Whole Living Daily

Gluten-Free Vegan Yeast Donuts: Food Allergy Recipe Challenge #5

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Last week’s challenge, “Gluten-Free Vegan Donuts” , really pleased my six-year-old son, Monte.  This week’s challenge, “Gluten Free Vegan Yeast Donuts,” really pleased my husband, Adam, who grew up working at flea markets every weekend in New York.

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1 The finished product: Gluten-Free Yeast Donuts!

2 Proof the yeast.

3 Roll out dough and cut with donut cutter.

4 Use your finger if necessary to get the dough out. Any indentations will disappear as the donuts rise.

5 Donuts should look like this after they have risen.

6 Use a spatula to slip the donuts into the oil.

7 Fry until they're golden.

8 Turn the fried donuts in cinnamon sugar for a sweet coating.

9 Another after shot!

10 Dont's forget about the donut holes! They're deliciously bite sized.

Adam took a bite and said they tasted just like Zeppole, the Italian-American ricotta cheese-based donuts.  Luckily, my husband loves Zeppole, and thinks it’s pretty cool that I’ve replicated the flavor with absolutely no eggs, gluten (which he is intolerant to), or dairy (which he is allergic to). So let’s just call these “Zeppole-Style Gluten-Free Vegan Yeast Donuts”.  Whoa, that’s a mouthful.  Forget about saying it; just pop a donut hole in your mouth instead. Enjoy, and pretend you’re at a street fair, or flea market, or perhaps even an amusement park somewhere on a hot summer night.

FYI, I will continue working on this donut until it tastes like a donut through and through. To me, gluten-free or not, a homemade donut should remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen. Look for the next incarnation of this recipe, coming to you in video format, this fall, on a computer near you. And I’m still wondering, what kind of donuts do you like best? Let me know by leaving a comment here , and keep the requests coming!

Zeppole-Style Gluten-Free Vegan Yeast Donuts
Makes 12 donuts and 12 donut holes

Homemade donuts always remind me of state fairs, and my grandmother.  These Gluten-Free Vegan fried donuts also remind me of Coney Island, and the celebration of Saint Joseph’s Day in NYC. Why? They are part donut, part zeppole.  Get 'em while they’re hot!

  • 1 (.25 oz) packet rapid rise yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water (110°F)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar  + 1 ½ teaspoons for sprinkling on yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seed meal mixed with 3 Tablespoons hot water (“flax egg”)
  • ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons warm rice milk (110°F)
  • 2 ½ cups Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend, or my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • canola oil for frying
  • Cinnamon Sugar (1/4 cup of granulated sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon ground cinammon)
  • confectioners’ sugar (optional)
  1. Combine warm water and yeast, mixing well. Add 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar, mix, and set aside to proof the yeast, 10 minutes. It should foam.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining granulated sugar and the vegetable shortening, mixing on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Add the yeast mixture, the flax egg, and the rice milk. Mix until combined.
  3. Measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Combine flour mix with xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well.
  4. Add half flour mix to main bowl, mixing well on medium speed until combined, then add rest of flour mix; mix until dough balls in the center of the bowl. Don’t rush it.  Use hands to pat dough into a smooth ball. If too sticky, sprinkle with a little flour mix until ball is round and smooth.  Place back in bowl and cover with a kitchen towel; let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with a little bit of flour mix.  Place dough onto parchment, sprinkle with a tiny bit more flour mix and roll out to a ½-inch thick. Remove top sheet of parchment.  Using a floured donut cutter, cut out donuts and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Flour the donut cutter before you make each cut.  I use my fingers to poke the donut hole out of the center of the cutter if the dough sticks. Same thing with the donut. Just gently poke it out with your finger, coaxing it to drop onto the baking sheet. Flip. Don’t be shy about this; any finger indents will disappear in the donuts’ rise.  Once you’ve cut out as many donuts as possible, gather together the scraps of dough, mold together, and roll out to ½-inch thick again. Cut out remaining donuts. Cover donuts with a light kitchen towel, and place in unheated oven. Fill a large pan with boiling water and place on bottom of oven.  Let donuts rise to twice their height, about 2 hours. They should be 1-inch high.
  6. Fill a heavy flat-bottomed pan or pot 3 inches deep with canola oil. Heat to 350°F. (or if using a deep fryer, heat to 350°F).  Using a greased slotted or regular spatula, slide donuts into hot oil. Cook 3 at a time. Cook until a lovely rich golden color, about 2-3 minutes, flipping them once.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Cook donut holes in batches of 6.  Let oil come back to 350°F between batches for best results.
  7. Either turn donuts in cinnamon sugar while still warm, to coat, or let cool to room temperature and place in a zip-lock bag with powdered sugar, and shake to coat. Best when eaten fresh (like all donuts), or they can be frozen and then thawed on counter, on demand.

Zeppole-Style Gluten-Free Vegan Yeast Donuts
Copyright © 2010 by Cybele Pascal

Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Makes 6 cups

The key to the very best gluten-free baked goods is Authentic Foods superfine brown rice flour; it is the Cadillac, or cashmere, of brown rice flours and is worth its weight in gold. It is not grainy like other rice flours, and bakes the most fantastic cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and so on. If you can’t find it at your local natural foods market or Whole Foods, order it online. Both Ener-G and Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flours will also work in these recipes, but they won’t turn out quite as well. The brands of potato starch and tapioca flour or starch are not as important; I find them all interchangeable. (Please see Resources, page 177, of The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook for more information.)

  • 4 cups superfine brown rice flour
  • 1 1⁄3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 2⁄3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1. To measure flour, use a large spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife or straightedge. Do not use the measuring cup itself to scoop your flour when measuring! It will compact the flour and you will wind up with too much for the recipe.

2. Combine all ingredients in a gallon-size zipper-top bag. Shake until well blended. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix recipe reprinted with permission from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook: How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame. Copyright © 2009 by Cybele Pascal, Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

Zeppole-Style Gluten-Free Vegan Yeast Donuts
Copyright © 2010 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.

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Comments (18)

  • Definitely want a chocolate donut recipe . . . not just chocolate dipped, but chocolate through and through. My second choice would be molasses.

  • My favorite donut, is a cream filled raised donut, just like they make at Dunkin' Donuts. The vanilla cream is my ultimate fav, but if we could do a raised filled donut, it would be SUPER easy to fill with raspberry jam, or vanilla pudding (for boston cream).

    Can't wait to try the yeast donut recipe, but it will have to wait until the weekend!

  • I second the filled donut! Those are my fav too!

  • Cybele dear....do you have any recipes on jam/jellies using agave nectar that are tried and true recipes?

    I so much appreciate all your info you have on your websites/FB. ITS such a HUGE ole help to me.

    I am having issues with health due to being GF, no dairy, no cheeses, no sugar, no beans, and can only have blueberries,raspberrys,blackberries,and strawberrys...Think I am going outta my mind with all this! GRRSS@it.but keep plugging away.

    Many thanks!

    Sheryl Marking

  • Those look very tasty, Cybele. I will have to try them. I am sure my foster family would love to taste these. I am not vegan or anything, but these look absolutely delicious!

  • Delicious!! I decided to make these for my two sons who are 3 and 4 and they thought they were the best!! And your husband was right they remind me of Zeppole!! Anyways great recipe! I always enjoy your stuff!

  • Oh yum I am going to try this one out for sure.

  • So happy to see a recipe without milk and wheat...My son was just diagnosed with allergies to both and it has been less than fun trying to find recipes that taste good and he can eat. Thank you for this one, we will definitely be trying it soon! :)

  • wow!!! i wanna try to make them!!!
    nice one cybele!! ^__________^
    i'm italian and i know very well zeppole.. my granmother use to make them for all the children as snacks since i was little.. and i still like them!! XD
    many compliments to you and for your gluten free ideas!!

  • OMG! Those look good. Please come over and make them for me! :)

  • Rasberry filled jelly doughnuts- so sad when my husband and older two go to get them and the baby and I can't go....

  • [...] Gluten-free recipe from Whole Living Daily: http://wholelivingdaily.wholeliving.com/2010/06/fried-donuts-food-allerg… [...]

  • [...] were so small it was the perfect little bite..a great proportion of donut to sugar. The recipe is here and was followed to the letter as requested by the Daring [...]

  • These are similar to the bomboloni I make, except that gluten-free part. I will def. pass this on to the other prek moms, some of whom are on gluten-free diets :)

  • Cherry Cake Doughnuts or Vanilla Cream Filled!

  • I tried these this morning and I have to be honest, they were not very tasty. I followed the recipe exactly, but the flavor was very bland. I think it should have some more sweetener in the recipe. The sugar coating did not help. Sorry.

  • Hey, I just started reading on this particular site today, and I got inspired by this recipe. I'm pretty sure I followed everything to a tee, but my dough did not come together as you described. It remained too sticky to really work with and gooey even after adding nearly half a cup more flour mixture. As a result, the doughnuts didn't rise vertically, but horizontally and it was overall a major disappointment. Can you tell me what may have gone wrong?


  • [...] Gluten-Free Vegan Yeasted Donuts [...]

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