By Kevin Williams
I write about doughnuts from time to time because, well, I like doughnuts and it is virtually impossible to write about Amish culture and cooking without talking about doughnuts. Frequently.
The original Amish Cook columnist made some wonderful doughnuts, a frosted oblong deep-friend piece of bliss known as a “Long John Roll.” Those were really good and we often a snack served at Amish quilting bees. Each Amish settlement seems to have their own favorite doughnut places. There’s a wonderful Amish-owned orchard in southern Michigan that sells “cider doughnuts” each fall. The “Country Store” in Unity, Maine has a “doughnut day” each Friday where homemade doughnuts are made and sold. Those are melt-in-your-mouth glazed glory.
The Rise and Roll Bakery is an Amish institution in northern Indiana. They recently were bought by a non-Amish outfit so we’ll have to see if the quality stays the same. But, yea, their store is packed full of amazing doughnuts.
Barbara’s Bakery in Cherry Creek, New York specializes in some amazing maple dipped doughnuts this time of year. Yum. And I wonder why I’m not losing any weight….
But nothing matches what I saw at Keim Family Market, an Amish-owned bakery in Adams County. They christened this doughnut “The Big Daddy”, which is an on-steroids version of their popular regular glazed doughnut. Look at the above photo, the doughnut is the same length as a butter knife and takes up a dinner plate. I should have measured the doughnut’s depth, it has to be close to 4 inches thick.
BEHIND THE BIG DADDY
So how did this legendary doughnut get its start?
Owner Dan Miller explains that a customer had a nephew that was a huge fan of Keim’s regular glazed doughnut. He’d sit down and consume six in a single sitting. As the nephew’s birthday approached the customer persuaded Dan to try to make a “mega-doughnut” that could double as a cake. Dan was a little reluctant to try at first.
“And before she went out the door we could have sold 5 more, people saw those and wanted some for themselves. After that, it just took off,” Dan recalls.
“One couple ordered 36 of them, I’m not sure what they were going to do with that many,” Dan mused.
Since then there have been custom-ordered variations. Double-stacked doughnuts with “Happy Birthday” iced on top.
“They’ve been a big hit,” Dan says.
“It might be a total flop,” he warned her.
“That’s okay, I’ll still buy it,” she reassured Dan. So he got to work and made a couple huge doughnuts for the elated customer.
This is one of the most popular doughnut recipes on Amish365.com, easy, easy, easy…comes from an Emma Raber in Holmes County. Enjoy these “Light As A Feather” Doughnuts!
Serves: 20 doughnuts
- LIGHT AS A FEATHER DOUGHNUTS
- 1 1 /2 cups milk, scalded
- 1 /2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 /2 cup margarine
- 1 1 /2 cup warm water
- 1 /2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 packages of yeast
- 2 eggs
- 8 – 10 cups bread flour
- Add sugar, salt, and margarine to hot milk.
- Cool to lukewarm.
- Add yeast and sugar to warm water.
- Let rise for 5 minutes.
- Pour both liquids together plus eggs and add flour,
- After last flour has been added knead for 10 minutes.
- Let rise 1 hour and knead again.
- Let rise 1 hour and punch down and roll to 1 /2 inch and cut.
- Put on floured pan, let rise and deep fat fry at 350 on both sides until golden.
- Glaze while still warm
Serves: frosting for 12 doughnuts
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ teaspoon maple extract
- ½ cup milk
- In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, maple extract and milk; stir well.
- Add additional milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over donuts.