Deep in a hole - doughnut problems - need help!
I've been making doughnuts now for about 6 months, working on a recipe that works for me. It was all working out great until about 4 weeks ago when all of a sudden my doughnuts were coming out very oily. I'm baffled by the sudden failure, and the doughtnuts are now not of a quality to be sold/shared.
Since then I've done about 9 recipe variations to try and solve the problem, I'm closer, but really need help here - I thought I could solve it myself but I'm having to light up the bat signal on this one.
here is the current 1/2 batch recipe I've be using the debug my dough.
- 385gm Flour
- 150ml Milk
- 1 egg + 1 yolk
- 25 gm butter
- 2 tsp of yeast (8gm)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/3 tsp diastatic malt
- 50gm sugar
- pinch of nutmeg
mixed in machine, pounded butter added after mix has hydrated (5mins) mixed till it clears the bowl and passes the window pane test.
stretch n fold into an oiled bowl then bulk rise overnight in the refrigerator.
de-gas dough and roll out cold to 15mm on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a sharp, floured doughnut cutter (ring and berliner) and final rise on lightly floured parchment paper. Air dried for 15mins.
Fried at 185c for ~1min per side (+/- 10sec depending on doughnut type)
So firstly, the ways I've adjusted the recipe so far (without any change to the oily problem)
- Hydration at 55%, 60%, 65%
- under mixing and complete mixing
- reduced yeast to 1tsp, increase to 3tsp
- no butter
- skim milk powder instead of milk
- mixed at ~20-22c, mixed at ~26-27c
- oiled parchment paper instead of floured
- fried at 175c, 185c and 190c
- changed oil - canola oil to sunflower oil
- changed flour brand
The image attached is from today's test batch...
so to run through it...
the top image shows the difference in the top and bottom colouration and texture of the doughnuts - both sides got equal fry time. The darker side is the air-dried top, with the lighter being the side touching the parchment while rising.
The dried surface is (obviously, but the camera has exaggerated it) darker with a blistered, coarse surface. Conversely the parchment side, is smooth and an agreeable colour. Notably, the dry side has absorbed slightly less oil that the parchment side.
The middle images show a close up of the cut berliner (and the oil I could squeeze out of it ). The berliners were the worst with a bad rise and the worst oil absorption.
The bottom row of images show the difference between a boulé formed doughnut versus a cut doughnut (a ring in this case) the rightmost image highlights how far the oil has penetrated the doughnut - maybe a good 1cm :(
The real surprise, and probably the only hint to what is going on here is that the boulé has not absorbed any oil, and is pretty close to correct, while the cut doughnuts are absorbing the oil aggressively. The boulé is how the doughnuts used to turn out a month ago.
how to fix this problem?
From what I can see nothing has changed in my recipe or ingredients to cause the issue, The only ingredient that I haven't changed has been the yeast type. The process hasn't changed much other than I have recently been mixing more completely - with attaining a very smooth elastic dough - but I have done tests undermixing to see if this was a problem, and it doesn't seem to be.
The other change I can see if that the weather has become much warmer recently.
How do I stop the oil absorbtion?
The surface is coarse and odd except for the boule test - does this mean its a surface tension problem? if so how to achieve the surface tension in a bench cut doughnut? Do I need an additive to compensate?
Lower hydration (55%) reduced absorption slightly, but not significantly enough to justify the adverse effect on the doughnut texture.
What is happening here? I am at a total loss, anyone have any ideas? I'd be very grateful of any thoughts.