Donut Day

The farmers market in our town has always been spectacular. All the vegetables and fruits are delicious, but the donuts are the real attraction. Forget all the fancy donut places with their unique toppings. The donuts are made in the church basement, sent out through the window still warm. They are the real deal!

Through the organization that have provided my kids day care for the past 10+ plus years, I got the opportunity to go behind the scenes and take part in making the donuts.  Sign me up! And I jumped at the chance to cook the donuts, even if it meant getting up at the crack of dawn. On the plus side, there were plenty of parking spots.

donut alarm

The kitchen was already in full swing when I got there just after 4 am. I found my spot at the frying station and they taught us the ropes. We dove right in and starting making donuts at a good clip.

Each week a different organization helps out making the donuts, under the supervision of the regular church donut staff. The organization gets to take home a percentage of the proceeds. It can take as long as 10 years to get a spot in the rotation!

 

Oak Park Farmers Market

Huge lines form for these donuts, three varieties are served. Plain, cinnamon sugar, and powdered sugar. The plain are my favorite, but as I learned Saturday the cinnamon sugar is pretty amazing when they are warm. The powdered sugar are so darn messy, my kids always order those  no matter how hard I tried to persuade them otherwise.

They have the donut making routine pretty nailed; make the dough, pour it in the donut dropper, cook, clip, cook, move to the try table, tray, coat and serve. The kitchen was a well oiled machine.

donut dough

Each batch makes about 75 donuts. Between 4am and 11am we made about 35 batches, about 6 bags of spice cake doughnut mix. They make anywhere from 6-7000 per day!

Donut Dough

I learned more about the shortening then I care to know, I liked to refer to it as the secret sauce. We went through two of these, not sure how many pounds it was.

Donut Day

The tools of the trade? Drum sticks to flip them. Took a few batches and then we could flip them with only one stick.

Donut Day

Once you flip them, they only take about 10-30 secs to finish to a nice golden brown.

Donut Day

Then it is off to the trays and to get their tasty coating. After my frying shift, my son showed up to help too. These two were expert coaters.

Donut Helpers

Though they really loved walking around handing out samples. I mean, everyone is happy to see you, what is not to like?

Donut Helpers

But lets be real, getting paid in donuts is what it is all about!

Donut Helpers

So mannnnny donuts!

Donut Day

And jugs and jugs of coffee to go with it. Lucky for me, it was a cool day. I could not imagine being in that kitchen over the frying when it is really hot out.

image

The coffee jugs were a workout to get up and out the window to the server.

Donut Day

From what I was told, the proceeds from the 24 Saturdays they sell donuts, it pays all the utilities for the church for the year. Not a bad deal. We are looking forward to volunteering again next year.

Donut Day

Check out Saveur’s write-up from back in 2011, they are often list as the best doughnut in Chicago by Chicago Magazine too. But most important, make a trip out and try them yourself.

 

3 comments

  1. biz319 says:

    That’s one of my bucket list things to do – to make the donuts at the OP Farmers Market! I’d get up that early for the experience alone. Lucky!

    And yes, getting paid in donuts is priceless 😀

  2. Bill says:

    These are the best doughnuts we’ve ever made. We used Smart Balance shortening (6 T.). We made these in the bread machine. My 10 year old put in all the ingredients (accidentally added extra yeast), let it stir until mixed, then let stir for 2 more minutes. Then I turned off the bread machine. After a little more than an hour, I rolled the dough out. I let the doughnuts rise on a flour dusted tea towel, and that made a huge difference in picking them up to go in the oil. Super, super recipe! 

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