2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast (or 2 Tablespoons)
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
For the glaze:
1/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons hot water or as needed
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.
Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up.