Chinese Donut with Black Vinegar Caramel

Chinese Donut with Black Vinegar Caramel
8 1/2 oz (1 2/3 cups) bread flour
8 1/2 oz (1 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
rice bran oil for deep-frying
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp 5 spice powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar also known as Chinkiang vinegar
toasted and crushed peanuts
black and white sesame seeds
  • fry pot
  • spider
  • rolling pin
For the Donut
Sift both the flours into a large bowl. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Slowly add the warm water while mixing at a low speed. Once a ball starts to form, knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes (if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead by hand). Remove the dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Roll out the dough into a thin sheet 1/4 inch thick and about 6” wide. Cut the dough into roughly 1 inch strips. Run a wet finger down the length of a strip and lay another on top, pressing down lightly to seal (this will create the famous Youtiao donut shape). Let proof for about 15 minutes before frying.
For the Sugar Mix
Combine all sugar mix ingredients in a large bowl.
For the Caramel
Heat sugar and water over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Do not stir - stirring will create sugar crystals. Use a clean brush to wipe down the sides of the pot to prevent sugar crystals. Once the liquid sugar turns amber brown, take the pan off the heat and slowly whisk in the cream. Once combined, add salt and vinegar and let cool a bit before serving.
To Cook the Donuts
Heat oil to 375F using a deep-fryer or large pot. Fry in small batches for about one minute per side, until golden brown and puffy. Remove to a paper towel-lined tray briefly, then toss with the sugar mix in a bowl. Keep finished batches warm in a 175F oven until ready to serve.
To Serve
Cut or tear the donuts into halves or smaller. Serve with the caramel. Garnish with peanuts.