Pour the warm milk and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast overtop. This is instant yeast so there is no need to let it proof. If you use active dry yeast, allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so until it looks frothy.
Add the egg, butter, salt and sugar.
Add in 4 cups (save the other 1/2 cup and add only if you need it) of flour and mix using the beater blade just until the ingredients are barely combined. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so the flour has time to soak up the liquids.
Scrape the dough off the beater blade and remove it. Attach the dough hook.
Beat the dough on medium speed, adding in up to 1/2 cup more flour if needed to form a dough. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. **The dough should be tacky and will still be sticking to the sides of the bowl. That's ok! Don't be tempted to add more flour at this point. We generally add about 4 1/2 cups, but start with 4 cups.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.
Use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place it in the greased large bowl.
Cover the bowl with a towel or wax paper.
Set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until double. I like to turn on the oven to the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the oven and place the dough to rise in there. It normally takes about 30-45 minutes for the dough to rise to double. It could take up to 2 hours.
Sprinkle a pastry mat lightly with flour. Turn out the dough onto the pastry mat and sprinkle the top of the dough with additional flour.
Roll the dough to about a 20×12" rectangle. (The size of the rectangle can vary…it does not have to be exact!) The dough should not be rolled too thin...about 1/2" should be good. If you roll it thicker, your donuts will be thicker and take longer to cook in the oil.
Use a donut cutter to cut donuts. Use the scraps to roll out again to cut more donuts. You'll get about 12-15 donuts with this recipe. You can fry the donut holes or roll them back into the dough. The holes are fun though!
Place the cut out donuts onto large cookie sheets and set aside to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
Add vegetable oil to a large pot, Dutch oven, or deep fryer, about 2-inches depth. Heat the oil to 350º Fahrenheit.
TIP: Use a cooking thermometer to manage the heat of the oil. If the oil is too cool it will not cook the donuts well and donuts will take in a lot of oil, or too hot and the donuts will cook too fast on the outside before the inside. You want it to stay around 350º F.
Use a metal spatula or frying “spider” to gently lower a donut into the hot oil. Add donuts to the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd them. We do about 5 donuts at a time. Fry donuts on the first side for about 45 seconds or until golden brown. Then flip and fry on the other side for no longer than 1 minute. Remove from the oil and cool on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch dripping oil. *If the donuts are really large they may take more time to cook in the oil.*
Safety Tip: Be extremely cautious when frying! Research deep frying safety tips and be very gentle when adding donuts to the oil and flipping them.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and ½ cup of whole milk. Set this donut glaze aside.
Dip the warm donuts into the glaze and return to the cooling rack for the glaze to set.
These donuts are best served warm while they’re fresh. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 12 donuts plus 12 donut holes. 1 serving is 1 regular donut or about 4 donut holes. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**