1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (about 100-105 degrees)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbs active dry yeast (1 1/2 envelopes)
2 large eggs--slightly beaten, room temperature
1 cup evaporated milk, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter--melted
6-7 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
peanut or other frying oil
mix the water and sugar in a bowl, then sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside for about 5 to 10 minutes. the yeast should begin to bubble. if it does not, your yeast might be bad....allow it to sit for 5 more minutes. if it does not start "feeding", then discard and start again.
meanwhile, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, salt and melted butter.
after 10 minutes or so, add 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until it is well incorporated. add the evaporated milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon. Add 3 more cups of the flour and until all flour is incorporated. you are not making bread, so you do not want to knead too much. Turn the dough (it should be a bit sticky), onto a floured surface and gently pat in enough flour that will allow you to handle the dough, but do not aggressively knead it. place in an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. place in warm place to double in size (alternately, you can place in the refrigerator overnight to rise).
when you are ready to fry up a batch of beignet, heat your oil to 370F. roll your dough out to 1/2" thick, using a bit of flour if necessary to prevent sticking. cut dough with sharp knife or pizza cutter into squares (i like mine big). let cut pieces sit about 5 minutes before frying in the hot oil (i do this so the yeast starts working again, so i get nice air pockets when i fry em up). fry until golden, it will take just a few minutes. do no overcrowd the pot. let drain on kitchen paper and serve with copious amounts of powdered sugar.