January 10, 2018

Sourdough Doughnnuts


My grandmother taught me to make doughnuts when I was a little girl. Not sourdough doughnuts, nor did they contain any whole grain, but they were one of my best favorites nonetheless! Now, doughnuts are pretty much a seasonal food for us. Frying them keeps the kitchen warm and nothing is tastier for a winter's brunch than fresh, hot doughnuts. Our recent batch was made with sourdough starter.

Sourdough starter

My grandmother's recipe came from her mother, so it's an old one. As you will see, it's not a yeast recipe but rather one for cake doughnuts. So I'm not using the sourdough in place of yeast, I'm using it in place of the milk. I'm not using the sourdough to help the doughnuts rise, I'm using it to have healthy fermented whole wheat flour in them and as the acid with baking soda for a chemical quick bread rise. Here's the recipe.

Sourdough Doughnuts

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup sugar (I use unbleached cane sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
unbleached white flour, enough to make a soft dough (3 - 4 cups)

Mix by hand to make a soft dough. My grandmother told me the softer the dough, the better the doughnuts. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes.

I inherited the doughnut cutter from my grandmother.

Preheat oil to 375°F (190°C) and fry first one side until golden brown, then turn and fry the other.

I finally bought a candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. If
it's too hot the food burns, if not hot enough the food absorbs excess oil.

The kind of oil or fat makes a huge difference in flavor. My grandmother used lard, but I'm guessing that was before they hydrogenated it and filled it with all sorts of preservatives. That's what keeps me from buying lard today (although I did find some "natural" lard at the store for about $6 for a one pound container.) Instead, I'm using a combination of coconut oil and palm shortening.


To eat them fresh and hot makes them worth waiting on! Once they cool, I coat them with powdered sugar and store in a metal tin. Just like my grandmother did.

Sourdough Doughnnuts © Jan 2018 by Leigh

25 comments:

The Wykeham Observer said...

They look so good. You are not just a cook, but also a chemist in your understanding of what goes on in the prep and cooking process. Good post. Thanks!

1st Man said...

Getting back into visiting blogs to take my mind off things. These look SO good. Totally going to ask 2nd Man to try this sometime. Thank you for sharing it!!!

Sam I Am...... said...

Thank you for the recipe! I prefer fried donuts as I am not a fan of the cake like baked ones. I don't eat many fried foods but I do like donuts fried. I need to get some starter....started again to do this but it's been on my list for awhile now and will add to my list of self-sufficient tasks. They look yummy!

Gorges Smythe said...

That doesn't sound good to me at all........but I bet it is! - lol

Leigh said...

Wykeham Observer, it's true, it's kitchen chemistry! One of the best self-sufficiency skills I've learned over the years. :)

1st Man, enjoy!

Sam, isn't it interesting how certain foods have to be made certain ways to be right? Somehow baked doughnuts wouldn't seem like doughnuts at all to me, more liked O-shaped muffins.

Gorges, they were excellent but you've got me curious! What doesn't appeal? The sourdough? The whole grain? The frying? The powdered sugar? Or just doughnuts in general? I can't imagine anybody not liking doughnuts! ;)

Frugal in Essex Tania said...

they look yummy for sure.

Kristina said...

Thanks for the recipe. I have never made donuts before either. I don't like to fry anything, but these look so good.

Mama Pea said...

SOURDOUGH donuts . . . my husband's dream! Can you save and reuse the oil you use for the frying? I use coconut oil almost exclusively now and because it's pricey I've hesitated using the amount needed for frying donuts. (Haven't made any donuts, period, for ever so long now!)

Ed said...

Donuts have never been part of our culture but it looks like it should!

It has always been a dream of mine to get a sour dough starter going and use it regularly. I have a softness for any freshly baked bread. It has never happened as of yet but there is still time.

Leigh said...

Tania, thanks! A real treat since we only get them once or twice a year.

Kristina, I don't fry much either. It used to be because of the fat or oil itself, until I read Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. That book answered a lot of questions for me and completely revolutionized my concept of diet (hence the fermented whole grain as sourdough). Now I don't fry much because it takes a lot of fat or oil, and those can be expensive.

Mama Pea, well, my grandmother reused her doughnut frying lard and I save and reuse the oil. That's not saying there may be a reason not too. It does have a faint doughnut/nutmeg flavor, so that limits its usefulness, I think. I would not be willing to reuse vegetable oil (I've used peanut oil in the past and it's tasty) because of how quickly veggie oils go rancid. But the stable fats I'm okay with.

Ed, I can't imagine not growing up with doughnuts. :) Sourdough starter is great. I have trouble keeping one in our hot summers, but this time of year it's a nice addition to any baked good.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Dang, those look good. Mama and I would make donuts occasionally, too. It was a thrill but they didn't last long with 3 teenagers in the house. Somewhere I've got that recipe. Hers were made with buttermilk.

deborah harvey said...

thanks. i love this type of doughnut, not the other kind [baked?]
am gluten free but the new flours may make it possible to adapt the recipe.
got a little baking dish with doughnut shaped depressions for making gluten free doughnuts but never used it. knew i probably wouldn't like them but this recipe reminds me of my far away youth and it is precisely what i used to love.
many thanks.
the recaptcha is too much. i can't see that well. one test would be enough but to have to do it over and over? not good.

Anonymous said...

I love sourdough donuts!! My mom used to make them on a fairly regular basis when I was growing up. I'll have to look up her recipe to see how it compares to yours. I just remember that the donuts were fantastic fresh, and went stale very quickly - the perfect excuse to gorge while they were warm, lol.

Mrs Shoes said...

I WANT to make doughnuts. Only one thing stopping me - I'd eat doughnuts. Like, way too many doughnuts, I would eat.

Leigh said...

Sue, my grandmother's recipe calls for buttermilk as well, but I've substituted sweet. With the sourdough starter, however, I don't need to add other liquids, so it works very well. Well worth making even if they don't last long! They're best fresh anyway. :)

Deborah, I've never tried baked doughnuts but they don't appeal. Not sure about gluten free, because I don't have to go that route! Have you tried organic wheat flour or one of the ancient wheats like Emmer? They are both said to be tolerable by some folks.

The captcha is out of my control. I hate it too and have my settings on "no word verification," but google insists on adding it anyway. There are a lot of complaints about it in the blogger help forums because nobody likes it. Gives you an idea of how well google is interested in meeting people's real needs. HOWEVER, if you ignore it altogether and just hit "Publish Your Comment," it will publish without captcha.

Sue, I'd love to see your mom's recipe too! Any chance you'll start blogging again??? Yes, they are incredible warm and dry out quickly, but then they are perfect dunked in coffee. :)

Mrs. Shoes, I can't help you with that! LOL That's why I only make them once or twice a year. :)

Rain said...

Yum! they look delicious!!! I am a huge fan of the cake doughnut! I worked at Dunkin Donuts when I was 17 years old, midnight to six shift, decorating donuts. It was fun. They had an orange cake doughnut and a cherry cake doughnut...loved those!

MIKE REIFFIN said...

Testing captcha

Sandy said...

Leigh,
Your donuts look good! I recently found a King Arthur baked donut recipe, my guys love the donuts.

Leigh said...

Rain, I remember those Dunkin Donuts days! That's when they made them fresh at the shop. Wow, were they ever good. Now they're delivered and never taste fresh. I suspect the ingredients aren't quite as good any more either.

Mike, did it pass?

Sandy, I'll have to try a baked recipe some time just to see. We may end up liking it, who knows!!!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Yum! Sure wish I could have one! I wonder wha sourdough would do to a gluten free diet! Nancy

Leigh said...

Nancy, that's a good question. Awhile back I experimented with flour from sprouted grain and found it didn't rise well at all. So sprouting does something to the gluten, but I don't know if lacto-fermenting does. It would be something to research!

Quinn said...

When I raised an occasional pig in Colorado, I rendered my own lard. But now I can get it from a slaughterhouse that has a little retail shop attached. I wish they would sell organic meat!

Leigh said...

Quinn, what a wonderful resource to have nearby! I wish we had something like that around here. I suppose to sell organic meat they'd have to have organic suppliers.

M.K. said...

Those look so wonderful! I adore donuts - they are my #1 weakness. I love the antique cutter - good job :)

Leigh said...

M.K., thanks! They are definitely a favorite.