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Rooibos & Brown Butter Doughnuts

When South African born, London based baker Weigela reached out to us earlier this month about creating something special using her favourite Good & Proper tea, Rooibos, we couldn't resist. The words 'Rooibos and Brown Butter Doughnuts' were somewhat of a selling point.

Weigela not only runs her own bakehouse, creating traditional South African rusks, she is also a dough connoisseur (you'll soon see why) and a baker at the legendary Pophams Bakery - one of our trusted and much-loved Good & Proper partners.

If you're looking to hunker down and shelter from the rain this weekend this recipe is perfect if you've got a little time on your hands, and the results are (as you can see) more than delicious.

Rooibos & Brown Butter Doughnuts
Recipe and words by Weigela’s Bakehouse

Day 1, evening:
Brown butter and cool to room temperature
Make doughnut dough, bulk rise for 2 hours and store in fridge overnight Infuse milk and store in fridge overnight

Day 2, morning:
Make rooibos custard and cool in fridge
Shape doughnuts and allow for final proof
Whip cream and add to custard
Fry doughnuts
Roll in sugar
Pipe rooibos crème diplomat into doughnuts

Total Time:

Brown butter = 10 minutes + 30 minutes refrigeration to cool
Rooibos milk infusion = 20 minutes infusing + overnight refrigeration
Dough = 3 hours (this includes 2 hours bulk rise and 1 hour proof) + overnight rest

*Note: if you decide to do the dough the same day, needs a minimum 3 hours rest in fridge Crème diplomat = 20 minutes + 2 hours refrigeration to cool
Frying = 20 mins


Brown Butter
100g unsalted butter (you will lose 20g during the browning)

Infused Milk
550g milk (this is a tiny bit more than you need, in case you lose some during the infusion)
15g Good & Proper loose leaf rooibos (approx. 4 tbls)

Demi Brioche Doughnut Dough
To bloom yeast;
5g dry yeast
30g warm rooibos infused milk
2g caster sugar

250g strong bread flour 40g sugar
5g salt
80g warm rooibos infused milk
2 whole eggs (approx. 100g)
80g soft brown butter (room temperature)
1l sunflower oil for frying

Rooibos Crème Diplomat
335g rooibos infused milk
110g caster sugar
3 yolks (please weigh, approx. 55-60g) 25g corn flour
25g white chocolate +
100g double cream

What is crème diplomat? It’s essentially a custard that is ‘lightened’ with whipped cream, and it's delicious!


Add 100g butter to a small pot, medium heat. Leave for a few minutes to melt down.
Once the bubbling has audibly stopped, stir the butter around to loosen the burnt bits from the bottom. It may foam, this is okay.

Once the butter has reached an amber colour with dark brown bits (+ a lovely nutty smell), you can remove from the heat. Place in a separate bowl in the fridge to cool down (keep checking on it so that you can use it at an optimal room temp). This should take about 30 minutes.

If the brown butter smells rancid and is more of a mahogany / black colour you may have gone too far, be careful and control the temperature in the last stage of browning.

Infused Milk
Add your Good & Proper rooibos (loose leaf) tea and milk to a small pot. Simmer on a medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from heat and cover with cling wrap to continue infusing for a minimum of 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour if you have the time. Strain the loose leaf rooibos from your milk before use.

*Note: use what you need for the dough and then refrigerate the rest for the custard

Bloom yeast with 30g warm infused milk and 2g sugar (for 5 min), make sure the mixture is foamy and has little bubbles. If not, your yeast may be out of date.

Add the rest of your dry ingredients to your stand mixer and mix together, with your dough hook. Add yeast mixture, eggs and the 80g of slightly warm infused milk.

Once combined, mix on medium speed for 8 mins. This is to get the dough at a medium gluten development.
Now add your room temperature brown butter while mixing on a medium speed. Once the butter has been added, continue to mix on high speed for 4-5 mins until dough is smooth, shiny and the dough has strengthened. The dough will be noticeably stronger, you will see the change in strength when you pull on the dough, versus 5 minutes prior.

Transfer to a lightly oiled (natural oil) bowl, cover with cling film and leave at room temperature to bulk rise. Check back after 2 hours, should have doubled in size.

‘Punch’ down the dough to release some gas. Transfer to a large clean container and rest in fridge overnight, or for at least 3 hours if you prefer to use the dough within the same day.

*Note: in this case, cold dough is much easier to work with!

Dough Shaping
Prepare 8 x rectangles of grease proof paper (12 x 10cm each).
Lightly flour a side section of your worktop. Individually weigh out your doughnuts, at 65-70g each. Dab the topside of the dough onto your floured surface, turn it over so that the sticky side of the dough is on the worktop. Using the palm of your hand make a cup over the dough, shape the dough by moving your hand in a circular motion. The sticky side touching the worktop should create a pull and bring the dough together into a tight little ball. Try not over work it, as it comes into a ball you can stop.

Place your ball onto the grease proof paper rectangle, on a large tray. Once you have all 8 dough balls, loosely cover the tray with cling wrap and allow for the final proof, about 1 hour.

*Note: the final proof time varies based on the temperature in the room. If its winter it may take 2 hours instead of 1 hour, whereas in summer they could be ready in 45 minutes.
I proofed mine for 1 hour 15 minutes, it was a bit humid and 18’c outside.

Rooibos infused Crème Diplomat
First prepare your custard base! Bring your infused milk to the boil in a small pot, add half of your sugar and dissolve.
In the meantime, weigh out your yolks and the other half of your sugar into the same bowl. Whisk together immediately after weighing out, until combined. Add your cornflour and whisk until thick and completely smooth.

Temper the egg mix, by pouring 1/3 of the sugary milk into your egg mixture. Whisk until smooth. Continue to temper by adding another 1/3 of the milk. Pour this mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk. Whisk continuously until the custard is thick, smooth and starts bubbling (should only take 2-3 minutes). Break in the white chocolate and whisk more.

Your custard will be a lovely terracotta colour from the rooibos infusion.
It shouldn’t be lumpy, but either way, use a stick blender to blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, you can strain through a mesh sieve while the custard is still hot. Transfer to a container, directly cover your custard with cling wrap and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours (or until cold).

When your custard is completely cold, whisk your double cream in a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), until you achieve a firm whipped cream.

Take your rooibos custard out the fridge. Remove 2 spoon fulls of whipped cream from your stand mixer bowl and set aside. Add your custard straight into the mixing bowl and whisk until the cream and custard are combined and its silky smooth. Now, change out for a spatula and fold in the remaining cream you set aside. Allow to set in the fridge for 2 hours. When you are ready to finish your doughnuts, transfer your crème diplomat to a piping bag.

When your doughnuts are proofed. Add your sunflower oil to a large pot. Using your thermometer, get the temperature to about 165’c (maximum of 175’c).
Lift your doughnut up holding two corners of the grease proof paper. Gently drop into the oil as close to the surface as possible to prevent splashing. As soon as the doughnut is in the oil, carefully remove the grease proof paper by grabbing a corner. The doughnuts only need 2 minutes per side (4 minutes total). When they are done, use a slotted spoon to remove them and let them drain slightly on kitchen paper.

*Note: I only fried two doughnuts at once. Make sure to keep an eye on the temperature.

Use a knife to puncture a hole on the side of each doughnut, be careful not to go through all the way. Roll your cooled doughnuts in caster sugar.
Now, grab your piping bag and insert it in the hole, pipe in until the doughnut is full and brimming. You will feel the weight of your doughnut increase as you pipe. This recipe makes exactly enough custard for 8 doughnuts.

Best enjoyed on the same day with a freshly brewed pot of tea. They will also remain fresh for a further 24 hours if stored in a sealed container! Enjoy. 



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