Happy National Donut Day! In honor of the holiday, today’s blog is all about Kimmel’s famous apple donuts. These donuts are made fresh here in the Kimmel Kitchen three days a week, April through August. Beginning in the middle of September when the apples begin to ripen, they are made every day! During the Apple Jack festival in 2019, 712 dozen donuts were sold in just one weekend. So how do these delectable donuts come to be?
1. Turn on Fryer - The fryer takes about 45 minutes to heat up each morning. It is important to do this step first so that when the dough is ready, the fryer will be hot enough to properly cook the donuts.
2. Heat up cider – Kimmel’s very own apple cider goes into every batch of apple ciders. The donut maker goes to grab some of the cider that was pressed last fall. Then, they will pour it into microwave-safe bowls and heat the cider up to just below boiling. After heating, the cider is poured into the large mixing bowl that sits atop a scale. The donut maker weighs out the correct amount of apple cider for whatever size batch of donuts is being made.
3. Measure donut mix - The donut mix comes in large, 50-pound bags. The donut maker, must scoop out the mix and weigh it on the scale to match the proportion of cider poured. The mix can then be poured into the mixing bowl with the cider.
4. Mix donuts and cider - The ingredients are mixed until well incorporated. It is important to add as much air as possible into the dough, to make sure the donuts are not dense. After mixing at a lower speed, we turn on the blender setting for a few quick pulses at top speed to maximize the air in the dough.
5. Allow for the dough to rise – Next, the donut batter is covered and allowed to rise for at least ten minutes, but 20 minutes is preferred if time allows. During this time, the donut maker will start to clean up and set out empty boxes to put the donuts in.
6. Transport the dough - When the dough is ready to be cooked, it has to be scooped into a container attached to the fryer. This smaller bowl is funnel-shaped and releases dough in the donut shape we all know and love. The fryer runs on a conveyor system, so once the dough is in the fryer, it moves down the line two at a time. Halfway through the conveyor, the donuts are flipped to fry on the other side.
7. Roll donuts in sugar mixture- Finished donuts will fall onto the cinnamon and sugar mixture at the end of the conveyor, where the donut maker will sugar them. The mixture helps prevent the donuts from getting too hard by locking the moisture in and adds an extra bit of sweetness.
8. Box Donuts – After being sugared, our apple donuts are almost ready. The donuts are packed into dozens and half dozens and allowed to cool before the tops are closed.
9. Enjoy! - When the donuts are ready, they are put on a cart and wheeled over to the Apple Barn for everyone to enjoy.