Friday, April 05, 2024


Sourdough starter is a fantastic ingredient in so many ways, although golden, crusty loaves are still a pretty strong association many have with sourdough. And for a good reason, of course, not many things can compare to a slice of toasted homemade sourdough with a cup of tea in the morning.
The truth is, that humble starter can be added to a plethora of different recipes, including cakes and cookies. Adding a unique depth of flavour, beautifully balancing the sweetness, I find it simply perfect for dough desserts, such as doughnuts and pastries.
On an important note, I keep my starter at 100% hydration, which means it contains equal parts by weight of water and flour. If your starter is at a different hydration or uses a different type of flour, you might need slightly more or slightly less flour to shape these doughnuts. The secret is to add the flour gradually and stop once the dough takes form, because you can always add a bit more, if needed.
These little gems are beautifully light and filled with tangy fruit jam; a fantastic everyday dessert, particularly with a cup of coffee, and will stay wonderfully fresh even the next day. And if you don’t fill them, you can even toast them lightly for a tiny little crunch, and use them as a breakfast toast with a sweet topping of your choice.

700 grams plain flour
60 grams granulated sugar
10 grams salt
350 millilitres soy or almond milk
60 grams sunflower oil
60 grams apple sauce, at room temperature
90 grams sourdough starter (100% hydration)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
250-300 grams jam for filling
about 750 millilitres to 1 litre of oil, for frying

Add the oil into a small saucepan, pour in the milk, and add in the sugar and salt. Place the pan over low to medium heat until completely melted and blended. Remove it from the heat and let it cool down slightly, and then add in the applesauce, vanilla, and lemon zest. Mix until completely combined, and then add in the starter.
Whisk vigorously with a wooden spoon or a wire whisk until it all comes together, and then start adding in the flour. If using a whisk, switch to a wooden spoon, and start stirring as you add. Depending on the type of flour you use and your starter, you may not need all of the flour, so add gradually.
Keep mixing and pressing the dough with the wooden spoon until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. Turn it out onto a nicely floured surface, and continue kneading with your hands, adding a bit more flour if needed, for about 5 minutes, or until a smooth and supple dough forms.
Place it into an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it stand at room temperature until doubled in size. Depending on the room temperature and how active your starter was, it can take up to 6-8 hours, so it is good to make it in the evening, and proceed with making the doughnuts in the morning.
Once risen and ready, place the dough onto a floured surface without any kneading, and roll it out to about 1.5 centimetre thickness. Using a pastry cutter or just a regular glass, cut out doughnuts of desired size, and place them onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Keep kneading and rolling out the dough scraps until everything is used up. However, if the dough starts to feel tight or it will not roll out, let it rest for about 10 minutes, and roll it out again.
Cover the doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise once again for about an hour. Meanwhile, towards the end of rising time, pour the oil into a large pot and let it heat up to about 185-190°C, being mindful while working with hot oil.
Pick up the doughnuts gently and place them into the hot oil, bottom-side up, and let them cook through, about a minute or so per side. Do not overcrowd the pot, otherwise the temperature will drop and they will not fry as nicely.
Set the cooked doughnuts onto paper towels to absorb any oil excess, fill them with your favourite jam, dust with some icing sugar, and serve immediately. Yields 16 large doughnuts.