Homemade Brioche Donuts with Vanilla Pastry Cream are light, fluffy crispy and golden brown. There's nothing like making donuts at home and your family will drool over the creamy vanilla centers.
I've been so excited to experiment with a homemade donuts for months now and a couple of weeks ago I had the whole day to myself to focus on them and find the best doughnut recipe to share.
Those are the days that made me fall in love with baking in the first place. Just me, my mixer, lots of flour and a creative way to express myself and love for the ones around me.
What Makes It A Brioche Donut?
Brioche dough and breads are different than traditional yeast breads because they're made with an enriched dough that tastes a little sweeter. An enriched dough is one that includes, which is why you'll see us using whole milk and butter as the base.
The dough is not overly complicated at all. In fact, there are only a few ingredients included and you likely have all of them in your pantry right now.
- Milk: grab a whole milk at the grocery store! We're using this in the dough and the pastry cream.
- Dry active yeast: we're using about 2 1/2 packets (2 tablespoons total) for this recipe, so make sure you grab enough.
- Granulated sugar
- Butter: I like to use unsalted butter so we can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Egg and egg yolks: it's important to use a room temperature egg if possible to help the egg blend into the dough better. Grab a whole egg and 4 more just for the yolks.
- All-purpose flour
- Vanilla extract: even better if you have vanilla bean paste!
How to Make Brioche Donuts (step by step)
- Warm the milk: make sure your milk is warm enough to help the yeast active, but not too hot it kills the yeast. I took mine out of the fridge and warmed in the microwave for about 1 minute and 20 seconds to reach the desired temperature.
- Let the yeast bloom: Combine the warm milk with the active dry yeast and sugar In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted the paddle attachment. Allow the mixture to sit without mixing for 5-10 minutes or until the mix is foamy and starts to smell like bread.
- Add the wet ingredients: Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add the butter and egg and mix quickly to combine all ingredients, about 30 seconds.
- Add the flour: switch to the dough hook attachment then add 3 cups of flour and the salt to the milk mixture and knead on low speed for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour in small increments until the dough is no longer too sticky, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. It should be slightly sticky to touch.
- Rise: Place the donut dough inside an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 15 minutes while making the pastry cream. I like to heat the oven to 250°F then turn it off and place the dough in while it's still warm.
- Cut them out: Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll the dough out to 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Using a donut or circular cookie cutter, cut out 3-inch diameter rounds and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Fill the baking sheet with cut out donuts as you can before you have to re roll the dough out. While you're rolling and cutting, cover the donuts with plastic wrap so they don't get a weird film on the top.Repeat the process until all of the dough is cut out and all of the doughnuts are covered in plastic wrap.
- Fry the brioche donuts: Heat a minimum of 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed large pot or deep fryer until a candy thermometer reaches 350°F, being careful not to allow it to get too hot. Working in batches of 3 or 4, use a slotted spoon to carefully place the doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, between 1 and 2 minutes per side, flipping only once.
- Cool: Transfer the hot donuts to a wire rack or paper towels to cool then make sure the oil returns to 350°F before frying the next batch. Let the doughnuts cool completely before filling with cream. You could store the donuts in an airtight container at this point and finish making the donuts the next day.
My Favorite Part: The Pastry Cream
Now let's chat about this pastry cream. Thick, rich and creamy and it bursts the perfectly fried dough when you take a bite. The more cream oozing out of each bite, the better. If this is your first time making homemade pastry cream, have no fear. I'll walk you through it in the recipe card below. Once it's done, poke a quick hole in the donut and use a piping bag to fill them completely. I fill my doughnuts to the max and I love every bite. Is that just me?
- I highly recommend using plastic wrap. It's important for rising the dough (which only needs to sit for at least 15 mins) and then covering the brioche doughnuts before frying.
- Grab a candy thermometer. It hooks right on to the side of your frying pan and gives you a constant read of the oil temperature. You want to fry these doughnuts at 350°F to cook evenly without burning. This does the trick!
I have a strong feeling these doughnuts are going to be happening on Christmas morning in my household. Brioche doughnuts and a mimosa are in my very near future.
Oh how I love being a grown up on Christmas. Probably the only day of the year I can honestly say that. #Adulting.
The buttery brioche happening here brings joy that demonstrates what Christmas is all about. Brioche Doughnuts = Christmas cheer. And cheer all year long.
Wishing you all the merriest Christmas! Enjoy time with your families and know that I am so grateful for each one of you?❤️.
Homemade Donuts with Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 1 1/4 cups warm whole milk (108-110°F)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 packets)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter lightly melted
- 1 egg room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Candy thermometer optional
- Large pot
- In a large mixing bowl or with your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk (I took mine out of the fridge and warmed in the microwave for about 1 minute and 20 seconds to reach the desired temperature) with the active dry yeast and sugar. Allow the mixture to sit without mixing for 5-10 minutes or until the mix is foamy and starts to smell like bread.
- Once foamy, add the butter and egg and mix quickly to combine all ingredients, about 30 seconds.
- Add 3 cups of flour and the salt and knead using the dough hook or your hands until the dough comes together. If you're using a hand mixer this will take about 3 minutes. If you're using your hands it will take longer, 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour in increments until the dough is no longer too sticky. It should be slightly sticky to touch.
- Once complete, grease a large bowl and place the dough inside and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place while making the pastry cream (directions below), or at least 15 minutes.
- To fry the brioche doughnuts, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Moderately flour a clear work surface and roll the dough out to 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness. Using a doughnut or circular cookie cutter, cut out 3-inch diameter rounds and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Fill the sheet and cover with plastic wrap while finishing the rest of the dough. Repeat the process until the dough is cut out and all of the doughnuts are covered in plastic wrap.
- In a heavy-bottomed large pot or deep fryer, heat a minimum of 2 inches of oil until a frying thermometer reaches 350°F, being careful not to allow it to get too hot. Working in batches of 3 or 4, use a slotted spoon to carefully place the doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, between 1 and 2 minutes per side, flipping only once. Transfer hot doughnuts to a wire rack to cool then make sure the oil returns to 350°F before frying the next batch. Let the doughnuts cool completely before filling with cream.
- To fill the doughnuts, place the pastry cream in a pastry bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off. Insert a knife into the middle of the doughnut from the long end to create a hole. Place the tip of the pastry bag inside and fill the doughnut with cream until full.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk until thoroughly combined to create a thick paste and set aside.
- Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium high heat until you start to see wisps of steam coming off the milk, just before it starts to boil. Pour a small amount of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk to combine to bring the temperature of the eggs up without them scrambling. Continue to pour the milk in slowly, whisking continually, until completely incorporated. Once mixed, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk vigorously and constantly until the cream thickens. At first it will be very thin and frothy but will begin to thicken and turn to a pudding-like consistency after a few minutes. Pause periodically to see if the cream comes to a light boil. If you see bubbles it's done. Whisk a few more seconds and remove from the heat.
- Using a strainer, pass the cream through to ensure any cooked eggs are removed. Cover the cream directly on the surface with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool completely while you fry the doughnuts.
Here are a couple of items I used to make today’s recipe:
Strainer with Double Fine MeshThermometerGlass Bowl Set, Silicone Spatula Set, Baking Sheets, Parchment Paper, OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Rolling Pin
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