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My mother made the best doughnuts! Sadly, I never got mom’s doughnut recipe and I had to experiment to recreate it. This is the result, I would have to make it a half a dozen more times to really perfect it and a doughnut press could make it easier.

Most people fry their doughnuts in oil, something I tried to do but did not like the result. All those instructions regarding the frying temperature of doughnuts are useless, because the home cook has no access to commercial deep frying oils. I found that shortening is much, much better than oil and the temperatures need not be anywhere as high as the recipes suggest. The other very good thing about shortening frying is that doughnuts do not soak up the shortening. None of my shortening fried donuts are greasy or have oily aftertaste. So frying the doughnuts in shortening is the first important criteria.

Hungarian doughnut recipes all call for 4 g of cake yeast. Consequently, I have seen recipes calling for 4 Tbsp of dry yeast in several doughnut recipes, just try them these will not be palatable. You do use a little more yeast for doughnuts just not quite as much. I am an avid bread flour user, but I would not use bread flour for doughnuts. For reasons I cannot explain, all purpose unbleached, [white] flour makes the best doughnuts.

To get the ribbon effect, you have to let the doughnuts rise to about an inch and a half in height during the final rising. Doughnuts are best on the same day, so included at the end is a recipe for a smaller batch of doughnuts.

To make 26 doughnuts:
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
5-1/2 cups flour
2 pkgs. instant dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1/8 cup melted butter
2 lbs shortening for frying

• Place a small saucepan on low heat and add the shortening.
• Melt it slightly and then remove from heat.
• Add the milk and stir to combine.
• Add the shortening mixture to a large mixing bowl with the cold water, sugar, sour cream and the eggs [and the egg yolk in the large batch].
• Add 1 cup of flour and the instant dry yeast.
• Mix to combine.
• Gradually add the remaining flour and kneed with a dough hook on high speed for 5 minutes.
• [If kneading by hand, shape into a ball and kneed the dough for 10 whole minutes. The dough will stick a little, but you don’t need to add more flour.]
• Dough should be very pliable and very, very elastic.
• Form into a ball, place into a buttered bowl, turn the dough over and let it rise until almost doubled.
• Punch down, but do not handle dough much. Put dough back in the bowl for 20 minutes. Not longer, you do not want the dough rising too high at this stage.
• Then turn onto a floured surface, handle the dough minimally. Roll it into 1/2 inch thickness, not thicker.
• Cut rounds with the largest round cutter. Cut the donuts economically, close together.
• Cut the doughnut holes out with a tiny round cutter or with a floured shot glass.
• Place the doughnuts and the doughnut holes on parchment lined baking trays.
• Leave lots of room between the doughnuts. If they rise into each other, they will stretch when you separate them. This will result in uneven doghnuts.
• Spread the tops with melted butter and let them rise until doubled.
• Fold up the scraps and put back into the buttered bowl for 20 minutes.
• Roll out the remaining dough and cut more doughnuts and doughnut holes. Place these on the parchment lined trays and lightly butter them too. These will rise about the same time as the first batch.
• Whatever dough remains at this point, re-roll it and cut it into doughnut holes.
• Place a large pot on medium heat and melt the shortening.
• When the shortening appears hot enough for frying, drop in a doughnut hole to test it.
• Once the doughnut hole fries up on both side, the shortening is ready for the rest of the operation.
• Slide the doughnuts into the hot shortening one by one. Observe the order of the doughnuts. Do not crowd the pot.
• When the bottom half has a nice golden colour, flip the doughnuts over in the same order they started to fry; first one first and last one last.
• Remove them one by one in the same order and place them on a paper towel lined tray for a few minutes.
• After the doughnuts are done, fry up the doughnut holes.
• Dip the still warm doughnuts into the prepared glaze half way and twist as you remove them from the glaze.
• Then place the doughnuts on a wire rack with a catch tray underneath to drain off excess.
• The doughnut holes can be rolled into cinnamon sugar or chocolate shavings Yields 26 doughnuts and a few more doughnut holes.
• Discard the shortening after use.

To make 13 doughnuts:

1/8 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1 pkg. instant dry yeast
2 lb shortening for frying


  1. Gorgeous, irresistible-looking doughnuts, Zsuzsa! They remind me of the first discovery of American doughnuts with a hole (the Polish ones I'm used to don't have holes). I love the tiny ones too! They look so cute and so easy to devour in 5 minutes ;-)
    I do fry doughnuts in peanut oil quite often and have always been happy with the results, but for me the best fat to fry doughnuts is pork fat. It's impossible to detect and it gives the best doughnuts in the world. (I must post my recipe but it means making a big batch of doughnuts and eating lots of them...).

  2. Gorgeous, and even though I don't usually like deep fried foods, I am really craving on of your beautiful glazed doughnuts. Hungarian doughnuts are delightful and lite.

  3. I made the smaller batch, gave some away and between the two of us we ate three doughnuts. Today I dumped the rest. It was better than Tim Horton's, but who can eat all this fried goodness? Making doughnuts is a for large families.

  4. Zsuzsa, I'm so happy that I backtracked to see what I missed. You made my 'day' entire week, my friend!
    You have no idea how happy you've made me with your fantastic Hungarian glazed doughnuts that my mother used to make, and I also never did get her recipe. It was sheer heavenly divine...just like yours.
    I remember as a kid here in the states, she made a huge batch for me to take to school for a 'bake sale'...I was mad at her for not making chocolate chip cookies instead, like the other kids' moms, or cupcakes, but let me tell you, her doughnuts sold out in minutes...such great memories:)

    Thanks for sharing your step-by-step awesome recipes. What is that gadget you used to make the hole in it?
    I will pin this on Pinterest now!

  5. Elisabeth, I am sure both of our mothers' doughnuts were better than this. Haha the gadget was a soft plastic scoop I saved when my youngest grandbaby was on formula. I cut off the handle with a sharp pairing knife. I am not intending to start deep frying - it would have been a waste purchasing a doughnut press. My mom had a press, but she cooked for a large family. But I remember my grandma sticking her finger into the dough and forming perfect doughnuts. I tried it but mine all looked like alien blobs. You are very clever finding great things for very little… If you find a doughnut press you will know it was fate directing you to make doughnuts. I am terrible I know but good luck.




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