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What's happened to donuts?

I haven't had a good donut in years. Supermarket donuts are all inedible. Krispy Cremes are too doughy in my mouth and don't taste that great to me. The last Dunkin Donuts I had weren't good, either. I haven't found a good independent in quite a few years.

Is it just me, or do others who long for a good donut find them just as disappointing as I do? They all seem to have a nasty taste to them any more and coat my mouth with an unpleasant coating. I used to think it was just that the frying fat needed to be cleaned. Now I'm wondering if it's the zero-trans fat frying stuff that's being used today?

What do you think? Does zero-trans fat frying stuff impart an icky flavor to donuts now? Or what else might it be?

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  1. Have you gone anywhere that makes them from scratch and with pride. I can take or leave, mostly leave, generic chain doughnuts but a local made-from-scratch doughnut shop has a line out the door most weekend mornings for good reason.

    Their PB and J doughnut is awesome - salty and sweet, and always sell out quickly, They have great maple doughnuts, key lime custard with vanilla and graham crumbs, and truly great standards like lemon filled and Boston creme.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TampaAurora

      Maybe the issue is that I used to work for a donut shop in a small town in Colorado that made wonderful donuts. They were from a mix, but the shortening was always clean and fresh, and they were very, very good donuts.

      I've you've never had freshly-fried stil-warm donut holes with a swirled in a little bit of melted butter... you've missed something!

    2. I've never done it myself, but I once babysat for a lady who had a freezer full of homemade donuts just waiting to be thawed and consumed. They were delicious. No trans fats, either.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chummy

        I agree with going for the local donut places. They are few and far between!

        1. re: chummy

          That may be the answer... were they yeasted donuts or cake donuts? I never thought about freezing fried yeasted donuts... did she glaze them before freezing, and did the glaze hold up?

        2. Tim Horton's has also really gone downhill especially since Wendy's took over ownership.

          3 Replies
          1. re: livetocook

            Wendy's no longer owns Tim Hortons and has not for a while. It is back to being a canadian company.

            1. re: basachs

              Stop - you're both right. After the Wendy's takeover, they moved to a centralized bakery and the quality fell off dramatically at the individual stores. (Ask anyone who remembers the original apple fritter.)

              Wendy's ended up divesting Tim's, but the damage had been done, and the new management team hasn't changed the centralized bakery concept, which saves money at the cost of taste. And, all the mini-outlets at gas stations and grocery stores don't have room to make anything from scratch anyway.

              But what I really remember was the small town baker near our cottage in rural Quebec. Long before anyone had heard of Krispy Kreme, he made a glazed yeast doughnut every Saturday morning. In a town of less than 2,000, he made 60 dozen of these every Saturday, and he was always sold out by noon. They were hot, sweet, sticky, and perfect. It was Mom's way of making us shake a leg for her shopping rounds - "Hurry up, or we'll miss the doughnuts!".

              1. re: FrankD

                Well that goes to show you how long it's been since I've had one of their donuts or coffee for that matter. Thanks for the update you two :)

          2. I'm not sure where you are but if you are ever in Santa Monica or anywhere near there, you must go to DK's Donuts on Santa Monica Blvd. and, I think, 16th. They have had the best donuts there since forever. When I still lived there, I'd see Kong happily baking away, serving customers and he seemed proud of his donuts.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MinkeyMonkey

              I'm in Portland, OR but remember DK Donuts from the years I spent in Southern Calif. I don't think I ever got to the Santa Monica store, but others around the area. I agree - yes, they were good donuts.

            2. Yes, American donut-making is in an almost hopeless state, and it's not that recent a phenomenon. Aside from bomboloni from an artisanal purveyor in San Francisco, I haven't had a good donut in years, either. Independent donut shops are few and far between, and those in my area really aren't any better than Dunkin Donuts. A couple of local bakeries turn out marginally acceptable donuts.

              It's not because of zero trans-fat frying, either. That coating inside your mouth comes from frying in shortening; a disgusting practice.

              Seriously, the only recourse for most of us is to learn to make our own. Yeast raised jelly donouts are not hard, if you're not intimidated by the frying. Look up a recipe for sufganiyot and fry them in light olive oil. It's good to remember how wonderful donuts can be.