Doughnuts & Deep Fat Frying


This 1933 edition of Housekeeper's Chat covers frying foods in particular doughnuts. It includes a doughnut recipe, tips for frying, and a Wednesday dinner menu. This is a historic, archived document; Do not assume content reflects current scientific knowledge, policies, or practices.


Subject: "Doughnuts and Deep Fat Frying". Information from the Bureau of Home Economics, U.S.D.A.

Some people have poor reputations and don't deserve then. And some foods have poor reputations and don't deserve then. Gossip, rumor and prejudice are at the bottom of many an untrue and unfair statements about people and foods. Take fried foods, for example. They get a good deal of slandering. Many people have a prejudice against them.

"Have a croquette, Oscar?"

"No, thank you, I never touch fried foods. They're so dreadfully hard on the digestion."

Oscar is mistaken. He shouldn't slander all fried foods. The way his wife does the frying may have caused his prejudice. Grease soaked foods, cooked in fat that is not hot enough, are unattractive and unpleasant to eat and may cause trouble. And foods cooked in fat, so hot that it smokes, may also cause trouble and probably are partially burned beside. But when you fry properly in deep fat, you immerse the food in hot fat of just the right temperature and keep it at that temperature until the food cooks to a turn. Then the fat doesn't soak in. If you keep the temperature right, the fat will form a crisp crust all over the outside of the food and won't penetrate farther than the surface.

And something else to consider, Oscar, is the rest of the meal that goes along with the fried dish. A great deal of the indigestion attributed to fried foods probably comes from eating them along with other rich foods and so overloading the digestive tract. If the fried dish is accompanied by plenty of succulent vegetables and fruits, you'll have little or no difficulty.

As we said, temperature is a very important point in making good doughnuts - or any other food cooked in deep fat, That's why the food experts recommend a thermometer for frying. With a thermometer you can be sure that the fat is hot enough but not too hot. If you haven't a thermometer, you can test the heat of the fat with a cube of soft bread.

Here are a few points about deep fat frying that may be helpful when you the doughnut recipe I'm going to give you today.

How much fat should you use for frying? Enough to fill your kettle about two-thirds full when the fat melts. This will be deep enough to coat the doughnuts while they cook. What kind of a kettle to use? A heavy iron or all metal kettle is "best" because it distributes the heat evenly and can stand up under the high temperatures used in frying.

If you have no thermometer, test the temperature of the fat by dropping in a cube of bread. The temperature is right for the doughnuts, if the bread browns in sixty seconds.

A frying basket is handy for lifting the doughnuts in and out of the fat without burning your fingers. If you don't have a  frying basket, a wire spoon is a handy utensil for this purpose.

Fry only a few doughnuts at a time, When you have taken one quantity out, reheat the fat and test it before you put in the second lot.
When you take your doughnuts out of the fat lay then on unglazed paper or on paper towels — something that will absorb the excess fat.

After you have used a kettle of fat for frying, cool it and clarify it and put it away in a cold place until you need it again for frying. You clarify the fat by cooking a few slices of raw potato in it for ten minutes. Then strain it through muslin or cheesecloth to remove any tiny particles of leftover food. Keep your jar of fat covered and stored in a cold place. If you are careful of the fat, if you don't allow it to become too hot during cooking and if you strain and clarify it you can use it several times for frying. After that it will do for making soap.

Now, with all that information to start with, I guess we're ready for the Recipe Lady's directions for making doughnuts. Here's a good recipe that you'll want to keep in a safe place.

Ten ingredients for these good doughnuts.

2 tablespoons of  butter
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1 l/2 teaspoons of salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of milk
l/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
5 cups of sifted flour
Fat for frying

I'll repeat that list of ten. (Repeat.)

Cream the butter. Add the sugar, the well beaten eggs and the milk. Sift the ingredients together twice and add to the first mixture. Roll a portion of the dough at a time to about l/4 inch thick and cut as many doughnuts as possible from each rolling. Do not use any more flour unless necessary. The fat should be at a temperature of 365 degrees or hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 60 seconds. A doughnut of this thickness will take about three minutes to cook. Turn the doughnuts so they brown evenly on both sides. Drain them on absorbent paper and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

So much for the doughnut recipe. The menu for today also features doughnuts. Here's the menu for a Wednesday dinner: Crisp bacon or thinly sliced fried ham; Battered spinach; Corn pudding; Salad of sliced oranges and thinly sliced mild white onions on lettuce with french dressing, For dessert, Doughnuts and Coffee.

Tomorrow I'll answer some of your questions.

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