Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yummy Fermented Whole Food Donuts -- I Repeat, "Yummy"

by Chris Masterjohn

No donut will ever be a health food, but the following doughnut recipe rocks.  I invented it a number of years ago, and it's a great idea for a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. 

These are fermented whole grain donuts, but in my experience you can give them to the uninitiated without telling them and they'll have no idea.  They are, quite simply, delicious.

This recipe is not gluten-free, but I'd be interested to hear back from people in the comments if they manage to replicate this with a gluten-free flour.

The recipe calls for home-made kefir.  It's possible that making the kefir from half cream instead of whole milk would reduce the water content and make the donuts easier to form.  I would be interested to hear back from anyone who manages to replicate this with yogurt to the same end.  Or, if anyone manages to make a casein-free version.

Well folks, here it is!  Enjoy!


Makes 20 donuts.
3 and 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup raw honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup kefir
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs

Mix half the flour with the maple syrup, raw honey, butter, kefir, and
spices. Do not include the eggs, baking powder or salt. Let sit in a pyrex bowl
over night.

The following day, take the batter, which should be thick and stiff, and blend it together the
eggs, salt, and baking powder. Flour a board with the whole wheat pastry flour. Roll
about a tablespoon of the batter into a long piece. Curl into a circle and pinch
together. Make the donut about HALF the size you want it. Ideally it should
fit completely on your spatula before you cook it. Continue. This made 20
donuts for me.

Heat lard to about medium in a saucepan on the stovetop. Use a medium at
largest, or a small, to avoid needing enormous amounts of lard to get sufficient
depth. You'll need about 3 cups, and will probably have to add more and
eventually use a quart. The good news is the donuts will soak up at least half of
this, so it's not going to waste. You have to be careful to not have the temperature so high that the donuts brown on the outside before they cook on the inside. I used medium; medium-high might be better.

Spatula the donuts into the lard one at a time. They'll sink, then rise.
Flip over. Cook about one minute on each side. Monitor the donuts for your
desired brown-ness to fine-tune your cooking time.

Shake in a bag with rapadura or sucanat. Back and forth, up and down. Flip it, and
repeat. Your donut is done.

Mmm, good :-D

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.


  1. Hello!
    I wanted to know what you think of the theory that soaking flours in dairy doesn't really help that much against phytic acid and that lemon juice would work better, according to Rami Nigel (see link below)
    There isn't much consensus out there on how to properly soak grains either (I've read Guyenet, Fallon, Nigel, Campbell-McBride on the subject and they all propose interesting but different or contradictory methods). I would like to know what's your take on this. Even among WAPF followers, for example, the healthy home economist switched to white rice a while back. Guyenet suggests that's a waste of nutrients. What do you think?
    Thank you

  2. Sorry to bring up this probably lame question, Chris: what about the myth? fact? that honey becomes toxic when heated? could you please elaborate on that or point to some serious source please? :D

  3. Chris,

    "Shake in a bag with rapadura or sucanat."

    We've looked into these sweeteners. Are either of these healthier than sugar or a natural sugar substitute like pure stevia powder?

    Jack Kronk

  4. Why would you only eat these once in a blue moon? Looks like pretty healthy ingredients to me! Will have to try this. Thanks for posting!

  5. @Mar,
    You expressed concern of phytic acid. They chelate (bind) a % of iron and this reduces the % of oxidation done by iron. In moderation phytic acid serves us as a useful anti-oxidant.

  6. @ Might-o'chondri-AL
    Thank you; I realize phytic acid is not evil. Even soaking I wouldn't be able to get rid of all of it so I'm not worried about not having enough :) I'm also concerned about lectins and other irritants. For many years I abused unproperly prepared grains. The result was malabsorption, weight loss, leaky gut (mild celiac disease according to western medicine) I've been off grains for 9 months, but would like to re-introduce some of the non-gluten ones as I heal. This time I'll be preparing them well!!! I would really like to know Chris's opinion on white vs. brown rice, and soaking/fermenting methods.

  7. A bit off-topic, but I wondered if Chris would write a response/critique of the most recent Scientific American issue which features "Obesity" on the cover.

    Personally, I found it profoundly disappointing. And they still have the multi-page Lipitor ads in every issue.

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