • Too rough handling of the dough. Be gentle when rolling it out and only mess with it just enough to roll and cut.
  • The dough is too thick. Roll the dough to 1/4" thick. Any more, and the donuts won't hold together and they will come apart in the oil.

 

 

 

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About the Author

With over 20 years experience in the kitchen, Heather loves to create delicious, nutritious foods that her family will enjoy! Follow her adventures on recipesfromthehomestead.com and see what's cooking!

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