When we opened our new store, we tried to keep our vegan banana bread doughnut. Two obstacles encouraged us to put that particular dough on hold. The first was that in order to make the doughnut 100% vegan, it needed its own fryer so as to preven cross contamination with the oil from our dairy enriched doughnuts. We only have one fryer. I tried adding a pot of oil on an induction burner but was unable to find the space and time to make that work. The second obstacle was discouragement. When we offered the banana bread doughnut, many customers were not satisfied. They wanted an array of vegan options, not just banana bread. After the first two weeks I had enough of the complaints. I hung up the vegan doughnut and grew to embrace the response "unfortunately no."
But we created Curiosity Doughnuts to change the world with doughnuts. If we were going to do that we needed to continue to adapt and look to reach a broader audience. Also, I liked the challenge of developing the search for delicious. I understood the obstacles and had to come to a compromise. I understood the need for variety, I didn't want to eat the same doughnut every day and have only one option. Why should I expect that of others? I decided to develop a dairy free doughnut. It is vegan until we fry it and, from what we've heard, many of our customers will be willing to make that compromise. The rest will have to wait until we have a larger space that allows for two fryers.
Yesterday we made the first round of our new vegan dough. It leaned heavily on two ideas: the benefit of starch pastes, and my fetish for making a mayonnaise-based something. Today I took the dough down to Charcoal BYOB and borrowed their fryer. I cooked up the doughnuts and rolled some in cinnamon sugar and borrowed some glaze for the others. The glaze, for testing purposes, was not dairy free. At our shop we have plenty that are. The dough was wet and took a fair amount of bench flour to roll. They were challenging, but not impossible to handle. They cooked up like a magnificent dream. They had an incredible moistness and a delightful chew, reminiscent of Japanese milk bread, an inspiration for these doughnuts.
Today I made version two of the dough. I adjusted my moisture and am looking forward to cooking up the results in the morning.
June 5, 2005