Once you’ve tasted these irresistibly soft and fluffy sourdough doughnuts, you’ll never try any other! This one-and-a-half-day recipe is well worth the time it takes.
Here in Slovenia, we’ve had our carnival festival these past few days. And there is no carnival without some soft and fluffy doughnuts. Just like last year, I’ve made my sourdough doughnuts. While the ones from last year were okay considering I made them just a month after making my first sourdough starter or ever baking anything sourdough. However, the ones that I made this year were to die for!
I’m not exaggerating. The perfect size, the perfect shape, the softerst texture and the sweetest flavor. So good!
Lessons I’ve learned about sourdough in a year have paid off.
So if this is the first time making sourdough doughnuts, my number one advice is to be patient. There’s a lot of waiting involved and it’s easy to get very excited and not leaving the dough to rest or rise long enough. You just wanna go in there and work, right? However, it is really important to just watch your dough and wait, without really looking at the clock. This is also the reason there’s no very specific time frame in my recipe. The fermentation works very differently at different temperatures.
I will share my times and temperatures just so you can have some ideas of how long you should really wait.
One more thing. Be gentle with your dough. The more gentle you’ll be the more air will stay inside your dough, creating the sof center.
And the second thing, make sure to create enough dough strength so it can hold its shape. This is especially important when you’re shaping doughnuts into small balls. Take your time!
Note: if you’re not the sourdough type, I also have a very delicious yeast doughnut recipe here.
Okay scroll down for my timetable 🙂
My sourdough doughnuts making timetable:
9 am – First Levain Feeding
9 am – 3 pm levain fermenting at a variable temperature from 23-25 °C until doubled in size
3 pm – Second Levain Feeding
3 pm – 8:30 pm levain fermenting at a variable temperature from 23-25 °C until doubled in size
8:30 pm – Making the dough (first mixing, resting, kneading, first coil fold)
9 pm – 10 pm – Bulk ferment at 23-25°C (I did a coil fold at 9:30 pm and 10 pm)
10 pm – Transfering the dough into the fridge (with around 8°C)
10 pm – 8 am – Bulk ferment in the fridge
8 am – Moving the dough back to room temperature
8 am – 11 am – Bulk ferment at 23-25°C (I waited for the dough to get to room temperature)
11 am – Shaping
11 am – 9 pm – Proofing at 23-26°C (I waited for the doughnuts to double in size!)
9pm – Frying and eating two hot doughnuts 🙂
The Softest Sourdough Doughnuts
Adapted from sourdoughmania.com
Sweet Levain – First Feeding
- 20 g water at room temperature
- 50 g strong white flour (all-purpose flour works as well)
- 10 g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
- 10 g white sugar
Sweet Levain – Second Feeding
- 40 g water at room temperature
- 90 g strong white flour
- 20 g white sugar
- 400 g strong white flour
- 120 g milk room temperature
- 2 larger eggs room temperature
- 70 g white sugar
- 4 g salt
- 1 tsp vanilla seeds or vanilla extract
- 60 g softened unsalted butter room temperature
First Feeding: Mix all ingredients for the first levain feeding. Mix just enough for all ingredients to bind. No need for kneading.
Let sit at room temperature until the levain doubles in size. Anywhere from 21-28°C or 60-82°F is okay, but keep in mind that the levain will mature quicker at higher temperatures. This stage should take anywhere from 3-10 hours.
Second Feeding: After the levain has doubled in size, it is time to feed it the second time. Add water to a bowl and shred in your levain. Mix a little to dissolve the levain. It won't dissolve entirely. Add all other feeding ingredients and knead just enough to make the levain come together in a dough.
Let sit at room temperature until the levain doubles in size. Anywhere from 21-28°C or 70-82°F is okay, but keep in mind that the levain will mature quicker at higher temperatures. This stage should take anywhere from 3-10 hours.
For the times and temperatures I used for this recipe, check the article!
Making the dough: After the levain has doubled in size the second time, it's time to mix our dough.
Dissolve the levain in milk.
Add flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla seeds or vanilla extract.
Using a stand mixer, mix the dough just enough to bring the ingredients together. Leave covered for 10-15 minutes.
After resting, add salt and knead the dough in a stand mixer for 8 minutes.
Then add softened butter and knead until the dough can pass the windowpane test (link to see how the windowpane test works in the recipe notes). The dough will separate at first, but will come back together quickly.
Bulk ferment: Transfer the dough to your bulk ferment container and do a coil fold (link to the coil fold method in the recipe notes).
Cover the container and leave to ferment until doubled in size. This should take anywhere from 4-10 hours at room temperature. You can do a part of the bulk ferment in the fridge to slow the ferment. Do a coil fold every 30 minutes for the first two hours.
Shaping: After the dough has risen about 50% in size, transfer it to your counter, but be very gentle to not release too much air from the dough.
Divide the dough into 50g pieces and roll them into small balls. Make sure to create enough tension on the balls so they keep a nice shape.
Proofing: Leave the doughnuts to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. This stage will take anywhere from 8-12 hours depending on the temperature.
Frying: After the doughnuts have doubled in size, prepare the oil for frying.
Use about 1 inch or 2.5 cm of oil and fry at a temperature between 160-170°C (320-340°F). A good indicator the temperature is perfect is to check with a wooden spoon. If little bubbles start to form around the spoon handle the oil is ready to go.
Place doughnuts top side down in hot oil, but prior to that brush away the flour. A lot of flour will burn your oil and it will not be re-usable. Fry the doughnuts for about 3 minutes covered. When they turn golden, turn them around away from yourself, so you don’t burn yourself! Fry for about 3 more minutes on the other side uncovered.
Transfer the doughnuts to a plate covered with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Fill and decorate to your liking. Enjoy!