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How to Make a Light, Perfectly Baked Donut

by Shailynn Krow, studioD

Homemade donuts are great to wake up to in the morning. With that crispy exterior and buttery, soft interior, you might find yourself having trouble eating just one. A baked donut cuts down on the fat associated with fried donuts, but still has a similar enough taste and texture to the fried ones to be a scrumptious stand-in. Just use a light flour and a high-fat liquid and you can satisfy your donut craving.

Use the Right Flour

Use pastry or cake flour instead of all-purpose flour for an airy, tender donut. These flours have a lighter protein content -- about 7 to 9 percent -- in comparison to all-purpose flour, at 10 to 12 percent. If you don’t have pastry or cake flour, make your own by using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 cup of all-purpose flour for every 1 cup of pastry or cake flour.

Think of Fats

Add buttermilk or yogurt in place of water or milk in your donut recipe. Buttermilk creates a fluffy, cake-like texture that remains moist during the baking process. If you want a little extra flavor, use a vanilla or other flavored yogurt in your donut recipe.

Mix It Right

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and set aside. Beat the wet ingredients until foamy, then add the liquid to the dry. Don’t over-mix your donuts -- this can cause them to become tough. Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined, and let it be -- even if there are small lumps.

Prepare the Pan

Use a non-stick, baking spray on your donut pan to keep the donuts from sticking. Baking sprays contain a small amount of flour. If you don’t have a donut pan, use a large muffin pan -- your donut won't have a hole like it would with a donut pan, but will still taste the same. Fill the donut hole forms or muffin tin slots half full -- this gives the donut enough space to rise, and prevents it from baking unevenly.

Bake Just Right

Put donuts in a preheated oven, using the temperature recommended by your recipe. Bake the donuts until the exterior is golden brown. Test doneness by pressing on the donut. If it springs back quickly when lightly touched, it’s ready to be removed. If the impression of your finger stays on the donut, it needs to bake a little longer. Remove donuts from the pan immediately and let them cool on a wire rack. For the donut shop look, top them with vanilla or chocolate glazes and sprinkle on toasted coconut, toasted nuts or sprinkles to finish.

About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

Photo Credits

  • ITStock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images