The quarantine has produced a number of incredibly ingenious and inventive ways of cooking and baking, from the rise in popularity of the Dalgona coffee to the recent obsession with the sushi bake. Doughnuts made from pancake mix was the first of many ways to hack that boxed mix while ube cheese pandesal ruled the baking scene.
There's another baking trend that is making the rounds on social media that has many scrambling for ingredients: milky cheese doughnuts. These are powdery, milky long doughnuts filled with creamy, gooey cheese. What's not to love about these homemade doughnuts?
Making doughnuts is just like making any bread recipe: the most basic recipe can be made into doughnuts and requires yeast, flour, sugar, salt, and water. Eggs and butter are sometimes added for richness, creating what they call an enriched dough. However, for these doughnuts, there are tips and tricks that you may need to know to make these incredibly soft and coated fried bread right.
Here are all the tips we learned to make milky cheese doughnuts:
1. Using instant yeast is okay
Make it easier on yourself and grab some instant yeast instead of the active dry yeast. While the active dry yeast is a great yeast, there is no shame in using the instant yeast when it can make your baking life easier. Making doughnuts is already hard enough to make, what with the kneading of the dough and the amount of patience you need to practice. You don't need ingredients that will make you do an extra step or two that can be eliminated by using another ingredient that's easier to use. Don't worry: it will yield a similar dough.
2. Keep it sticky
Some dough recipes are sticky. This dough is can be sticky so if it is, it's okay. Don't be too tempted to add too much flour to your work surface because too much flour can lead to a tough doughnut. Pay attention to the look and feel of the dough when kneading and even if the dough is sticky, it will still work. Not only that, but our weather is also not always suitable to bread baking. While the humidity in the air is perfect for bread baking since the yeast loves a warm, wet environment, this same weather can lead to a stickier dough.
Here's how you can tell if it's okay to leave your dough sticky:
- The dough will stick to your work surface but as you knead, it cleanly peels itself from the counter without breaking.
- The dough will separate from the work surface when you pull it off the surface.
- The dough develops a smooth surface when you roll it between your hands despite sticking to the surface.
Take cues from these tips, and you'll be just fine proceeding with the recipe, despite your dough being a little stickier than you're used to.
3. Always keep it covered
One of the biggest sins of a bread baker is allowing your dough to dry out or develop a skin on its surface. This surface will be hard to return to its former supple texture and it will also be hard to create into the shapes without leaving hard nubs of dough in the bread as it bakes. This usually happens when you forget to oil the surface of the oil or forget to cover it with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
To avoid this, always have a damp towel on hand. If needed, have a spray bottle nearby with potable water so you can dampen your towel when it gets too dry. The heat and humidity of our tropical weather can defeat your efforts in keeping your towel damp so keep it moist, keep the dough covered, and your dough will rise perfectly underneath.
4. Seal the edges well
Better yet, don't just seal! Use water or even beaten egg.
5. Lightly grease the bowls and trays.
When you're ready to let your dough rise, it's important to lightly grease the dough as well as the bowl it will rise in. This will not only prevent the dough from sticking too much to the bowl but it will also prevent the dough from developing that hard crust. The oil will keep your dough moist and supple while the yeast does its job.
Remember, "lightly" is the keyword. A small amount of oil goes a long way.
6. Practice "social" distancing
Even dough balls need to keep their distance! This tip is more about preventing the dough balls from merging into each other as it rises. Since these will expand and "grow" as it rests, the dough balls will naturally grow in height and sideways. So, if you don't give your dough balls enough room to do this expanding, you will find that you will have dough twins, triplets, or even quadruplets instead of individual dough to work with.
7. Fry on low to medium-low heat
Doughnuts are fried bread and so it needs time to puff up and cook through thoroughly so you don't end up with doughnuts that are browned on the outside but still raw on the inside. If you have ever made doughnuts or bread that developed a strong yeast flavor after a day or two, that means that you may not have cooked your bread thoroughly enough to cook the yeast and stop its growth.
You may have doughnuts that may open up or even ooze its cheesy centers once in the oil. All this means is you need to seal your cheese in the dough better for the next time. Follow the rules of frying (heat the oil to the right temperature, cook in batches, don't crowd the pan, etc.) and you'll have perfectly fried doughnuts that are ready to eat soon.
8. Roll in the milk powder while hot
Once one batch of doughnuts are fried, you should be ready with your milk powder and sugar mixture because you want to roll these doughnuts in it as soon as it comes out of the oil. The hot oil will help the milk powder stick and coat the doughnuts better than if it were cold. Set these aside on a tray and continue frying until you're all done.
How easy is that? Depending on your baking level, it can be as easy as any other bread recipe you've tried or it can be more difficult, especially if you're not used to working with a sticky dough. No matter your challenges making these doughnuts, we're sure the results made every delicious bite worth the effort.
*This story originally appeared on Yummy.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.