In the tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of Ravalli, Montana, there’s a bakery known as the Windmill Village Bakery nestled right off the side of Highway 93. Owned by Nancy and David Martin, this locally owned bakery makes a variety of delicious treats from sticky buns to brownies to pie. But the thing you’re really visiting the Windmill Village Bakery for is their amazing, homemade glazed donuts.
These donuts aren’t your ordinary glazed donuts. Rather than making them all in the morning, the owners make these donuts throughout the day during storefront hours, ensuring their customers get a fresh, mouth-watering donut. The texture is simply divine: pillowy and soft, but dense and comforting thanks to the potatoes in the dough, technically making this glazed donut a spudnut.
The glaze is, of course, homemade, and if you get the chance to see the donuts being prepared in the bakery, you’ll see Nancy herself dunking giant donuts into a large bowl of her perfect glaze, only to let them strain and sit a few moments before serving to hungry customers. If you think you’ve had an amazing glazed donut before, you’ll think again after you sink your teeth into these life-changing, legendary glazed donuts.
After testing and re-testing, this copycat recipe is the closest thing to the real deal. The potatoes and hot potato water are key ingredients, and russet potatoes are preferred. This glazed donut recipe can be broken down into five easy steps:
- Boil the potatoes: peel and boil the potatoes, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid (you’ll need it to be 110-115 degrees F), and mash the potatoes. Dissolve the yeast in that reserved potato liquid and set aside.
- Make the dough: combine your ingredients in a stand mixer, including your dissolved yeast/water, mashed potatoes, milk, oil, sugar, eggs, salt, and flour.
- Let the dough rise: first for one hour or until your dough doubles in size, then punch down and allow to rise for another 20 minutes.
- Cut and fry: cut the donuts and fry in hot vegetable or canola oil, three or four at a time.
- Glaze and eat: glaze each donut by hand, let strain on a cooling rack situated on top of a cookie sheet, and enjoy hot!
After dozens of direct messages on social media and providing step-by-step instructions on our Instagram Stories (see the “DONUTS” highlight), these are the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen over the past few weeks since sharing this recipe:
My dough seems very soft. Should I add more flour?
- This dough should be very soft. It should be firm enough that you can still handle it, including rolling, forming, and cutting; but it will still be very soft and may require a light dusting of flour to avoid sticking to your work surface or rolling pin. You may also want to flour your donut cutter before cutting each donut.
How many donuts does this recipe make?
- This donut makes 10-12 very large donuts, similar to the donuts served at the Windmill Village Bakery (see the first two pictures in this post for actual donuts from the bakery), or for more traditional sized donuts the recipe will make 20-24 donuts.
Can I half the recipe?
- Yes, absolutely!
Can I make the dough the night before and let it rise the next morning?
- We haven’t tested this personally, but our feedback from readers who have experimented have said that it works. Just make sure that your dough has time to double in size, and that after punching it down you allow it to rise for another 20 minutes.
Does the oil temperature really matter that much? I don’t have a thermometer.
- The oil temperature is extremely important in this recipe. Oil that’s too hot will cook the outside of your doughnut too quickly and leave you with a raw, uncooked inside, and oil that isn’t hot enough will dry out your donut and leave you with a poor end product. Invest in a candy or deep-fry thermometer or borrow one from a friend for this recipe!
I don’t have a 3 1/2 inch donut cutter- what can I use instead?
- Extra points for creativity here! You can cut with a pizza cutter (although the shape won’t be as crisp), use a bowl or cup with a narrow edge, and anything small and round to cut out the hole for the donut.
Can I add other toppings to the glaze?
- Definitely. We believe that these donuts are best as they are, with the simple sugar and vanilla glaze, but we have seen many readers make them with different flavored glazes, frostings, and toppings with success.
Windmill Village Bakery Glazed Donut Copycat Recipe
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 6 1/2 cups canola oil (1/2 cup for dough, 6 cups for frying)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Place potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with water until potatoes are covered by an inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid; cool to 110°-115°. Discard remaining cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in reserved cooking liquid. Add the mashed potatoes, milk, 1/2 cup of canola oil, sugar, eggs and salt. Mix flour to form a soft dough- you may not need the last half cup. Place in a greased bowl using cooking spray or oil, turning once to grease the top of the dough.
- Cover dough with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; let rise again until doubled, about 20 minutes. Using floured hands spread out dough on a floured surface into a round of dough that's about 10 inches in diameter, and 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick.* Cut with a floured 3 1/2 inch donut cutter.
- In a dutch oven, or deep fryer, heat the remaining canola oil to 350° F. Fry donuts, a few at a time, until dark golden brown, about 4 minutes per batch, rotating the donuts half way through. Do not allow the heat to exceed 350° F, the outside will cook too fast and leave the inside doughy.
- For glaze, in a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water and vanilla until smooth. Dip warm donuts in glaze. Cool on wire racks.