Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sourdough Surprises #1 - Sourdough Donuts

I am so excited for this post - it is the inaugural post for the Sourdough Surprises!

Every month, we hope that you will join us in baking something new, featuring your sourdough starter.

This month we chose donuts, and what a tasty choice it was! We found this delicious looking recipe, which was the inspiration behind this month's theme, and decided to jump right in.

Making sourdough donuts is actually not all that difficult. Rather than create a new, yeast-based starter, as the recipe above indicates, I just made sure that my starter was well fed to be at full strength.

The dough comes together super quickly.

The dry ingredients are mixed together:

And then there's the star of the show, our starter:

Which is combined with the other wet ingredients - an egg, some oil and some sour milk:

And then the two are combined:

The best way to bring the dough together is by hand. While it starts out a bit messy, within a minute or so, you have a nice ball of dough.

Then it's time to shape the donuts! On a floured surface, roll out the dough, but not too thin.

And cut! I don't have a donut cutter (since I am not a big one for single-purpose kitchen tools...), so I used a cookie cutter.

To cut the holes, I used a round apple corer.

While I was preparing the dough and cutting the donuts, I was also heating my oil for frying.

Once the oil hit 360 degrees (that handy "donut" marking on my thermometer!), it was time to fry!

These fried up pretty quickly, so I had to keep an eye on them.

Once they came out of the oil (and drained for a minute... I didn't want them too oily!), I dropped them right into a bowl of cinnamon sugar.

And don't forget those little donut holes!

And pretty soon we had a whole plate full of these:


We even left a few with no holes in them, so that we could try filled donuts, too. A little cream filling and my little frosting squeezie bottle did the trick...

I need to work on making sure that I get enough filling in all of my donuts, but these were definitely a fun change of pace.

We all loved these donuts - they were delicious. They reminded us very much of apple cider donuts that we have eaten from our local orchard. Which gave me an idea...

Could I replace the sour milk in this recipe with apple cider? Would that work with the sourdough? Combine that thought with the fact that I wanted to try baking these donuts, rather than frying them, and I knew I'd be making a second batch.

I not only replaced the sour milk with apple cider, but substituted one tablespoon of apple sauce for one of the two tablespoons of oil.

I baked the donuts at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, and sprinkled the unbaked donuts with cinnamon sugar (rather than rolling them later), and the results were pretty good.

We all agreed that the fried donuts were better - they had a crisper crust and a better crumb, but that didn't stop little hands from grabbing the baked version...

This was a delicious introduction for the Sourdough Surprises, and I will definitely be saving this recipe for future use. I think I'll try the apple cider version again, but will try frying them next time, so they'll be saved for a special occasion.

I can't wait to see the sourdough donuts all of you came up with, and I hope you'll sourdough with the Sourdough Surprises next month!

Sourdough Donuts
(from Under the High Chair)

1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour milk (soured with vinegar or lemon juice)

Prepare a wok or deep fryer for frying. Prepare a tray with paper towel for draining doughnuts. Heat oil to 360 degrees (use a deep fry thermometer).
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients.
Bring dough together gently with you hands.
Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and turn dough on to it. Knead it gently about 3 times to help bring the dough together.
Roll out to a thickness of 2 centimeters and cut with a doughnut cutter. In place of a donut cutter, I used the combination of a circle cookie cutter for the donut shape and an apple corer for the donut hole.
Fry cut dough until golden brown. Test the first one for doneness by breaking it in two and checking to see if the middle is doughy. Drain fried donuts on paper town.
Toss donuts in cinnamon sugar (or vanilla sugar) to coat.


And be sure to check out the new Sourdough Surprises blog for future announcements, challenges and reveals!

I have submitted these donuts to Yeastspotting!


  1. This looks great!!!! I should have done it!!

  2. The doughnuts look fab! Sadly, I didn't get around to joining in this month, but I hope to next time. My poor little sourdough starter needs some love.

  3. I came to find your Cook's Challenge but this was a great first find. We're starting to experiment with Sour Dough and I look forward to your monthly posts! (now, off to find your braise!)

  4. Looks so yummy! I need to stop reading your blog when I'm hungry, I think my stomach just growled. LOL

  5. Awesome job, Shelley!!! Your donuts are truly mouth watering!!!

  6. OMG,..cinnamon sugared and cream filled. I agree fried is always much better, unless they're cake donuts! I need to tweet the sourdough surprises website asap!


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