Well. I’m only one day late. It’s not entirely my fault. (Actually, it is… …one of these days I might learn to plan ahead.) If only the BBB dough had taken just 3 or 4 hours to rise – as per the recipe, I might have been on time. Still, better late than never for:
“Nearly eleven o’clock,” said Pooh happily. “You’re just in time for a little smackerel of something.”
We are the fortunate ones; there are so many traditional yeasted delights to bake in December: Lucia Buns, Finnish cardamom bread, Brioche Flowers, Clark’s Bread, Stollen, Panettone, Babas au Rhum, . . . And then there are the non-yeasted delights too: scones, various kinds of shortbread, vinarterta, fruitcake, chocolate bark, cherry snowballs, crescents, cheese biscuits, . . . .
And now, thanks to Pat (aka Elle), we will have currant doughnuts – baked (Yay!), rather than deep-fried – to add to our feasts as well.
Here’s how things went with making these doughnuts:
BBB Baked Currant Buns diary:
1 November 2018, 11:54am I love currants in bread! I also really like the idea of doughnuts that AREN’T deep-fried. What an excellent choice for December!
11 December 2018, 14:34 I just realized that this Sunday is the 16th! (How can that be?!) I think I’m going to make these doughnuts either tomorrow or Friday….
Being the measuring freak I am, I have once again converted the volume measures to weights. (I also added the amount for the granulated sugar, as per the instructions.)
I’m afraid I had difficulty with the salt though (Ha! You know me. I’m really a freak about measuring salt!)
From the internet, a teaspoon of table salt weighs 5.69, 6, 6.1, 6.24 OR 6.33 gm. I only found one measure for one teaspoon of Kosher Salt: 3.5 gms.
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | salt is salt, right?
2 teaspoons kosher salt
– from BBB recipe for baked currant doughnuts
Two teaspoons of kosher salt, eh? According to various searches on the internet and what kind of kosher salt is used, two teaspoons of kosher salt could weigh 6, 7, 7.5, 10, OR 11gm.
Scrolling down on Dad Cooks Dinner | Salt by Weight, there is a handy chart showing the various weights for different salt:
- Real Salt Kosher Salt: 2tsp = 11gm
- Morton’s Kosher Salt: 2tsp = 10gm
- Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 2tsp = 7.5gm
Salt affects dough texture, making it stronger and less sticky […] Typically the amount of salt in a dough is between 1.8 and 2 percent of the amount of flour, by weight. If there is a large proportion of other ingredients, such as seeds, for which salt also enhances flavor, the percentage of salt could be a little higher.
– Susan, The Role of Salt in Bread, Wild Yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour (I added about another 1/2 cup in 1 tablespoon increments)
– from BBB recipe for baked currant doughnuts
With 375 grams – plus a possible extra 63 grams – all-purpose flour called for in the recipe, I’m thinking that 6gm or 7.5gm makes the most sense for a 1.6%-2% Baker’s Percentage of salt. I’ll probably end up using 8gm salt if I up the amount of flour the way that Elle did. (For more raving about measuring salt, please see salt is salt, right?)
12 December 2018, 14:23 Did I say I was going to doughnuts today? Ooops!!
14 December 2018, 13:09 I just mixed the dough. Slack, isn’t it? And I haven’t even added the salt and the pre-soaked currants yet!
13:41 Adding the salt and the currants was a breeze. I’m going to pretend that the slackness of the dough doesn’t matter. We’re headed out on our bikes to – already! – replace our Magic Bullet. ( Cheap thing only lasted 7 years! )
17:21 Oh dear. The dough doesn’t appear to have budged.
Cover and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Punch dough down, form into a ball, and return to bowl. Cover and let stand until billowy, 1 hour.
-BBB baked currant doughnuts recipe
Allow plenty of time for making the dough, […] Rising time is a little over three hours, too.
-Elle, in message to BBBabes
Let it stand in a warm place “until doubled in bulk, 1 hour”? Then “until billowy, 1 hour”?? “Rising time is a little over three hours”?!?
Hahahahahaha. As if. It’s already been 4 hours and I see no sign of any bubbles at all. I’m doomed. This always happens when there’s so much butter and sugar in the dough. And I even reduced the amounts of both!
I suspect we may be leaving it on the counter overnight and baking doughnuts tomorrow morning.
21:32 Virtually no movement at all! But it is a little bit puffier and it’s very very warm to the touch. There is also a quite alarming smell of possibly too much nutmeg and cinnamon – I even reduced the cinnamon too!
But something IS happening. It’s clear that the yeast isn’t dead. After some discussion, we decided to leave it overnight in the oven but because it’s so warm in there now, we’d turn the light off. If nothing much has happened by morning, we’ll just turn the light on again.
15 December 2018, 09:16 It’s billowy!! It’s billowy!! There is an added bonus that the overpowering smell of nutmeg and cinnamon has dissipated. Yay!
09:46 The doughnuts are preshaped now. Maybe we’ll be having freshly baked doughnuts for elevenses!
10:08 I had a bit of a dilemma about what to use to make the holes.
[P]ress each ball into a flat 4-inch disc. Using a 1 1/4-inch round cutter stamp out center of each disc. – BBB baked currant doughnuts recipe
All of our round cutters are way too big. I thought that some lovely fluted cutters would work but decided the holes would be way too small. I ended up using an eau-de-vie glass (about an inch in diameter). The doughnut holes might end up being still be too small, but I’m hoping they’ll puff out a bit. The doughnuts and their holes are now in the oven with only the light turned on. Fingers crossed that they will have “risen slightly” when I check on them.
11:02 I’ve decreed that they have “risen slightly” now. (I’m hungry….) The oven is preheating.
11:29 Wow!! Something smells fabulous! The doughnuts are half done; I just turned the trays around in the oven. And oooops!! When I say “doughnuts”, I’m using the term lightly. They have all pretty much closed up….
11:53 Well. If it were still Daylight Saving, we would be right on time for our elevenses.
Slathering melted butter on the just baked buns and holes was child’s play. Initially, I overturned them onto a saucer of sugar. That turned out to be a little annoying. So I put the buns and holes onto a large plate and scattered the sugar overtop. Once the doughnuts and holes are eaten, we’ll recycle any sugar on the plate.
We served the doughnuts with creamy goat’s cheese (T added butter and black currant jam as well) and big bowls of cafe au lait.
Wow! They taste JUST like doughnuts: the good kind of doughnuts. Even though I reduced the sugar and butter, they’re still beautifully buttery and exactly the right sweetness. They’re soft and pillowy, but not too soft or too pillowy. They’re ju-u-u-st right!
Many thanks for choosing Currant Doughnuts, Elle! This recipe is a keeper!
Here is the BBB recipe for Baked Currant Doughnuts that we were given. And here is what I did when I halved that recipe to make them:
Baked Currant Doughnuts
adapted from a recipe by Robert Jorin, of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY
makes 6 doughnuts
- 72gm dried currants + enough hot water to cover
- 3gm active dry yeast
- 25gm water (from soaking above currants) at body temperature
- 8 gm powdered skim milk + 95gm boiling water (the full BBB recipe calls for “3/4 cup milk, warmed [173gm]”)
- 30gm (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, plus 30gm (2 Tbsp) melted butter (the full BBB recipe calls for “1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted butter [for the topping]”)
- 1 egg, room temperature (the full BBB recipe calls for “1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk”)
- flour (the full BBB recipe calls for “3 cups all-purpose flour ([Elle] added about another 1/2 cup in 1 tablespoon increments) [375gm + 63gm]”)
» 185gm unbleached all-purpose flour
» 25gm 100% whole wheat flour
» 4gm wheat germ
» 4gm flax seed, finely ground
- 10gm granulated sugar (the full BBB recipe calls for “[1/4 cup] granulated sugar [50gm]”)
- scant 1gm (3/8 tsp)freshly grated nutmeg
- 0.4gm (1/8 tsp) ground cinnamon
- 4gm kosher salt + 10gm water (the BBB recipe adds ALL the liquid earlier and doesn’t hold off adding the salt)
- 15gm (1 Tbsp) melted butter
- Currants: Heat cold tap water in a kettle. Put currants into a medium-sized bowl, cover them with hot water and set aside until softened – about 20 minutes. Drain the currents (save the water!) and set both aside.
- Activating the yeast: Put yeast and 2 tablespoons body-temperature water (use the currant water) into a small bowl and whisk to dissolve the yeast. Set aside on the counter.
- Mixing the dough:
- Butter and egg: Bring 105gm water to a boil and pour into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in powdered milk. Cut the 2 Tbsp butter into the hot milk mixture to melt. The cold butter should bring the temperature down to around body temperature. Whisk in egg and spices.
- Add flours, wheat germ, flax, sugar, and yeasted water to the large mixing bowl and stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon to make a rough dough. Note that the dough will be pretty slack.
- Kneading, adding the salt and currants:
- Use one hand to turn and fold the dough as if you were washing and squeezing out socks. Do this until the dough seems quite smooth – about 5 minutes. Cover with a plate and set aside in the oven with only the light turned on for 30 minutes.
- adding the salt and currants: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.
- stretching and folding the dough and adding the currants: Dump the drained currants on top of the dough and turn it by repeatedly folding the dough over onto itself into the center. Cover with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on to allow the dough to double.
- panicking after 3 or 4 hours: Stretch and fold the dough over onto itself into the center a few more times. Try not to cry or scream too loudly at the mocking words “doubled and bulk”, “1 hour”, and “billowy” in the recipe instructions. Instead, as you’re stifling your blubbering tears, comfort yourself with the knowledge that bread wants to be bread – eventually. Cover with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on to allow the dough to double when it decides on its own when it’s good and ready. (A good way to tell if the dough is reading to shape is to run your index finger under water, then poke a hole in the center of the dough. If the hole disappears immediately, the dough still need to rise. If there is a slight whooshing sound and the hole remains in place, the dough has probably over-risen. If the hole very very gradually begins to close, the dough is ready to shape.)
- pre-shaping: When the dough has finally doubled, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scatter a dusting of flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a sphere. Put them seam side down, well apart on the baking sheets. Cover with a clean tea towel and let spheres rest for about 10 minutes.
- shaping: Flour your hands lightly and press each ball down to form a “flat 4-inch disc”. Using a small round cookie cutter, punch out a hole in the center of each disc. Place the holes, well apart, on the parchment paper. There should be 6 doughnuts and 6 holes in all. Cover with a tea towel, followed by a plastic grocery bag and leave in the oven with only the light turned on for about an hour, until risen slightly.
- baking: Preheat the oven to 400F with the rack on the top shelf. Put the trays with the doughnuts and holes on the top shelf of the oven (to prevent burning on the bottom). Immediately turn the oven down to 375F and bake for a total of about 25 minutes, turning pans around to account for uneven oven heat. They are done “when they are golden and puffy and when the internal temperature at thickest part registers 200 degrees F”.
- topping: Pour some sugar onto a saucer. Brush the just-baked doughnuts and holes with melted butter and turn the buttered pieces over onto the sugared saucer.
Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with coffee. Or tea.
Flour: The BBB recipe simply calls for all-purpose flour. I cannot stop myself from adding at least a little wheat germ, whole wheat flour and/or flax seed.
Butter and Sugar: The BBB recipe calls for considerably more butter and sugar. But, knowing from experience that these ingredients can really slow down the rise, I reduced the amounts. I doubt that it makes much difference in the final flavour. Except that our doughnuts won’t be cloyingly sweet.
Rising Time: If you are planning to bake these on the same day as mixing the dough, make sure to start early. The rise times (at least in our kitchen) are considerably longer than the times noted in the BBB recipe.
Cutter for Holes: Don’t be afraid to use a LARGE cutter to punch out the holes. The holes will close up as the doughnuts are baking. [P]ress each ball into a flat 4-inch disc. Using a 1 1/4-inch round cutter stamp out center of each disc. – BBB baked currant doughnuts recipe
Bread Baking Babes
Baked Currant Doughnuts
Pat (aka Elle) is the host of December 2018’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:
While browsing through a Food and Wine Holiday Recipes book, I saw this recipe for baked currant doughnuts and decided that this would be a fine recipe for December. […] With the granulated sugar coating they also look sort of chilly or covered with frost…seasonal. You can use a different dried fruit instead of or in addition to currants, you can play around with the flour and how you treat them once they are baked, but do make them as baked donuts, preferably with holes.
– Pat (aka Elle), in message to BBBabes
We know you’ll want to make Baked Currant Doughnuts too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the doughnuts in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 December 2018. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.
For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:
- BBB Kitchen of the month: Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms, Babes Bake Donuts for December, December 2018
- BBBuddy guidelines
- about the BBBabes
Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ December 2018 Baked Currant Doughnuts.
- Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen
- Cathy, Bread Experience: Sourdough Baked Cranberry Orange Donuts
- Judy, Judy’s Gross Eats
- Karen, Bake My Day
- Karen K, Karen’s Kitchen Stories: Baked Doughnuts with Currants
- Katie (BBBBB), Thyme for Cooking: Bread Baking Babes Bake Donuts
- Kelly, A Messy Kitchen: Baked Currant Donuts with the BBB
- Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms Babes Bake Donuts for December (kitchen of the month)
- Tanna, My Kitchen in Half Cups: BBB ~ Baked Cherry Doughnuts
As usual, it appears we are becoming ever more complacent and/or willfully ignorant.
…let them eat cake
Of course, it’s fictional that Marie Antoinette said those words. Thinking about who exactly may have said them – and when, I’m immediately put in mind of the preface John Steinbeck wrote: “Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search their own hearts, for this book is about a large part of America today“.
But this is not about fiction. This is reality. Indeed, it is about an increasingly larger part of the world today.
Paul Taylor, executive director of Foodshare Toronto […] argues food banks have created a secondary food system for impoverished people, when what’s needed are long-term solutions to address the root causes of poverty. He believes the best way to address food security is to increase basic incomes through such measures as raising minimum wages and building more affordable housing.
– Duncan McCue, CBC Radio |
Food banks no solution to rising cost of groceries in Canada, argues anti-poverty advocate, 9 December 2018
Whether or not the government’s decision to cap the minimum wage and/or fuel prices are causing greater poverty, it still remains that support of the food banks is needed more than ever. It’s essential that those of us who can, must share our wealth by donating to at least one of the reputable Food Banks in our communities.
Our supermarket has a rewards program that is “unlike any other. Tailored specially for you, with exclusive events and offers on the items you buy the most. From things you need to the indulgences you love, get rewarded for being you”. I bet that there is something similar where you live.
Following our friend R’s lead, rather than using the points just for ourselves, we use them to buy our groceries BUT make note of the amount and send an equivalent amount to our local foodbank for them to use as most needed.
There are many reputable aid agencies working to help feed the chronically hungry worldwide. Here are just a few of them to help you to help others. Please look in your community for others.
- Plan Canada
:: Gifts of Hope
- World Vision
:: Canada’s Most Meaningful Gifts: thriving fruit trees, tools for farming, or hearty seeds, farm animals, clean water, etc. etc.
- WFP United Nations World Food Program
:: Zero Hunger “Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges of our time. […] Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Programme”
- Agencies working within Canada
:: Daily Bread Foodbank
:: Second Harvest
:: Ontario Association of Food Banks
::Canadian Association of Food Banks
(If you have something to add or say about stopping world hunger, please remember to post your thoughts and ideas on your blog, facebook, at work, etc. etc.)
» Pão Doce – Sweet Portuguese Bread (BBB August 2010)
» Candied Citrus Peel and Ersatz Stollen (BBB December 2011)
» Brioche flower; or is it a star?? (BBB December 2014)
» Exploring my Celtic roots with Kouign Amann (BBB February 2015)
» not hot cross buns… cinnamon buns please (WTSIM…#4) (UofA Tuck Shop recipe)
» Banana Cinnamon Buns are delicious!
» Peachy! Jam Fan Tans (BBB January 2013)