Sourdough Donuts Recipe
Slowly fermented overnight, my sourdough recipe makes fluffy and decadent sourdough donuts that are perfect for Boston cream lovers.
As a pastry chef, my family is spared from mass-produced baked goods. I will admit that I’m often tempted to give in and buy store-bought desserts (as a busy, working mom, it would be one thing less on my never-ending to-do list), but the exhaustive list of “ingredients” brings me back to my senses: I’d rather make something from scratch using real ingredients in my own kitchen.
To my family’s delight, I make exceptions during long road trips. Restless children in the back seat and low caffeine levels are all it takes for us to stop at a convenient, national-chain-donut-shop to stretch our legs while refuelling on bad coffee and even worse donuts (don’t @ me!). I fall for it every time; sugary, insubstantial, and airy donuts always make me feel righteously unsatisfied. After our last trip, I declared that I would make donuts worthy of my standards.
Armed with sourdough starter and carefully-milled local four, I set out to make delicious sourdough donuts. The long overnight fermentation ensures that the dough will be dense and flavourful (despite its substance, it’s still quite fluffy.) One perk of being a full-time pastry blogger is that I have fresh, homemade pastry cream and a chocolate glaze in my fridge (leftovers from my chocolate cherry vanilla cake), and these ingredients were just screaming to become Boston cream donuts. I used these ingredients for this batch, but there exists so many excellent variations: You can stuff them with jam and cover them with sifted powdered sugar, or make classic donut shapes (punch-out holes) and roll them in cinnamon sugar. With donuts, once you have an excellent base, you can’t go wrong with the trimmings.
Check out my video on Tiktok or Instagram if you would like a visual aid of how I made these sourdough donuts!
Warning! This recipe yields 2 1/2 dozen sourdough donuts that are best enjoyed the same day. Unless you are a large family, it’s best to plan on calling over some friends, family, and neighbours to enjoy these with you.
Sourdough Donut Recipe
225g active sourdough starter* or discard**
500g All-purpose flour
110g raw sugar
Oil for frying
Filling: pastry cream
Glaze: chocolate miroir
In a small saucepan warm up milk and butter to 50°C.
Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining ingredients.
Mix on low speed with a dough hook until everything is combined.
Verify hydration level***.
Once you’re satisfied with the hydration level, increase the speed and mix until you have a successful windowpane test****. This may take up to 10-15 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold the dough onto itself, give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until you have folded on 4 sides. This is called a fold.
Turn dough upside down so that the seam is on the bottom and the top is smooth.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
Wait an hour and fold the dough.
Repeat a third time.
After an hour the dough should be airy and can be transferred to the fridge overnight. If it doesn't feel soft and springy, leave it to rise on the counter overnight in a cool spot.
Make pastry cream recipe.
The next morning, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 3/4”.
Using a 2 1/4 round cutter, punch out the donuts.
The extra dough can be cut into small pieces and balled to make doughnut holes.
Transfer donuts to a floured baking sheet and cover with a second tray upside down to proof for 1-3h, depending on the temperature.
Make chocolate miroir glaze recipe.
Put vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Place a tray with a cooling rack on top next to your fryer.
When the oil reaches 185°C, gently place sourdough donuts “upside down” in the hot oil. (I find that this helps them from ballooning too much on the top, making it easier to fry evenly on both sides.)
Once you have placed 6 donuts in the fryer, start flipping them over with a slotted spoon.
Keep flipping from side to side and remove from fryer when they are a light golden brown, the internal temperature should be 88°C.
Repeat for remaining donuts.
Place pastry cream in a piping bag fitted with a narrow piping tip.
Poke two holes in every donut using a chopstick.
Pipe pastry cream into donuts, using both holes to allow for better distribution.
Repeat for all sourdough donuts, removing any excess pastry cream, if it comes out.
Make sure the chocolate miroir glaze is 25°C.
Dip the donut halfway up the sides.
Let the excess drip off while the donut is upside down.
Turn the donut over in a twisting, circular motion to ensure an even top.
Enjoy with friends and family! These sourdough donuts are best enjoyed the day-of.
*Want to make this recipe but don't have a sourdough starter? Head to this post to learn how to make it from scratch!
**If your sourdough discard is spent or inactive, allow more time for the dough to rise and you will enjoy tangier sourdough donuts.
***Pro-tip #1! At this point, you should judge if the dough looks too wet or dry and adjust with a bit of flour or water, accordingly. Every flour behaves differently, depending on the time of year and your location, so it’s good practice to always check after the initial mix.
****Pro-tip #2! Windowpane test verifies if the gluten has been sufficiently developed. To do this, grab a piece of dough (roughly the size of a golf ball) and roll it into a ball. Then gently flatten and start to pull evenly around the edges. My chef at school said “you should be able to stretch the dough and be able to read a newspaper through it” without it tearing. If it tears, keep kneading the dough