In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the lukewarm water, sugar, salt, instant yeast, lemon zest, rum and vanilla extract. Give it a stir with a fork or a whisk.If you're using active dry yeast, make sure to firstly activate it by combining with water and a teaspoon of sugar. Leave for a few minutes until the top is frothy, then proceed adding the other ingredients per instructions.
Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook and add the flour to the bowl. Knead the dough for approx. 5-8 minutes, on low-medium speed, until it becomes smooth, shiny and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
Next, add in the vegan butter, one cube at a time, with the mixer still going at medium-low speed. It will seem like it's not incorporating together, but don't worry, just keep adding it, and it will eventually start coming together, creating a sticky dough.
Once you've added all the butter and the dough is combined, but sticky, continue to knead it on low-medium speed for a few more minutes, or until it becomes smooth and soft again, and starts pulling away from the sides.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl that you've previously floured or lightly greased so it doesn't stick. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until it doubles in size. (Check the tips in the post!)
Once your dough is ready, punch it a little to deflate it, transfer on a clean, lightly floured surface and give it a brief knead. Next, weigh your dough (it should be around 950 g) and divide it into 17 pieces that each weigh 50-60 g for smaller doughnuts or 12 pieces of approx. 80g for a more standard size doughnut.Roll each piece of dough until you've got a smooth ball and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and let them rest and rise for another hour or so. (The exact time will depend on how warm and humid is the space you're letting them proof.)Alternatively, you can roll the dough and cut circles with a cookie cutter. (Check the post for tips!)
You don't want to overproof your doughnuts, otherwise they will become hollow inside and soak up a lot of oil. When the dough is ready, heat approx. 1.5 liters of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. The oil should be between 165 and 180 degrees Celsius. That's around 330 to 350F.
Fry 3-4 doughnuts at a time for a couple of minutes on each side or until golden. Take them out to a plate covered with paper towels. Let them cool completely before filling and covering with sugar.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use an electric hand mixer with dough kneading attachments, a wooden spoon or your hands!
If you still don’t own one, I advise you to buy a kitchen scale – they’re cheap and easy to use, and always guarantee the same results in baking! :)
Please check the post for extra tips and information!