Brioche Doughnut HELP

chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
825
245
Joined Jun 15, 2006
Chef
I am surprised at your comments here. As a chef you should be aware of quality, consistency, presentation and how the product needs to be.

Every donut should be within a range of consistency so that the customer does not need to wonder what happened to it.

This is the same for anything in a restaurant. And the business owner/chef should demand the highest quality of their products. It is the difference between making profit or closing your doors, especially in foodservice.
Hey, don't get me wrong.......I'm probably one of the most anal-retentive perfectionist chefs out there. I drive myself crazy sometimes with obsessions over details.

But after having been in this business for over 30 years, I learned there are things that matter and things that don't. I've always kept an ear out for customer comments at any opportunity. I've learned what they consider important because that's the key to sales. Sometimes the things I obsess over aren't the same things customers care about and that has helped me relax a bit. I always try to come as close to perfection as humanly possible, but I've also learned there are some things you can just let go. And I suggested as much when I responded to the air pocket problem in the OP's donuts.

I've gone above and beyond in trying to help, but unfortunately, I am out of ideas at this point. I don't think I could be of much more help unless I was actually there to see what's going on, because honestly, this shouldn't be that complicated. I've been able to troubleshoot nearly every problem in my career and I take it as a personal loss that I couldn't help here.
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
Hey, don't get me wrong.......I'm probably one of the most anal-retentive perfectionist chefs out there. I drive myself crazy sometimes with obsessions over details.

But after having been in this business for over 30 years, I learned there are things that matter and things that don't. I've always kept an ear out for customer comments at any opportunity. I've learned what they consider important because that's the key to sales. Sometimes the things I obsess over aren't the same things customers care about and that has helped me relax a bit. I always try to come as close to perfection as humanly possible, but I've also learned there are some things you can just let go. And I suggested as much when I responded to the air pocket problem in the OP's donuts.

I've gone above and beyond in trying to help, but unfortunately, I am out of ideas at this point. I don't think I could be of much more help unless I was actually there to see what's going on, because honestly, this shouldn't be that complicated. I've been able to troubleshoot nearly every problem in my career and I take it as a personal loss that I couldn't help here.
Chef
I totally respect that. If it’s not a big deal and really doesn’t affect sales and would be much more trouble than the outcome really matters, I’m with you. Let it go.
But if it does matter it needs to be fixed.
I think the baker should give it the good college try, then if in the end there is no way to prevent it, maybe try adjusting the icing consistency or experiment with the donut temp to find the right coating look.
I also think your approach to customer concerns rather than your own is a great way to find out what’s is critical. And the customer’s opinion is what ultimately what matters.
For me, as a customer, the donut flavor, freshness, and texture are what matters. As long as these are done right, the yeast reaction is not an issue and actually I love what the CO2 is doing. Give me more air pockets!!! It’s live yeast, after all!
 
235
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Joined Dec 29, 2019
1. yep it can be fixed.
2. nope it doesn't really matter.
3. but if it bothers you, fix it.

if the dough is allowed to proof before handling it will develop pockets of weak and strong areas in the dough because yeast is a wild thing. Chill it immediately and it should roll as smooth as putty and proof evenly. It works for dunkies and thats good enuf for me.
 
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Joined Mar 25, 2021
Hey, don't get me wrong.......I'm probably one of the most anal-retentive perfectionist chefs out there. I drive myself crazy sometimes with obsessions over details.

But after having been in this business for over 30 years, I learned there are things that matter and things that don't. I've always kept an ear out for customer comments at any opportunity. I've learned what they consider important because that's the key to sales. Sometimes the things I obsess over aren't the same things customers care about and that has helped me relax a bit. I always try to come as close to perfection as humanly possible, but I've also learned there are some things you can just let go. And I suggested as much when I responded to the air pocket problem in the OP's donuts.

I've gone above and beyond in trying to help, but unfortunately, I am out of ideas at this point. I don't think I could be of much more help unless I was actually there to see what's going on, because honestly, this shouldn't be that complicated. I've been able to troubleshoot nearly every problem in my career and I take it as a personal loss that I couldn't help here.

the ring donuts have improved but now have this strange bubble that happens around the donut when frying. The Bismarck’s are horrendous

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Joined Jan 27, 2002
So I assume you're making Keller's doughnuts because at some point you decided it was the ultimate doughnut, right? At least it was at one point? If so, why did you tweak it in the first place? Why would you spend two years on one recipe? I think in a lot of ways you're overcomplicating things.

I was able to find Keller's recipe and I read through it. One thing that jumped out at me was the notation that the doughnuts DO get denser as they sit. Is that the problem you were trying to solve when you started tweaking the recipe in the first place?

Another thing that jumped out at me was the mixing time of 30 minutes. It's true that all the butter in a brioche dough makes it very slack and it's slow to come together on the mixer, but still, 30 minutes seems excessive. Also in most brioche doughs that I've made, the gluten gets developed before you add the butter and you only need to mix it for about 5 minutes after all the butter has been added. Another thing was it seemed like the dough spent a lot of time on the bench at room temperature. The letter folds don't make much sense to me either. Why do a letter fold when you're not incorporating butter like in a croissant? I've done brioche feuilletee, where you actually do laminate the dough with additional butter and it sounds like you're doing a laminating action with no additional butter, so I'm not seeing the point of it at all.

After puzzling over this, I decided to google further, and I found a blog post from a pastry chef that had actually worked for Keller and made those exact donuts many times herself. She posted a recipe and I noticed that her methodology was different and fits more what I would be inclined to do as well. She doesn't do any folding, the mixing time is cut in half, and most importantly, she pulls the dough off the mixer and onto a sheet pan to go in the fridge overnight. NO bench time. NO folding. It sort of confirmed my initial concerns. Here is the blog post: http://www.mandymaxwell.com/blog/brioche-donuts

The longer the dough is on the bench, the more time to exhaust the action of the yeast present in the dough. It's like your running your dough out of gas before you even get it in the fryer. You want to maximize the power of the yeast to get a nice fluffy donut. So my advice is pretty simple. Keep the dough cold, reduce the mixing time (you only need to mix it til it's developed and that will take less than 30 minutes I guarantee you), skip doing the letter folds, and take the dough from the mixer directly to the fridge. You're eliminating unnecessary steps, and the dough will be easier to handle. Also, revert to the original recipe and forget about the ingredient tweaks you have made previously. I would suggest following the instructions on Mandy's blog post and see how that works out for you. I would be inclined to trust the instructions from the pastry chef that actually made them. The bottom line though is that all doughnuts deteriorate in a pretty short period of time no matter what recipe you're using. There really is no substitute for a doughnut a few minutes out of the fryer......why do you think Krispy Kreme is such a popular doughnut? Because they're frying them all day. They're so good because they're so fresh.

Edit: one more detail I noticed: You said you moved from using 100% bread flour to and 80% bread flour/20% pastry flour mix. The Keller recipes I found call for using AP only, so I'm wondering why you did that as well.

Please report back. I'd like to know if I helped to solve your issues.
 
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Joined Jan 27, 2002
I concur, Mandys recipe sounds about right.
I used Kellers Shortbread many years ago,I didn't rate it at all.
 
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Joined Dec 29, 2019
Yes commercial recipe in commercial mixer, 40 qt planetary mixer
As I wrote before , theres something fundamentally wrong, they don't look right.
Even ignoring the bubbling they don't look remotely like yeast raised donuts.
The sharp corners suggest the dough is either not proofed at all before going in the oil or the dough is way way too firm, it looks like fried cookie dough.
I would question the source for the recipe.
Try this commercial formula.

3 oz fresh yeast ( 1 1/2 oz dry), dissolve yeast in milk.
1 qt milk
8 oz shortening
6 oz sugar
3 lb 10 oz bread flour
8 oz eggs
1 oz salt.
Mix to a smooth dough.
Tip onto floured tray, let relax at least 30 minutes.
Roll and cut, let proof before frying, time varies with ambient conditions.
Don't fry them until they look proofed. If you're using dry yeast it could take over 90 minutes to get moving.

If this doesn't work, get your cell phone out and make a video , post it on youtube because its something you're doing.
 

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