These old-fashioned vegan sourdough donuts are light, airy and fried to perfection.
Making Vegan Sourdough Donuts the Old-Fashioned Way
In the words of Homer Simpson, "Mmmmmmm, doooonuts". I haven't had real old-fashioned fried yeast doughnuts in ages. I've always wanted to make them from scratch and they seemed like the perfect weekend specialty sourdough recipe to try to create. (I like to try something new with my sourdough starter each week in addition to my weekly loaves.) Boy, was that a good idea. Oh my. These are dangerously good.
These doughnuts are fried up light and fluffy with a slight sourdough tang. The dough itself is not sweet. They rely on a sweet glaze, sugar dusting, or fillings to make them sweet and add different flavors. You can glaze or fill them with anything you'd like. The photos show a variety of donuts with classic vanilla bean glaze, chocolate ganache glaze, cinnamon sugar coating, and a rhubarb jam filling. This recipe made a big batch of about 18 doughnuts which is perfect for larger families or sharing with friends. We brought them to school for the teachers and staff to enjoy. You can halve this recipe if you want to make a smaller batch.
Doughnuts are best enjoyed the day they are made but I do have to say these were still pretty darn good on day 2. You can also freeze the plain doughnuts after they are fried and before adding any glaze, sugar coating or fillings then reheat them in the oven at a later date.
If you've been longing for a real old-fashioned doughnut that is vegan friendly, the time is here my friends!
Tips for Making Sourdough Doughnuts
Weigh the ingredients
I always recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients when making bread dough or baked goods. It is the most accurate way to bake and ensures that you will get the correct results from any recipe.
Use Active Starter
Make sure to feed your sourdough starter beforehand so that it is very active and bubbly when you are ready to make the dough.
Because this recipe relies solely on the sourdough starter as the leavening agent the time it takes the dough to bulk rise and proof depends greatly on the ambient temperature and humidity of the space. In general, the warmer it is the faster sourdough bread dough will rise. On top of that, this is an enriched dough, and the additions of milk, sugar, and fat tend to slow down the yeast activity and make the bulk rise time longer. If you want to speed up the rise time then you'll need to find a spot that is warm. A cold oven with the light on creates an ideal environment for this. On the other hand, if you want to slow down the rise time then you can always pop the dough into the fridge to slow down the yeast activity. The longer a dough takes to rise the more pronounced its sour flavor will be.
Do a Test Fry
Whenever I'm deep-frying something I like to start with a small tester, in this case, a small doughnut hole, before frying a whole batch up. This will help you judge the perfect temperature and time for frying the doughnuts. Don't overcrowd the pot and fry the donuts in small batches to ensure the best results.
Use a Thermometer
Use an instant thermometer to keep an eye on the oil temperature. Remember that as you add the doughnuts to the oil the temperature will drop and you may have to adjust the heat level throughout the frying process.
The Proper Tools
Have your station set up before you begin frying. Have the cooling rack and sheet pan ready to go to drain the doughnuts. Use a kitchen spider, slotted spoon or chopsticks to turn the doughnuts in the oil and remove them when they are done frying.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the best oil to use for frying?
I prefer extra-light olive oil for frying and that is what I used here. Other options include avocado oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil or vegetable oil.
What is 100% hydration sourdough starter?
100% hydration sourdough starter means a starter that is fed with equal parts by weight of flour and water.
Can doughnuts be frozen?
Yes, the plain unglazed doughnuts can be frozen for up to 6 months. Reheat them in the oven then proceed with glazing or filling them.
Can I make donuts without a stand-mixer?
Yes, the dough can be kneaded by hand until it is smooth and elastic. It will take about 10-12 minutes.
For more delicious ways to use sourdough starter check out these recipes:
- Sourdough Hot Cross Buns - Bunny Buns
- Sourdough Soda Bread
- Sourdough Naan
- Sourdough Discard Crackers
- Artichoke Olive and Spinach Stuffed Sourdough Star Bread
- Vegan Sourdough Danish
- Sourdough Chai Spice Star Wreath - Vegan Friendly
- Sourdough Jam Sandwich Cookies
For more delicious doughnuts check out these recipes:
Check out my in-depth sourdough baking e-courses here:
- Free Mini E-Course: How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter
- Create Artisan Sourdough Bread at Home
- Making Sourdough Bagels
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