- 2 envelopes active dry yeast (2 scant tablespoons)
- 3/4 cup warm (110 degrees) water
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk, warm
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Peanut, or canola oil, for deep-frying
- 1 cup superfine sugar, for coating
- Nonstick cooking spray
In bowl of electric mixer with paddle, stir 1 envelope yeast into 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour; beat with paddle on low until combined. Cover; chill this "sponge" overnight.
Remove sponge from refrigerator; bring to room temperature. In separate bowl, mix remaining envelope yeast, 2 tablespoons warm water, and the buttermilk. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Mix remaining 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add buttermilk mixture, egg yolks, and cooled melted butter. Beat on low until dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Add sponge; beat until dough is soft and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes. On clean surface, knead a few turns into a ball. Coat bowl with cooking spray; add dough smooth side up. Cover; let stand in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 3 hours.
Cut dough into thirds; cover with plastic wrap. On lightly floured surface, roll out each piece 1/4 inch thick. Using 2-inch and 3/4-inch cookie cutters, cut out doughnuts and centers. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Let stand in a warm place to rise, 15 minutes.
In deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry doughnuts, turning once, until golden brown, about 1 minute total. Drain on paper towels; coat with sugar while warm.