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Dough enhancer/relaxer

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Has anyone used a dough enhancer for doughnuts or fried pastries? Would it make for a lighter or heavier doughnut? Any theories?
post #2 of 8
I don't think it would make much difference at all, the leavening has very little time to work in fried doughs, and the crumbs are always quite dense. I doubt adding a chemical to improve or reduce the efficiency of the gluten bonds in the flour can make a whole lot of difference for such a short process.
post #3 of 8
I'm not sure about an enhancer, but changing your formula slightly might help. If you increase the amount of yeast, or lessen the amount of salt in your product, you should get a higher, lighter product.

You don't say if they are dropped donuts or cake donuts. If they're dropped, a small amount of baking soda and a drop of acid will increase leavening.

Also, the addition of NFDM (non-fat dry milk) can help the texture and leavening of your donuts more so than additional fat or shortening will.

Some guidelines for donuts:
Scale ingredients carefully
Do not overmix the dough. Glutenous doughs are tougher and will absorb more fat during frying
Be careful of the temperature of your dough. It should not be above 80F. Yeast is most active at 110F, and over-leavening will absorb fat in frying, making a dense donut.
Let your donuts rest 15 minutes before frying to relax the gluten. Failure to rest the dough will result in poor leavening.
Fry at the proper temperature - 375 to 385F.

Properly fried donuts absorb about 2oz of fat per dozen. Frying fat should be of good quality and changed often.

Donuts can be a tricky item, like most yeast products. Careful attention to scaling, mixing, fermentation, punching, portioning, resting and frying are necessary for a great result.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I should have clarified that these are yeast (raised) donuts. Right now they are fine the way they are. The have a nice wide proof line (white ring) when fried. I'm looking for ways to improve them (perfect) even more. I have some photos posted somewhere in the gallery. I'm looking for ways to improve texture, freshness, etc. They seem to have a 24 hour expiration date. Not that they are inedible but they become heavier and drier after about 24 hours. I've tasted some premixes that stay the same from morning to night.

My dough goes though a 3 step process after mixing. 30 minute rest after mixing, additional 15 minute rest after flattening and reballing, and then 30 in the proof box after cutting.
post #5 of 8
The staling is the retrogradation of the starch (crytalising), an emulisifier can help reduce that; try adding an egg yolk (or two) to your mix and that may help with the life of your donuts or reheat them to 60 degrees to regelate the starch.

As for a lighter dough, try different flours; higher protein flours create stronger gluten bonds (therefore hold more air and also can withstand more aeration) or concentrate your flour by adding vital gluten.
The ideal protein content of a dough in need of yeast aeration (IE> a bread) is 11-12%.

And like cheftodmore says, salt (although will affect flavour) is also vital to a strong gluten network (1.5-2%).

Sugars and fats will distort and weaken your dough, so make sure you knead them in after the initial kneading, to give the proteins a chance to create some strong bonds before they enter the mix.

Perfection is beautiful dream.
post #6 of 8
Is it a donut shop or the grocery store?
If it's a shop that specializes in donuts, I'm not sure a good donut should be around after 24 hours anyway.

Hey Chris - How about an emulsified shortening? Wouldn't that add give a lighter texture to finished donuts?

Otherwise, tamdoan is giving me a crazy donut craving.
post #7 of 8

side note

Well I would think not, as the glutens would be disrupted by the fats.

But just as an argument with myself; i found an interesting page on the net from a guy who's done alot of experiments attempting to find the perfect texture for doughnuts.

He argues that if the gluten chains are too strong it comes out too chewy, therefore reccommends, short, less worked proteins in less glutenous flour. (He reccommends using an all-purpose flour (7-9% protein) and adding shortening.)

Wayne Schmidt's Doughnut Making Page

if you're interested.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
chris.lawrence - thanks for the link. i have seen that website. from my experience i've gotten a lighter and higher doughnut from higher protein flour. albeit, i've got more specialized equipment (20L mixer, proofer, modified fryer) rather than what can be found in a home kitchen.

Right now I think I've got a great made from scratch yeast doughnut that's light and fluffy but would like to improve the texture (smoother) and have it keep fresh longer.

Here is a link to some photos of how far I've gotten so far.
ChefTalk Cooking Forums
As you can see I don't have much of a problem with lightness or fluffiness but still looking for improvement.

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A little bit off topic but still concerning doughnuts (cake doughnuts):
I've also been working with cake doughnuts which is a batter and uses baking powder rather than a dough. The batter is dropped directly into the fryer using a doughnut extruder. Kindof like the way they made funnel cakes at the swimming pool when I was a little kid. Is it normal from one side of the doughnut to blister? I don't have access to batter dropped cake doughnuts where I'm at for comparison. I'll have some pictures up tomorrow for clarification.
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