Tangzhong doughnuts are incredibly soft & fluffy. Proved overnight & finished with a brown butter glaze, the flavour is next level!

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overnight tangzhong doughnuts brown butter glaze
This recipe will make at least 6 tangzhong doughnuts plus doughnut holes.

You can’t beat a good homemade doughnut & these are easily the best batch I’ve ever made!

Proved overnight for extra flavour, these are incredibly soft & fluffy thanks to the tangzhong, butter & eggs in the dough. Deep fried & finished with a brown butter glaze, these doughnuts have a real gentle, nutty flavour & are so much better than shop bought!

Want to find out how to make the best tangzhong doughnuts ever? Keep reading to find out!

What Is A Tangzhong?

A technique that originates from Asia, a tangzhong is where a small amount of the flour & liquid in a bread recipe is pre cooked in a saucepan to make a thick paste (like a roux). This paste is then cooled down & added in to the dough along with the remaining flour & water.

doughnut crumb
Tangzhong doughnuts are super light & fluffy!

Ingredients Used

White Bread Flour

A strong bread flour is needed for the long, cold prove that we give this dough. Pretty much any type will work but if you’re in the UK, I’d recommend the Canadian white bread flour from Shipton Mill.

Dried Active Yeast

This is the type of yeast that I use for all of my yeasted breads as I find that it gives the best rise & texture. It needs activating in warm milk (a temperature around 38°c/100°f) before using.

Milk, Eggs & Butter

For the best results, doughnuts need to be made with an enriched dough. Adding milk, eggs & butter makes a more flavourful doughnut with a soft, fluffy texture.

For the glaze, brown butter is used to add a subtle, nutty flavour & milk is used for a smooth texture and rich taste.

Sugar

We’re making a sweet doughnuts so we need to add sugar to the dough. As we’re glazing them as well, only a small amount is added into the dough so that they’re not overly sweet.

The dough is made with caster sugar & the glaze, icing sugar.

Salt

A good quality sea salt works best for almost all bread doughs. My go to amount is a baker’s percentage of 2% as I find that it provides the right balance between flavour & dough structure.

Vanilla

For an extra hit of flavour, we’re adding vanilla into the dough & glaze. A small amount of high quality vanilla goes a long way!

frying ring doughnuts

How To Make Tangzhong Doughnuts

Step 1 – Make The Tangzhong

The tangzhong is made like a roux. Simply whisk together white bread flour, milk & water in a pan then cook over a low heat until thick. This will take roughly 30 seconds so make sure to stir it constantly!

The tangzhong needs to be at room temperature when it goes into the dough so will need to cool down for around 30 minutes.

Step 2 – Mixing Dough

To make the dough, we need to activate the yeast in warm milk first.

Next, we place flour, salt, sugar, egg, the tangzhong & activated yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. This is then kneaded for 5 minutes then softened butter is mixed in. We then continue kneading until the dough passes the windowpane test.

Step 3 – Room Temperature Prove

The next step is a short, room temperature prove. This is only for 30 minutes then the dough goes into the fridge.

Step 4 – Overnight Cold Prove

To improve the dough’s flavour, we’re giving it an overnight prove in the fridge. This is for at least 12 hours & up to 18. This improves the dough’s flavour, texture & crumb.

Step 5 – Rolling Out & Cutting

To shape the doughnuts, we use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of half an inch. Then we use a 3¼” circular cutter to cut out as many doughnuts out of the dough as possible. A 1″ cutter is used to cut a hole in the centre of each.

With any leftover dough, you can either cut out more 1″ doughnut holes or gently re roll it. This dough works best if only rolled out once so I’d recommend going for the first option.

Step 7 – Frying

You’ll either need a deep fat fryer to cook these doughnuts or a pan of oil heated on the stove. If possible I’d use a fryer as it is much safer & more accurate.

To cook, the oil needs to be at a temperature of 190°c/375°f. The doughnuts will cook in a matter of minutes & should be a deep, golden brown colour. We’re talking 1-2 minutes on each side!

The doughnut holes will cook in a much shorter amount of time. Around 30 seconds – 1 minute on each side.

Step 8 – Glazing

The final step is the glaze. To make this, we make brown butter then whisk in icing sugar, milk, vanilla paste & salt. We then completely coat each doughnut with the glaze, whilst they are still warm then leave to drain on a cooling rack.

The glaze will take around 20 minutes to set then the doughnuts should either be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To learn more about making brown butter, have a look at my how to make brown butter guide.

The Windowpane Test

We use the windowpane method to assess how the gluten is developing in bread dough. To do this, take a small amount of dough & stretch it between your fingers. If it stretches thin enough to see through, it’s ready. If it tears, it needs to be kneaded for longer.

doughnut holes
Doughnut holes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use instant or fresh yeast?

To use fresh yeast, you’ll need to use double the amount & activate it in warm milk. To use instant yeast, use the same amount as stated in the recipe but it keep in mind that it won’t need activating in the milk before using.

Can this dough be made into filled doughnuts?

To make filled doughnuts, shape the dough into balls instead of rings. They might need a minute or two of extra cooking.

Do these have to be deep fried?

In short, yes. Although possible, you won’t get the same flavour & texture if you bake them instead.

Can the doughnuts be rolled in sugar instead of glaze?

Absolutely! Some vanilla or cinnamon flavoured sugar would work great!

How should these doughnuts be stored?

As the glaze contains milk, the doughnuts need to be stored in the fridge. I’d recommend letting them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Equipment Used

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overnight tangzhong doughnuts
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5 from 1 vote

Overnight Tangzhong Doughnuts

Tangzhong doughnuts are incredibly soft & fluffy. Proved overnight & finished with a brown butter glaze, the flavour is next level!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Proving Time16 hours
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 People
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Deep Fat Fryer
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Digital Scales
  • Rolling Pin
  • Heatproof Jug
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Circular Cutters 3¼" & 1"
  • Cooling Rack

Ingredients

Tangzhong

  • 15 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 30 g Whole Milk
  • 30 g Water

Dough

  • 145 g Whole Milk
  • 3 g Dried Active Yeast
  • 285 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 6 g Fine Sea Salt
  • 45 g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 55 g Unsalted Butter At Room Temperature

Brown Butter Glaze

  • 50 g Unsalted Butter
  • 300 g Icing Sugar Sifted
  • 50 g Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
  • A Pinch Of Table Salt

Instructions

Tangzhong

  • For the tangzhong, place the flour, milk & water into a saucepan & whisk to combine. Cook over a low heat until you have a thick paste, stirring constantly with a spatula.
    Transfer to a bowl & leave to cool to room temperature.

Dough

  • Next, place the milk into a jug & warm in the microwave to 38°c/100°f (alternatively you could heat this up in a saucepan then transfer to a jug), then whisk in the yeast & leave to go bubbly, 5-10 minutes.
  • Place the bread flour, salt & sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer then stir together. Next, add in the egg, yolk & tangzhong.
    Give the yeast & milk another whisk then add into the flour.
  • Using the dough hook, knead the dough on a medium speed until smooth & starting to come away from the sides of the bowl. This will take around 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer still going, add in the butter a small amount at a time, incorporating each piece fully before adding more. Once all the butter has been incorporated, keep mixing until the dough passes the window pane test*, 5-10 minutes.
    *See the post above for more info on the windowpane test!
  • Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl then cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove at room temperature for 30 minutes then transfer into the fridge.
    Leave to cold prove in the fridge for at least 12 hours & up to 18.
  • The next day, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface then use a rolling pin to roll out to a thickness of ½".
  • Using a 3¼" (82mm) circular cutter, cut out as many doughnuts from the dough as possible. You should get at least 6.
    Use a 1" (25mm) to cut a hole out of the centre of each doughnut.
    If you dip the cutters into flour before cutting the dough, they won't stick.
  • Transfer each doughnut onto it's own square of baking parchment & place the doughnut holes onto a lined baking tray.
    With any remaining dough, you can either cut them into small pieces with the 1" cutter or gently re roll it & cut more doughnuts out – see notes.
  • Cover the doughnuts with an upside down baking/roasting tray & leave to prove for 1 hour.
    They will have risen slightly & if you press on the dough lightly, the indent should fill back in slowly.

Brown Butter Glaze – Part 1

  • Place the butter for the glaze into a saucepan & set over a medium heat. Cook until browned then pour into a mixing bowl & set aside to cool.

Frying

  • Preheat a deep fat fryer to 190°c/375°f.
  • Cook the doughnut holes first.
    To do this, gently drop them into the hot oil & cook for 1-2 minutes, flipping over with a slotted spoon halfway through. Once they're golden brown, remove from the oil & leave to drain on a cooling rack set over a tray.
  • Now the doughnuts.
    Carefully flip a doughnut off its' baking parchment*, into the hot oil then cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, using a slotted spoon to flip over. The doughnut should be a deep, golden brown on each side.
    Remove from the oil & place onto a wire rack set over a tray, to drain.
    Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Depending on the size of your fryer you might be able to cook two or three at a time.
    *Alternatively carefully place the doughnut into the oil, parchment side up then remove using a pair of tongs.

Brown Butter Glaze – Part 2

  • Don't worry about letting the doughnuts cool, they need to be glazed whilst they are still slightly warm!
    To make the glaze, in a bowl, whisk together the cool brown butter, icing sugar, milk, vanilla & salt.
  • Dip each doughnut & doughnut hole (one at a time) into the glaze, to completely cover then place back onto the cooling rack to drain. Leave for 20 minutes to set then serve immediately.
    Alternatively, store the doughnuts in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Notes

These doughnuts are best eaten on the same day but can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
As the glaze contains milk, the doughnuts need to be stored in the fridge. I recommend letting them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
The doughnut dough works best if only rolled out once. If you do re roll the dough, make sure to do it as gently as possible.
The bread flour that I use is a Canadian white flour from Shipton Mill in the UK.

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These donuts were amazing. I’ve tried so many recipes, but this is the best one by far. The texture is very similar to Krispy Kreme donuts which I’ve tried to recreate multiple times, and I’m so happy to have finally made donuts similar to them. Of course, these taste so much better than Krispy Kreme. I am definitely saving this recipe forever. Thank you!!

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