1. Make the yeasted dough. You’ll start by mixing the yeast with warmed milk and a bit of sugar before building the rest of the dough. When it’s nice and bubbly, you’ll add the dry ingredients and mix with a stand mixer to develop a springy dough that will double in size in its first rise. Ideally, you’ll let this first rise happen in the fridge overnight for about 8 hours, but you can also let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
2. Roll out the dough and punch out the doughnuts. After the dough has doubled, roll it out and punch into 3-inch rounds, then use a 1-inch cutter for the doughnut’s holes. Arrange the doughnuts on a few baking sheets lightly dusted with flour. You can stash these in the fridge overnight for their second rise, or let them rise at room temperature for 45 minutes. Use this time to get your fry oil ready.
3. Fry the doughnuts. Before you heat the fry oil, set up some draining racks and get your thermometer in place. Frying in a heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, helps keep splatters to a minimum. Kitchn’s Food Editor-at-Large, Christine Gallary, introduced me to using chopsticks for flipping and transferring the delicate doughnut dough, and I’ll never go back to using tongs.
4. Glaze the doughnuts. The glaze for these doughnuts is a combination of melted butter, milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. You can make the glaze in the microwave (gently reheating in 30-second bursts), or use a small saucepan to keep the glaze warm on the stovetop. A warm doughnut dipped in warm glaze with give you the best results.