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Easy Sourdough Donuts


sourdough donuts

These irresistibly delicious sourdough donuts offer a healthier alternative to the traditional store-bought donuts. Through the fermentation process inherent in sourdough, these donuts boast enhanced nutrient bioavailability, promoting easier digestion.

Crafted from just seven wholesome ingredients and fried to perfection in avocado oil, they exemplify simplicity without all the additives. Utilizing a sweet, stiff sourdough starter, which I’ll guide you through creating, ensures these donuts are devoid of any sour tang while maximizing their gut-friendly benefits.

The result? A delectably dense texture that practically melts in your mouth with every bite!

sourdough donuts inside view

Are sourdough donuts healthy?

Traditional donuts are considered to be one of America’s unhealthiest foods. But, who doesn’t love a good donut? When developing this recipe I kept 3 things in mind 1. make it easy, 2. make it a cleaner option, and 3. create that notable donut texture.

A donut is still a donut and should be enjoyed in moderation, but I believe a homemade donut with a sourdough starter is a better option, and here’s why:

  • Digestion Benefits. The sourdough fermentation process can improve the digestion of the donut, making it easier to digest and absorb nutrients. The beneficial bacteria present in sourdough starters can break down complex carbohydrates and proteins in the dough, making it easier for our bodies to process and absorb the nutrients. This can help to prevent bloating and other digestive discomforts that are common with traditional donuts.
  • Fried in avocado oil. Avocado oil is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties due to its high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), specifically oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body by suppressing the production of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that contribute to inflammation.
  • Better nutritional profile. These sourdough donuts are made with 7 whole ingredients. You can modify them to your dietary needs, lessen the sugar, or even use whole-grain flour!
Easy Sourdough Donuts

What is a sweet stiff sourdough starter?

A sweet stiff sourdough starter is a type of sourdough starter that is characterized by its low hydration and sweetness. Stiff starters typically have around 50% hydration or less, which makes them thicker and more dough-like in texture. The sweetness comes from the sugar and the natural fermentation process of the starter, which produces sugars that give the dough a sweet flavor.

Sweet stiff sourdough starters are great to use in sweet recipes where you don’t want the sourdough tang to overpower the flavor. They also produce a denser texture, which is lovely in sweet recipes. The best part about it, is it still holds all that wonderful gut nutrition!

If you want more information on sweet stiff sourdough starters check out my article here!

How to make sourdough donuts

BAKER’S SCHEDULE OPTION 1:
  • Make the sweet stiff starter the morning of, and mix the dough in the evening (around 7 pm) to bake for the following morning.
BAKER’S SCHEDULE OPTION 2:
  • Make the sweet stiff starter the evening before you mix the dough. Mix the dough in the morning, allow to proof, refrigerate overnight, and shape & bake the following morning.

Ingredients& Equipment

For the sweet stiff starter:

  • 20 grams active sourdough starter
  • 45 grams water
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 90 grams of all-purpose flour

Tip: there will be 5-10 grams of extra sweet starter to account for any sticking to the sides of the jar. It is better to have more than less!

For the donut dough:

  • 150 grams of sweet stiff sourdough starter (from above)
  • 300 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 120 grams of whole milk
  • 65 grams of sugar (if you want a sweeter donut up the sugar to 100 grams)
  • 57 grams of unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 grams of salt
  • 4-5 cups of avocado oil for frying (you can use vegetable oil)

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

The glaze is optional. You can use powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar, or keep them plain!

Equipment:

  • mixing bowl
  • food scale
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • donut cutter (or a glass jar with a 3-5 inch opening)
  • rolling pin
  • shallow pan for frying the donuts

Make the sweet stiff starter

  • To a clean jar add the active sourdough starter.
  • Next, add the water and stir until the water becomes “milky.”
  • Then add the sugar and stir until most of it has dissolved.
  • Lastly, add the flour and mix until no traces of flour are left. The stiff starter is dough-like and best mixed with a fork, your hand, or a silicone spatula.
  • Cover the jar loosely with the cap and the starter should double in size within 8-12 hours.
sweet stiff levain

Mix the dough

  • Ensure your sweet starter has doubled or tripled in size before mixing the dough.
  • In a small saucepan warm the milk, sugar, and butter and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has cooled, add it to a mixing bowl and stir in the sweet stiff starter using a fork.
  • Add the egg, flour, and salt and mix until everything is combined. A silicone spatula mixes this dough together nicely.
  • Once everything is mixed, cover the mixture with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
sourdough donuts dough
The sourdough donut mixture will look like this

Knead the dough

  • After the dough has rested, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes or until it comes together.
  • Note: This is a sticky dough, but it will come together. Add small amounts of flour to help with the stickiness, but try not to exceed more than a 1/4 cup.
  • Once the dough is nice and elastic, place it in a buttered bowl cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest (10-12 hours) @ room temperature (68 degrees F). If your home is above 72 degrees F, I recommend making the dough earlier in the day and placing it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Optional: perform 2 stretch and folds within 60-minute increments. While this isn’t required, it can help with the overall rise and structure of the dough.
Kneaded sourdough donut dough
Kneaded sourdough donut dough

Roll & Shape the Donuts

  • The following morning ensure the dough has risen. It should almost triple in size.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray some non-stick oil on the paper.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to where it is 1/2 an inch thick. Tip: flour and lightly oil your rolling pin to avoid sticking.
  • Cut out as many donuts as you can and continue to roll out the dough until all of it has been used. This recipe calls for 12 3.5-inch donuts and 12 munchkins (the middle of the donut).
  • Place each donut and munchkin on your baking sheet and cover with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap for 2-3 hours.

Fry the sourdough donuts

  • In a shallow pan, heat 4-5 cups of avocado oil (about 1.5-2 inches deep) on medium-high heat and allow it to reach a temperature of 355-365 degrees F. You can test it by placing one of the munchkins in to see if it floats.
  • Fry 2-3 donuts at a time for 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side.
  • Place the donuts on a cooling rack with a pan underneath to catch any excess oil.

Glaze the donuts

  • While the donuts are cooling, make the glaze. The glaze will stick better if the donut is cooled down.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Place each donut in the glaze and enjoy! I use just powdered sugar for the munchkins but feel free to glaze them too!
  • You can store your sourdough donuts in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days on the counter. They are best enjoyed the day of.
Easy Sourdough Donuts

More sweet sourdough recipes

sourdough donuts
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Easy Sourdough Donuts

This sourdough donut recipe is simple and yields perfectly fluffy and flavorful donuts every time. Learn how to make these delectable treats with just a few ingredients and steps.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Proofing time15 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sourdough donuts
Servings: 12 donuts
Calories: 200kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Food scale
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • donut cutter or a glass jar with a 3-5 inch opening
  • Rolling Pin
  • shallow pan for frying

Ingredients

For the sweet stiff starter

  • 20 grams active sourdough starter
  • 45 grams filtered water
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 90 grams all-purpose flour

For the donut dough

  • 150 grams sweet starter
  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 120 grams whole milk
  • 65 grams sugar see notes
  • 57 grams unsalted butter melted
  • 5 grams salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 cups avocado oil for frying (vegetable oil can be used)

For the glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the sweet stiff starter

  • To a clean jar add the active sourdough starter.
  • Next, add the water and stir until the water becomes “milky.”
  • Then add the sugar and stir until most of it has dissolved.
  • Lastly, add the flour and mix until no traces of flour are left. The stiff starter is dough-like and best mixed with a fork, your hand, or a silicone spatula.
  • Cover the jar loosely with the cap and the starter should double in size within 8-12 hours.

Make the donut dough

  • *Ensure your sweet starter has doubled or tripled in size before mixing the dough*
    Refer to notes for baker's schedule options on when to mix your sweet starter.
  • In a small saucepan warm the milk, sugar, and butter on low and allow it to cool (room temperature).
  • Once the mixture has cooled, add it to a mixing bowl and stir in the sweet stiff starter using a fork.
  • Add the egg, flour, and salt and mix until everything is combined. A silicone spatula mixes this dough together nicely.
  • Once everything is mixed, cover the mixture with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough

  • After the dough has rested, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes or until it comes together.
  • Note: This is a sticky dough, but it will come together. Add small amounts of flour to help with the stickiness, but try not to exceed more than a 1/4 cup.
  • Once the dough is nice and elastic, place it in a buttered bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest overnight (10-12 hours) @ room temperature (68 degrees F). If your home is above 72 degrees F, I recommend making the dough earlier in the day and placing it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Optional: perform 2 stretch and folds within 60-minute increments. While this isn't required, it can help with the overall rise and structure of the dough.

Roll & shape the donuts

  • The following morning ensure the dough has risen. It should almost triple in size.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray some non-stick oil on the paper.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to where it is 1/2 an inch thick. Tip: flour and lightly oil your rolling pin to avoid sticking.
  • Cut out as many donuts as you can and continue to roll out the dough until all of it has been used. This recipe calls for 12 3.5-inch donuts and 12 munchkins (the middle of the donut).
  • Place each donut and munchkin on your baking sheet and cover with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap for 2-3 hours.

Fry the sourdough donuts

  • In a shallow pan, heat 4-5 cups of avocado oil (about 1.5-2 inches deep) on medium-high heat and allow it to reach a temperature of 355-365 degrees F. You can test it by placing one of the munchkins in to see if it floats.
  • Fry 2-3 donuts at a time for 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side.
  • Place the donuts on a cooling rack with a pan underneath to catch any excess oil.

Glaze the donuts

  • While the donuts are cooling, make the glaze. The glaze will stick better if the donut is cooled down.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Place each donut in the glaze and enjoy! I use just powdered sugar for the munchkins but feel free to glaze them too!
  • You can store your sourdough donuts in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days on the counter. They are best enjoyed the day of.

Notes

Baker’s schedule option 1: 

-Make the sweet stiff starter the morning of, and mix the dough in the evening (around 7 pm) to bake for the following morning. 

Baker’s schedule option 2:

 
-Make the sweet stiff starter the evening before you mix the dough. Mix the dough in the morning, allow to proof, refrigerate overnight, and shape & bake the following morning.
Stiff starter: There will be 5-10 grams of leftover sweet starter, it is better to have more than less!
The glaze is optional. You can simply use powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar, or keep them plain!
Sugar: For a sweeter donut use 100 grams of sugar. 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1donut | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 200mg | Sugar: 8g

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Comments

  1. Perfect, these are perfect! Thank you for posting this recipe with sweet stiff starter. I wonder if these will freeze?5 stars

    1. Thank you Marcy! I’ve never tried freezing them but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!