Thursday, May 7, 2009

trying to perfect the imperfectable

I have a new obsession. Growing up on the East coast, doughnuts were either dunkin, or, in my world, Schneider's. I've gone through phases with cake and jelly. I distinctly remember my first beignets. I've moved around a bit, experienced hot doughnuts now, locally made doughnuts of good varieties and generally, I'm a fan. Hell, I even had them on the dessert menu at one of the places I worked. We called them Dishwasher Crack and had to take them off the menu because, strangely, sales did not match the number that were going missing each night...

To sum up, working in pastry has totally ruined doughnuts for me.

I can't imagine just grabbing a doughnut every morning. I mean, sure I could eat a doughnut regularly, but now, when I succumb to the urge, all I can think is "Crap. Mine are better." I can taste the bad fry oil (and worse, recognize it), notice the flavorless batter, scoff at poor quality toppings. Sure, there are good doughnuts out there, but, you see what I'm saying.

Now, I could make them at home. I just hate deep frying at home, for all the reasons anyone would hate deep frying at home. So I've embarked on a quest. I'm trying to make perfect baked doughnuts. Not "not too bad" as I saw one recipe described. Not a muffin. Not in a doughnut pan either because on some base level that seems like cheating. I'm trying yeast and chemical leaveners. I'm playing with flours, and I have a couple of weird ideas that may or may not work. And any real doughnut fan will tell me it is just not possible, because hello, frying! Totally different cooking medium! I'm trying anyway.

The ones in the picture are from batch three. They were ok. How many batches will I make before they come together, I wonder.


Madeline said...

I find this quest fascinating. I will admit that doughnuts are available at the hotel every morning. At this point I would kill for a really great chocolate croissant. (the one's we make are CRAP!) *sigh. I have often thought of making a killer brunch place, because my expectations are obviously a lot higher than they are around here. Best of luck on the doughnuts! (if Laskonis can make effervescent chocolate, you can make baked ones!)

Call Me Mama said...

Have you been to Voodoo Donut in downtown Portland? They specialize in the unconventional and might have some great ideas to share on baked and not fried doughnuts. Plus it's a fun place to visit.

Brian said...

My mom wants you to send her baked donut samples. So once you get them perfected please mail them along.