• Tivoli Road doughnuts (Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson)Source: Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

Growing up, my Gran would take me to the amusement arcade, where I would watch the doughnuts coming out of the fryer into the cinnamon sugar, and eat them warm.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (48 votes)

I have always preferred filled doughnuts, however – they are a great way to play with new flavours and textures.

This is the most talked about item at our bakery, and the recipe I get asked for the most. Our doughnuts definitely got us through the early days as Melbourne entered something of a doughnut renaissance.

Check out our lamington doughnut recipe right here.


  • 190 g (6½ oz) bakers flour
  • 25 g (1 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 g salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 g fresh yeast
  • 40 g water
  • 10 g lemon oil
  • 2 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 45 g (1½ oz) butter, diced and soft
  • 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) vegetable oil, such as rice bran oil or cotton seed oil, for deep frying

Cinnamon sugar

  • 125 g (4½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 1 hour 20 mins
Rising time: 2-3 hours
Refrigeration time: overnight

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside. Combine the yeast, half the water, oil and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed to make a smooth dough.

Add the softened butter slowly while continuing to mix. Mix for 5 minutes, until the butter is fully incorporated. The dough should come away from the bowl and form a ball that is smooth, shiny and slightly sticky. Use the windowpane test to check the dough – take a small ball of dough and gently stretch it between your hands. You should be able to stretch it very thin without it breaking. If you find that it breaks easily, continue mixing for a few more minutes to work the gluten in the flour, then test it again. Leave the dough to rest in the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, for 1 hour.

After an hour, knock back the dough and fold it by lifting one side up and over the other. Do this five or six times to develop strength in the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container, then cover with a damp tea towel and refrigerate overnight to develop a complex, yeasty flavour. 

Line two trays with baking paper, and spray the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and cut it into ten equal pieces. With each piece, gently flatten the dough and bring the edges together in the middle to form a rough ball, then turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Cup your hand over the dough and use firm pressure to roll it on the bench until it forms a nice tight round ball with a smooth, even surface. Cover the doughnuts again with the damp tea towel, and leave them to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Take each doughnut and knock it flat, then fold the edges into the middle and turn it over so the seam is at the bottom. Using firm pressure, roll it into your hand on the bench again. Putting pressure on the doughnut strengthens the dough so it will rise well. Place the doughnuts on the lined trays, evenly spaced to allow for the eventual rise. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2-3 hours, or until risen by half. Test the doughnut by gently pressing the surface. If this leaves a dent, they're ready to fry, but if the dough springs back it still needs more time.

Heat the oil for deep drying to 180°C (360°F) in a large, heavy-based saucepan or deep fryer. The temperature is important. If it's too hot, the doughnuts will burn and be raw inside, but if it's not hot enough the doughnuts will stew in the oil and become soggy and greasy. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, for about a minute on each side, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to turn them and remove them from the oil, onto a plate lined with paper towel. Set them aside to cool, then dust them in cinnamon sugar and cut a slit in the side, ready for filling.



• You need to use strong flour for this dough, with a high protein content, so it can hold the structure when frying. If lemon oil is not available, feel free to use a good extra virgin olive oil.

• Make the dough the day before you fry the doughnuts. This allows the yeasty flavour to develop, and achieves a strong dough that is easier to handle.

• If you can't get fresh yeast, you can substitute with dried yeast, but just remember that fresh yeast is heavier than dried yeast. One teaspoon of fresh yeast is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried yeast, but 10 g (1/4 oz)of fresh yeast is equivalent to 5 g (1/4 oz) dried yeast.


Photography by Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson.

This recipe is from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $60) and is available in stores nationally.