The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Evolution of Sourdough Doughnuts

bakingbadly's picture

Evolution of Sourdough Doughnuts

So far it's been a wild and unexpected journey this year. Who would've thought, I'd stray into a different direction: sourdough doughnuts.


January, this year, I was churning out new sourdough and (French-style) yeasted breads for clients and the local Sunday farmers market. After a year of resisting, I launched my own version of poolish (demi) baguettes, containing a small portion of whole durum wheat flour. And after months of anticipation, I launched sourdough breads with varied ratios of medium rye flour (the only rye flour available in Cambodia) and spices (caraway, coriander, fennel, etc). However, due to extreme and fluctuating temperatures in Cambodia, plus lack of equipment, I was unable to retain consistent or successful results. With much dismay, the rye breads were discontinued.

Of course, I haven't given up.



Collaborating with various partners at the farmers market, I found myself selling a limited range of artisanal goods to pair with my breads. Local honey by an artisanal beekeeper. Fresh, healthy dips such as chickpea hummus and eggplant baba ganoush by a boutique hotel. Tropical fruit jams by a French creole restaurant.

Whatever the reasons, early February I was inspired to make doughnuts. Viola! With help from the French creole restaurant, my mango jam and pineapple jam Berliners came into existence. (Berliners are German yeasted doughnuts, with high ratios of butter, typically filled with plum butter, fruits jams, and sometimes cream.)


Mid February, I learnt I had an aptitude for making palatable, perhaps great tasting, flavoured cream cheese. Without delay, I advertised and promoted a Sunday farmers market "bagel brunch special". I began with plain cream cheese, roasted garlic & Italian herb cream cheese, and walnut honey cream cheese, on a freshly baked plain, poppy, or sesame seed bagel. Combined with my reputation for making some of the best bagels in town, plus my new tropical jam doughnuts, I managed to lure in a flock of new customers. 


Since then, my so-called Berliners evolved into a different entity, thus losing that classification. Through curiosity and experimentation, I introduced ripe starter into my doughnuts, significantly reduced yeast amount, proofed the rounded dough overnight in a chiller, and deep fried them at a specific temperature range. My discovery: the delicate, thin crust was more crisp, the crumb more light and airy, the flavour more buttery and complex. Further enhancing its flavour, last week I learnt how to make pastry creams. Calling it the "Zebra Cream Sourdough Doughnut" (photo above), the doughnut contained 2 separate fillings: vanilla bean cream and Belgian dark chocolate (70% cocoa) cream. 

Moreover, as requested by customers, I made the "Everything Bagel", topped with... well, everything: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse sea salt, dried garlic and onions. (Blasphemy to bagel purists, I know.) I also added smoked back bacon & scallion cream cheese to the bagel brunch menu, and improved the walnut honey cream cheese by adding cinnamon and cider soaked raisins. 

With these new offers, last Sunday at the farmers market my sales nearly tripled (compared to sales from a month prior), with rave reviews.


What's next?

I honestly don't know. Sometimes the best things in life are unexpected, made without planning or thoughts. I can only say, I will go where the heart goes.

Best wishes and jolly baking to all,

Mr. Zita
Head Baker
Zita's Bakery


FrugalBaker's picture

you have to put up for sale there, Zita. It's certainly another milestone for your well-illustrated portfolio, I think. 

Getting our hands on something deemed common in Europe or U.S., like a certain type of flour in Asia.....oh heck, I know that very well....its just impossible sometimes. My next quest is to find some granary bread flour here. Wish me luck.

Of late, I have to struggle with the ratio of gluten in my bread flour again. No thanks to those unscrupulous dealers who wanted to make some quick bucks. 

Baking is certainly an under-appreciated profession and only a baker would truly understand why we chose to bake.....even if it's just a hobby or like in my case....a micro baking business such as mine. I've always said this to my charging them on everything that I put into my baking and the only one thing that I give out for free is my effort! 


P/s: Are the sourdough donuts tasting more like a bread or bagel type or soft as pillow as the traditional one since you spiked it with some yeast?  Am just curious here : ) Wishing you all the success from a neighbouring country. 




bakingbadly's picture

You can say that again! Bread baking is under-appreciated but understood by other bakers. 

Sorry to hear about your struggles concerning your bakery. It's a mutual feeling, certainly know the hardships of artisanal baking in Asia. I can only remain optimistic and hope things get better for the both of us.

My sourdough doughnuts are more bread-like than traditional yeasted doughnuts. Think brioche buns but deep fried. 

Thanks for commenting and, from one baker to another, I wholeheartedly wish you the best. Cheers, Sandy!


Isand66's picture

Hi Zita, thanks for catching us up on your baking adventures.

Your breads and bagels look awesome and your donuts look and sound amazing.  No wonder your sales increased with those evil temptations :).

Keep at it and I'm sure only more good things will follow.  You've come so far in such a short time and should be so proud of what you've accomplished.

Best Wishes,