Place the 3 cups flour in the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer; if you don’t have a stand mixer use a large mixing bowl. Create a large well in the center and pour in ¼ cup of the milk, the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let stand until the yeast mixture becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.
In another bowl, stir the remaining ½ cup milk, the remaining sugar, the eggs, salt, brandy, butter, and lemon zest.
If using a stand mixer: With the dough hook attached, turn the mixer to low speed and mix the yeast mixture into the flour. Then slowly add the milk mixture, beating until just well combined, about 3 minutes. Crank up the setting to knead the dough for 5 minutes.
If using a mixing bowl: Incorporate the flour with the yeast mixture using your hands. Then slowly pou in the milk mixture with one hand while working the flour into the liquid with the other. You can knead the mixture in the bowl or dump it on your kitchen counter over a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes.
Shape the dough into a large ball and transfer to another bowl slicked with canola oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place away from any drafts. After an hour, the dough should double in size.
Lightly flour the surface of your work area and roll the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. Use a 2½-inch round cutter or drinking glass to cut the sufganiyot and place them on a lightly dusted baking sheet. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the sufganiyot to prevent sticking and cover with a plastic wrap. Let it rise for another 15 minutes in a warm place.
Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet with 2 inches of oil to 365˚F. Working in small batches, fry the sufganiyot in the hot oil until golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels.
Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a pointed tip with jam. Make a hole at the top of each donut using a toothpick or wooden skewer. Insert the pastry tip into the hole and squeeze about a tablespoon of filling into each sufganiyot. Roll them around in some sugar and watch them disappear in seconds.
Excerpted from Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Quentin Bacon.