Few things in life are as satisfying as soft, fluffy tangzhong donuts. Fewer things are as yummy as Nutella. Put the two together, and you have magic! This recipe makes the most incredible, soft and delicious Nutella donuts.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT NUTELLA DONUTS
Donuts are fun to make, but there are many little things that can wrong along the way and results in a less-than-ideal outcome. So let's cover my best tips for how you can achieve the perfect Nutella donuts! You can also see these steps in action in the video below.
1. Make a tangzhong-based brioche dough
Tangzhong is a slurry made by heating flour and milk until they make a thick paste. It is then added to the bread dough, and allows introducing more moisture into the bread than it can otherwise handle. Tangzhong is used in Japanese milk bread recipes and makes bread extra moist, soft, and fluffy for longer. I like to add it to almost all my sweet bread recipes, including these donuts!
In addition to the tanzhong, I also add extra butter to the dough after the initial kneading. This butter adds lamination to the dough, making it similar to soft, brioche bread with the "thread" like texture.
This dough is definitely on the softer, stickier side, and is much easier to make with a standing mixer (like KitchenAid) fit with a dough hook. However, if you don't have one, you can still knead if by hand. I recommend first using a wooden spoon and then shifting to your hands. It will be messy but will become better with time. If you need to add extra flour, try to use as little as you can.
2. Don't under-proof or over-proof your dough
Once your dough is well kneaded, you need to cover it and let it rise in a warm spot (~75F) for about 1 hour until it roughly doubles in size. When you gently poke the dough, it should partially spring back. Not letting the dough properly proof will lead to denser donuts instead of the light, airy texture we are looking for.
At this point, shape your donuts, place them onto pieces of parchment paper, and let them rise one more time. This time, we proof for only 30-45 minutes so any of the air that was kciked out during the shaping process is introduced again.
However, at this point, it is easy to over-proof the donuts. This happens when the donuts are left for too long and they rise too much. They can develop large air bubbles in them, which can result in big air bubbles when frying. These bubbles then burst and allow oil to leak into the donuts, making them very greasy.
As you start frying, keep the uncooked donuts in a cool spot far from the stove (ideally in the fridge) to prevent over-proofing.
3. Fry at the right temperature for the right time
Precision is important when frying your donuts!
Firstly, make sure your oil is at the right temperature. I strongly recommend using a food thermometer like this one to check that the oil is around 350F, which is ideal to make sure the donuts cook on the inside quickly without browning too much on the outside. Then turn the heat to medium and keep checking the temperature as you fry your donuts.
Secondly, use a timer to make sure you don't under or over-fry the donuts! Since these donuts don't have holes in them, they take slightly longer to cook all the way through than traditional donuts. I found that roughly 2 minutes per side were perfect. To ensure your donuts are perfectly cooked, first do a test donut and then adjust the cooking time on the remaining donuts accordingly.
4. Use a weighing scale to uniformly fill donuts with Nutella
It is hard to tell how much Nutella is inside the donuts, so I recommend using a scale! This one from Amazon is inexpensive and very reliable. First, slightly warm up the Nutella to bring it to a spreadable consistency. Then transfer it to a piping bag fit with a Bismarck tip that can be used to poke and fill the donuts. Now, weigh each donut before and after filling it, trying to fill each with about 20-25g of Nutella. I find this to be the perfect amount of filling that isn't too overwhelming.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is tangzhong?
Tangzhong is a slurry or roux made by cooking flour and milk on low heat, constantly stirring, until they form a thick paste. It is added to breads as it allows adding a lot more moisture to them, and result in much softer bread which stays fresh for longer. It is used in the fluffy Japanese milk breads we love!
Why are my donuts dense?
This could be due to a few reasons:
- Your yeast is no longer fresh, and as a result your dough is not rising properly. Check if your yeast is still fresh by mixing a teaspoon in ¼ cup of warm milk and resting for 10 minutes. It should start to foam up. If it doesn't, buy new yeast!
- Your have underproofed the dough. Make sure your dough nearly doubles in volume and springs back partly when poked gently. Only start shaping the donuts after this point.
- Your oil is too hot. This will cause your donuts to fry very quickly without there being enough time for them to rise and fluff up. Make sure you are monitoring the oil temperature.
Why are my donuts oily?
This can happen due to 2 common reasons:
- You have overproofed the dough. When overproofed, the dough will start to deflate and lose volume, and can become oily when fried. Make sure you don't leave the dough for too long!
- Your oil temperature isn't right when frying. If not hot enough, your donuts will take longer to fry and will absorb more oil. You need the oil to be around 350F for the ideal donuts.
Looking for other flavors to try with these donuts? Try my Creme Brulee donuts!Print
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