A world of donuts – hospitality

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When you mention the word donut, most people imagine a round piece of baked dough soaked in glaze and topped with sprinkles. Or maybe they’re thinking of a golden ball stuffed with jam and dusted with icing sugar. But there’s a whole world of donuts beyond the ring we know and love.

In Japan, mochi donuts blend two dessert concepts, while Korean iterations feature savory flavors. In a more local setting, chefs create sourdough variations that meet an area of ​​dietary requirements.

Hospitality interviews Dennis Chan of Demochi Donut, Daero Lee of Soul Deli and Yu Orzone of Comeco Foods about their donut offerings and covers everything from sourcing specialty ingredients to catering to a broader market.

Mochi

Dennis Chan became acquainted with mochi donuts on a trip to Japan. His fascination with the concept inspired him to return to Sydney and open Demochi Donut at Banksia in 2019.

“We visited a very famous Japanese franchise bakery that specializes in mochi donuts,” says Chan. “It’s called Mister Donut and it’s been around for maybe 15 years. They are a huge company [and] the Japanese version of Donut King or Krispy Kreme. It kind of sparked my curiosity to understand what it is and what makes it different.

While the concept is in its infancy in Australia, mocha donuts have a long history in their home country. “It’s actually a very old trend in Japan,” says Chan.

Chan describes the mochi donuts as having “the perfect chew with a slight crunch”. He has been perfecting the recipe for six years and it all starts with the dough. “It’s a matter of ratios,” says Chan. “Our secret would be how much flour and how much wet mix you put in to create the product.”

The dry flour mixture is where mochi and dough intersect and see regular flour combined with glutinous rice flour. “The point of difference is your sticky rice; it gives it a slight mochi chew,” says Chan. “But you still need flour in the dough to make the process easier.”

Sticky rice is a key ingredient in mochi, and while a mochi donut isn’t as gummy or sticky, it does offer a satisfying bite and chew. Part of the donuts’ appeal also comes from its beaded look, which sees eight little balls of dough tied together. “It has this shape to increase the surface area,” Chan explains. “It’s also interactive; you can divide the balls into individual circles and some people eat them one at a time.

Demochi changes its offering weekly, with Chan delivering the donuts by the dozen and in packs of four. “We are producing more and more flavors,” he says. “We started with our original honey glaze, then moved on to traditional classic cinnamon.”

While glazed, cinnamon-sweet donuts are a crowd pleaser, Demochi is also a hero ingredient found in Asian desserts. “We started experimenting with a lot of Asian flavors because our brand is based in Asia,” says Chan. “We pay homage to black sesame, milk tea, pandan and yuzu.”

Goroke and kkwabaegi

If you were to order donuts in Korea, it would probably be at a market stall. At Soul Deli in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Executive Chef Daero Lee set out to recreate that exact experience. Lee started with a sweet donut named after her braided appearance. “Kkwabaegi means twisted,” he says.

The chef prepares two types of kkwabaegi; one with sugar and sesame seeds and another glazed in a rice syrup called ssal-jocheong. “I mix it with corn syrup at the same time because if I only use rice syrup, it’s too sticky; I want it to be a little lighter,” says Lee.

Kkwabaegi donuts at Soul Deli

Soul Deli also created a fried croquette-style donut called goroke. “The croquette was introduced by the Portuguese and the French to Japan and it became known as goroke,” says Lee. “They used mashed potatoes and covered it with panko crumbs. Then he [came] in Korea and it has the same name, but we make it more in dumpling form.

Lee tried his hand at two types of savory croquettes that span traditional and contemporary fillings. “I make mashed potatoes with cooked onions, carrots, corn and ham,” he says. “We add curry powder because curry gives extra flavor when people open it. The second one we make with homemade kimchi and minced pork. I add mozzarella cheese and a little mashed apple of soil and we fold it all together; it’s kind of like a spicy version with kimchi cheese.

A sweet goroke sees soboro and mashed white sweet potatoes mixed with Australian honey. In this case, Lee trades panko for homemade cookie crumble.

“His specialty is the crust,” he says. “I make a sort of sandy cookie dough, then I stuff and fry the donut. It has a nice crust on the outside with a soft sweet potato dough on the inside.

Goroke Donuts at Soul Deli

As for the dough, Lee keeps it simple with flour, water, milk for the kkwabaegi, sugar, and salt. The chef opts for regular all-purpose flour with less gluten, but baker’s flour is recommended for best results. In the end, the elasticity of the dough must be good.

“It’s quite a long process to make the dough,” says Lee. “It has to be soft and stretchy because you put a lot of padding inside. If it’s not stretchy enough, you can’t make the shape.

Daero Lee Chef and co-owner of Soul Deli

Lee mixes the dough for at least 15 minutes to achieve a stretchy consistency before rising. “I use my combi steamer to steam the dough at 35 degrees Celsius and it doubles in volume,” he says. “I take 50g portions, leave them for 15 to 18 minutes, put the stuffing inside and close them at the same temperature. Then I fry the donuts at 170 degrees Celsius until they get the right color.

Korean donuts echo the similarities of typical American-style options, but there are key distinctions. “It’s similar, but it’s quite different at the same time,” says Lee. “[For regular doughnuts], it’s the icing and toppings, but for Korean donuts, it’s what’s inside.

Leaven

At Comeco Foods in Sydney’s Newtown, owner Yu Orzone has created a sourdough donut to meet the dietary needs of customers. “The reason we started developing sourdough donuts was because our friend’s son has some allergies,” Orzone explains. “He has gluten, dairy, egg, nut and seed allergies, so I thought, ‘Let’s make something he can eat with everyone’.”

Yu Orzone Comeco Foods

Rice flour is the key ingredient used in Comeco’s gluten-free donuts, with the team making the flour in-house using a grinder imported from Japan. A combination of white and brown rice is used. Organic brown rice is also the base of the venue’s four-year starter. “If the starter is too young, the flavors are too strong,” says Orzone. “At this point, the starter is working in its best condition.”

The “sourdough sticks” are also made differently than your standard yeast option. Instead of undergoing a fermentation process, the dough is fermented for 72 hours before being fried in rice bran oil. “We use it because it has a high smoke point,” says Orzone. “We fry them at 180 degrees Celsius until they’re golden and crispy on the outside.”

Sourdough Donuts Comeco Foods

Creations that forgo dairy and gluten have gotten a bad rap in the past, but ingredient innovations have gone a long way to ensuring chefs can produce end products that are inclusive for allergy sufferers. or intolerances and which taste as good as the norm.

“People are surprised when they have our donuts because the texture is similar to normal fried donuts,” says Orzone. “We have customers who have no dietary restrictions and enjoy the unique flavor of sourdough donuts.”


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