June 7, 2012
Going to Betty Ann's at Wood Island, as we did for the MBTA One Stop series, is not just about donuts. But if you sleep late, you might settle for the food half of the equation.
Bill Scantlebury's jelly donuts are made with yeast, which gives them a spongy texture cake-style donuts lack. Since WGBH News didn't ask for his recipe, we gave it our own try using sourdough starter we had on hand.
Note: Deep-fry at your own risk.
Sourdough Jelly Donuts
Adapted from 1, 2, 3, 4
1/2 c. sourdough starter
2 c. all-purpose flour
~ 1/3 c. rye flour*
scant 1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/3 c. sour milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. each fresh grated nutmeg and powdered galangal**
about 2 c. granulated sugar for coating
approx. 1/3 c. jam for filling
* Ordinary all-purpose flour is fine.
** Nutmeg is traditional. You can substitute ginger for galangal.
1. Mix the dough in a stand mixer (or knead it) to develop the gluten, about 3 minutes on second speed. Add more flour if the dough looks too wet.
2. Place the dough in a greased container, cover and let rise in a warm place. It does not have to double.
3. Pinch the dough into pieces and roll them into balls, golf-ball-sized or smaller. (They expand in the oil.) Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let proof until they look puffed and soft. It won't take long.
4. Set up:
- A deep-frying station — either a plug-in electric fryer or a pot on the stove
- A draining station — a plate covered with paper towels or a cookie rack over a rimmed baking sheet
- A sugaring station — sugar in a deep bowl
- A jelly station — a cake decorating kit with a wide metal tip works
5. For maximum inflation, tug the donuts gently around the equator until they're halfway between a ball and a disk. Carefully lower the donuts into the oil with a slotted metal spoon. Fry only a couple at a time so the oil stays hot. Flip after about 4 minutes if they don't flip over on their own. Let the donuts brown. Don't jump the gun.
6. Drain. Roll in sugar while still warm. Wait a few minutes, then inject the donut with jelly (or dulce de leche, or Nutella, etc.). You may need to start the hole in the donuts with a chopstick or skewer. Sugar the hand that holds the donut so you don't knock the sugar off.
If this is all too much work, Betty Ann's is open from 7 a.m. to 10 or 10:30 a.m. every day but Monday.