Doughnut dough

Doughnut dough

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 30 mins - 40 mins plus proving and overnight chilling, cook time 4 mins per doughnut (fried in batches, about 30-40 mins total)

A challenge

makes about 20 doughnuts (about 1kg dough)

Once you've tasted these irresistibly plump and sugary treats from doughnut master Justin Gellatly, there'll be no going back!

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per doughnut

  • kcal225
  • fat16g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs22g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.5g
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    For the dough

    • 500g strong white bread flour
    • 60g golden caster sugar
    • 15g fresh yeast, crumbled



      Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

    • 4 eggs



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • zest ½ lemon



      Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

    • 2 tsp fine sea salt
    • 125g softened unsalted butter



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • about 2 litres sunflower oil, for deep-frying
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

    • caster sugar, for tossing


    1. Put 150g water and all the dough ingredients, apart from the butter, into the bowl of a mixer with a beater paddle. Mix on a medium speed for 8 mins or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 1 min.

    2. Start the mixer up again on a medium speed and slowly add the butter to the dough – about 25g at a time. Once it is all incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 mins until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.

    3. Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to prove until it has doubled in size. Knock back the dough in the bowl briefly, then re-cover and put in the fridge to chill overnight.

    4. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into 50g pieces (you should get about 20).

    5. Roll the dough pieces into smooth, tight buns and place them on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room between them, as you don’t want them to stick together while they prove.

    6. Cover loosely with cling film and leave for 4 hrs or until doubled in size. Fill your deep-fat fryer or heavy-based saucepan halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 180C.

    7. When the oil is heated, carefully slide the doughnuts from the tray using a floured pastry scraper. Taking care not to deflate them, put them into the oil. Do 2-3 per batch, depending on the size of your fryer or pan.

    8. Fry for 2 mins each side until golden brown – they puff up and float, so you may need to gently push them down after about 1 min to help them colour evenly.

    9. Remove the doughnuts from the fryer and place them on kitchen paper.

    10. Toss the doughnuts in a bowl of caster sugar while still warm. Repeat the steps until all the doughnuts are fried, but keep checking the oil temperature is correct – if it is too high, they will burn and be raw in the middle; if it is too low, the oil will be absorbed into the doughnuts and they will become greasy. Set aside to cool before filling.

    11. To fill the doughnuts, make a hole with a small knife in the crease of each one, anywhere around the white line between the fried top and bottom.

    12. Fill a piping bag with your filling and pipe into the doughnut until nicely swollen – 20-50g is the optimum quantity, depending on the filling; cream will be less, because it is more aerated. After filling, the doughnuts are best eaten straight away, but will keep in an airtight tin.

    13. Fillings

      Custard filling: Try out Justin's custard filling and, if you like, add different flavours to the custard as follows...

      Brown sugar: Replace the caster sugar with half soft dark brown sugar and half light brown sugar. You can add chopped stem ginger to the finished custard, or some hazelnut praline. Finish with half the quantity of cream.

      Chocolate: Whisk 150g dark (70%) chocolate into the milk. Finish with half the cream.

      Coffee: Add 4 tbsp of freshly ground strong coffee to the milk.

      Malt & vanilla: Mix 2 tbsp of powdered malt into the sugar, and 2 tbsp of liquid malt into the milk.

      Saffron: Add a good pinch of saffron to the milk. Finish with half the quantity of cream.

      Violet custard: Add 3 tsp of violet extract and 3 tbsp of violet liqueur to the finished custard. Sprinkle sugared violets and crushed Parma Violet sweets over the top of the filled doughnuts.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    S Ainsworth's picture
    S Ainsworth
    14th Mar, 2020
    First time making donughts they were absolutely gorgeous! Custard recipe is delicious!
    Tazha Rachel Dela Cruz's picture
    Tazha Rachel De...
    26th Nov, 2019
    excellent recipe, perfect donuts every time. The overnight proofing gives beautiful flavour to the dough!
    12th Nov, 2019
    This recipe is a total disaster. I cannot understand all the positive reviews. I will give it zero stars if I could. The batter was so thick you must need an industrial grade mixer. Granted, I do not have a full mixer but have a powerful hand mixer with a dock that allows it to operate like a mixer and it nearly exploded. It was so thick I would’ve been better grouting my kitchen with it, not making doughnuts out of it. I had to abandon his recipe after the first stage, clean my kitchen and my mixer, and then use a different recipe, bizarrely found elsewhere on this website. Either avoid this recipe, or borrow a 6000W mixer from Mr Kipling.
    William Mills's picture
    William Mills
    28th Sep, 2019
    Made lovely light doughnuts. A few tips: the dough is so wet it will stick to both the baking sheet and the clingfilm. Next time I will do the second prove on individual squares of floured baking paper and I will oil the cling film. I didn’t bother with overnight in the fridge which probably made the shaping harder but still managed and worked out well. Size-wise they puff up a great deal in the oil so factor that into your sizing.
    19th Jun, 2019
    Lots of steps to this recipe, but all are quite easy to follow. This created a lot of mess and washing up, but the doughnuts turned out absolutely great. The dough is really wet, so you definitely need a mixer plus dough hook for this. I didn't bother with the lemon zest and didn't feel like it was missed. 50g per doughnut also made huge doughnuts so maybe 40g per ball would be more appropriate. Use at least 2 or 3 baking trays while letting the balls of dough prove as they expand loads.
    31st Mar, 2019
    These are the best !! I have been searching and testing few recepies before but this one is the best so far. I used Trexx veg maragrine in recepie. Fried in vegetable oil and Trexx half and half. Used handmixer to make a dough ,takes long time and dough was really sticky ,so i was a bit worried but didnt add more flour.. After first proof it was still worring that how it will turn out.. end result next day and a half was amazing fluffy and soft dougnuts coverd with sugar and filled with jam. Recepie is a keeper.Many thanks. .
    10th Nov, 2018
    Very good recipe they come out prefect and like they should! Warning ⚠️ it is a time consuming recipe when you just want to eat them all now!!
    21st Jul, 2017
    Made these today......delicious! It was really easy, prepping the dough yesterday and rolling and 2nd proof today. Only made half the recipe so I could try it out. I filled them with Bonne Maman strawberry jam. Could not believe how light they were , made you want to eat a second. I would like to try them with the custard filling the next time.
    16th Sep, 2016
    Takes a while but worth the effort! Very sticky so could get tight buns but still worked
    10th Apr, 2016
    Ok, so I made these at the weekend. Never having tried Justin's doughnuts I wasn't quite sure what to expect. They were delicious! So light and fluffy. I halved the recipe and didn't make any filling as I didn't want to waste any more ingredients, I n case the recipe failed me. The dough is a very soft dough, so don't be tempted to add any more flour, I think if you did, it would definitely change the consistency and possibly make the doughnuts heavier. The only (shall we say) difficult thing is keeping the oil at a consistent temperature, but other than that (and 10 doughnuts to eat between my husband and I) a very good recipe. Will see they taste tomorrow.
    17th Mar, 2019
    Could I use fast action yeast for this recipe, and if so, would I need to change the quantity?
    Barney Good Food's picture
    Barney Good Food
    19th Mar, 2020
    You could and you would need 7g which I think is exactly what a sachet weighs.
    S Ainsworth's picture
    S Ainsworth
    14th Mar, 2020
    I did and used a heaped tablespoon. They turned out delicious!
    S Ainsworth's picture
    S Ainsworth
    14th Mar, 2020
    Recipe says to mix for 8 minutes, mine was still sloppy and wasn't coming away from the sides, started to worry but keep going a bit more, it will start to get more stringy , add small chunks of butter it comes together and looks more elasticated. Beautiful gorgeous recipe. Thank you oh and I used a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook. Hope this helps !
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