These Mochi donuts are by far the best donuts I have ever had. They’re truly in a league of their own—not airy and light as a feather, nor dense and cakey and requiring a glass of milk on hand. No, these mochi donuts are uniquely themselves, and thank the sticky rice gods for it.
What makes a good mochi donut?
So what’s the obsession? Let be begin with that fact that they’re soft and chewy and have a wonderful bready flavor. They’re soft like a donut should be, but not so soft that even just a light touch deflates their pillowy-ness resulting in a thin patty of sticky fried dough. No, these have texture, and just the right amount. Thinking cake donuts? Think again, these donuts are chewy, like a good challah. They have a wonderful bready, yeasty flavor, like a good challah. They have delightful air pockets, like a good challah.
Makes sense, because the dough for these donuts are made with a dough that’s very reminiscent of that of challah. The difference is that this dough features sticky rice flour goo (I’ll explain later) to upgrade these to mochi status. Brilliant. And using bread flour for donuts—also brilliant.
Now, I can’t take any of the credit for this glorious recipe. No, all the credit goes to Mandy Lee of Lady and Pups. These beautiful mochi donuts are from her debut cookbook, The Art of Escapism Cooking, A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors. I’m sharing this recipe, and this cookbook, because it’s unlike any cookbook I’ve seen before. The brilliant combination or flavors, sauces and cooking methods make Lee’s recipes not only flawless, but truly a joy to cook. And nowadays, I think it can be hard to find recipes that celebrate flavors and the actual experience of being in the kitchen and the process of creating a meal.
I guarantee you’ll be seeing this book on my annual cookbook gift guide this year!
Lee’s recipes are meant to inspire you, to help you find joy in the kitchen, and to guide you into a world of flavors you may not be familiar with. I can’t say enough about this book.
Or these donuts! Back to the donuts.
How are mochi donuts made?
Making mochi donuts, although not a short process, are fairly easy to make. So don’t be intimidated by the process!
The first step is to acquire sticky rice flour, I get mine at the local international or Asian market, but you can also find it on Amazon (like everything else). The remaining ingredients are pretty straightforward, so let’s dive into the process.
- Combine the sticky rice flour and water together in a saucepan and cook into a “goo.” Let it cool completely.
- Combine the “goo” bread flour, egg, egg white, sugar, yeast and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Knead until a dough comes together, add butter and continue to knead until smooth and sticky.
- Proof dough until doubled in size.
- Roll dough out, cut into donut shapes, then proof again until doubled in size.
- Combine honey, butter and salt for the glaze. Combine cardamom and cinnamon; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan to 325°F/160°C.
- Fry donuts until golden on each side (1 minute per side).
- Let donuts drain and cool, brush with honey-butter glaze, sprinkle with spice mixture and enjoy!
What exactly is mochi?
Mochi is a short-grained rice that has a high starch content, is sweet, and very glutinous. This type of rice is often used to make rice cakes (which are also called mochi). To do this, the rice is pounded in large tubes until it becomes very sticky. This sticky rice is then formed into balls or squares and can be served in both savory and sweet applications.
What temperature do you fry donuts at? And for how long?
Fry homemade donuts between 325°F and 375°F for about 1 minute per side.
When frying donuts, or anything for that matter, it is so important to maintain the recommended temperature in the recipe. I like to use a candy thermometer clipped to the side of my pan so I can monitor the temperature. However, most often I’m too lazy to go to the basement and get my candy thermometer, instead I reach for my trusty instant-read thermometer. Aka, my right hand man in the kitchen.
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Mochi Bread Dough
- 1 cup (117 grams) sticky rice flour*
- 1 cup (235 grams) water
- 3 cups (410 grams) bread flour, more as needed
- 1 large egg, plus 1 tablespoon egg white
- 3 tablespoons (46 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) unsalted butter
Make the dough
In a small saucepan, whisk the sticky rice flour and water until smooth, then cook it over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. It will appear lumpy at first, then eventually it becomes a big glob of sticky goo. When it does, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the sticky rice good, bread flour, egg and egg white, sugar, yeast and salt. Knead on low speed until the mixture comes together into a sticky dough (the dough may seem dry at first, but do not add water).
Add the butter, scraping the sides and bottom of bowl to ghelp the butter incorporate evenly, and knead for 7 to 8 minutes, until the dough is extremely smooth and elastic. The dough should be sticky, but only sticking to the bottom of the bowlas the machine is running, leaving a thin opaque film on the sides of the bowl. It i;s too wet—sticking everywhere as the machine is running—add 1 tablespoon of bread flour at a time and knead again until it looks right.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, 2 to 3 hours.
Shape the donuts
Dust the working surface with flour, then roll the dough into a large sheet about ⅜ inch (1cm) thick. Use a 4-inch (10-cm) dough doughnut cutter to cut out donuts. You can do it with or without doughnut holes.
Cut out a 5-inch (13-c) square of parchment paper for each doughnut. Transfer the donuts onto the squares, set them aside on large sheet pans, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let them rise again until doubled (this will mostly show in thickness instead of width), 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Make the glaze and topping
Meanwhile, combine the honey, butter, and sea salt in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has come to a simmer and the butter is melted. Set aside to let cool to room temperature and thicken.
Mix the cardamom and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Fry the donuts
When the donuts are proofed, add 1 ½ inches (4 cm) of canola oil to a deep frying pan. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 325°F/160°C.
Life one parchment paper with a doughnut on it and gently lower it into the frying oil (including the parchment). Use a fork or chopsticks (I used tongs) to press the parchment paper down do the hot oil can flood the bottom of the doughnut, which will release it from the parchment. When the parchment is free, remove with tongs. Fry until one side of the doughnut is golden brown, about 1 minute, then flip and fry until the other side is golden brown, about 1 minute more.
If it takes way faster or slower than 1 minute for each side of the doughnut to brown, the oil, is either too hot or too cold. Adjust accordingly.
Drain well (I used a spider, but a slotted spoon would work too) and set aside on a cooling rack. Repeat to make the rest of the donuts.
Drizzle the salted honey over the warm donuts and dust with cardamom mixture (a little goes a long way). Enjoy immediately.
Special equipment: stand mixer with a dough hook, rolling pin, 4-inch donut cutter (I used a round 4-inch cutter and a small ¾-inch cutter.
A note on mochi bread dough: If you prefer a softer doughnut, you can substitute all-purpose flour for half of the bread flour in this recipe.
*Rice flour vs. sticky rice flour: they are two different products! Rice flour is made from Asian short-grain rice, whereas sticky rice flour is made from sticky rice (sometimes called glutinous rice, but fyi it’s gluten-free). They have entirely different applications and characteristics and cannot, under any circumstances, be substituted for each other.
**A note on green cardamom: You probably won’t be able to find ground green cardamom for purchase. Grind the whole green cardamom pods in a spice grinder until finely ground (you’ll need about 10 cardamom pods’ worth for the grinder to work.)
- Serving Size: 1 doughnut
- Calories: 262
- Sugar: 7g
- Sodium: 68mg
- Fat: 9.5g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 4g
- Cholesterol: 16mg
Keywords: Mochi Doughnuts, Mochi Donuts, Bread Donuts, Glazed Bread donuts
This recipe was originally published in the cookbook The Art of Escapism Cooking, A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors. Reprinting writes were granted to Zestful Kitchen by William Morrow publishing for promotional purposes.