Dough Boy, Redux

I’ve been a little frustrated with myself, for really no good reason. I accomplished very little this week, which feels lazy and ambitionless unless you’re sick, which I was/am, in which case it feels like a good thing, and I’m still a little frustrated.

On the other hand, I did a fair amount of cleaning. I used a can of Barkeeper’s Friend to scour the sinks and a couple of old pans, and while I was at it took out a few spots on the counter that had been waiting for some attention. I swept some floors. You can do stuff like this when it’s possible to sit down in a recliner every 10 minutes and take a nap.

And I made doughnuts, and now everyone should just be quiet and listen for a moment.

I like doughnuts. Or donuts. Most people do, I would think. I just never ate them, or rarely. They felt indulgent and a little dumb, except on special occasions or in special places. Voodoo Donuts in Portland, for example; lots of talk about Voodoo, and they were good, although I understand opinions vary down there.

I just didn’t understand donuts. I’m not a dietary prude, but the whole thing just felt unhealthy. Occasionally I’d consider making some, just to see what that was like, but I’m not a fan of frying, just because of the mess.

So I learned a couple of things, to wit: You can bake donuts, but they’re not quite as good, and there are two kinds of donuts, basically, and they’re very different.

Cake donuts, made with flour and rising agents (baking powder mostly), sugar, spices, butter, maybe buttermilk. Mix it together, roll it out, cut out donuts, fry (or bake), then cover with whatever, sugar or glaze or frosting or nothing.

Yeast donuts, which I have renamed bread donuts, because it finally occurred to me what I was making. Bread dough. Rich bread dough. Sweet bread dough, although not that sweet, not really. Just a lean, slightly sweet, airy and light bread dough.

And I am the bread guy.

I wasn’t anxious to go for the yeast, at first. I liked that I could whip up a dozen donuts inside of 40 minutes from the start. I wasn’t really interested in the day-long process some recipes suggested for the yeast variety.

But my wife started talking about Krispy Kremes, which are the gold standard of donuts. Even I know this.

And surely there are a million copycat recipes for Krispy Kremes, and there are, and the one I liked the best was as above, lean and simple. The recipe I used was written poorly, and that threw me off once or twice, but once I understood I was baking bread it all made sense. Let it rise a couple of hours, deflate it, stick it in the fridge overnight, then bake donuts the next morning that taste exactly like Krispy Kremes OMG.

True. Maybe not exactly, but close enough. The glaze is light, too, no milk or corn syrup needed, and my wife started to cry before she took the first bite, or that’s what it felt like. As soon as she raised the donut to her lips, she knew what her husband had done.

It was fun, too. Now I’m back to being bored. You can’t make donuts every day if you’re me, or us. And making enough for everyone, meaning groups I’m used to, 25 or so, is a bit of a chore. Special occasions only, probably, but I did it and it was glorious.

Chuck SigarsComment