The not really sourdough doughnuts

doughnuts ||

I made some grand bold statements before Christmas on making sourdough doughnuts. I really was. I was going to do it. Really and truly, cross my heart and all that.

Then I looked at a few recipes and my figurative doughnut balloon? Well it slowly deflated.

I don’t know. All that deep frying, sugar, needing of an extra special cutter or doughnut maker thingy stuff. All that extra, well everything. It just took the wind out of my doughy-nut sails. I didn’t want to buy another contraption and I didn’t want to fry them all in lots of oil. Actually when I thought about it, I didn’t really want to cover them in oodles of sugar either.

Well why on earth would I be thinking about making doughnuts then, I hear you ask?

Rather good question really. You see, it started here…I blame them entirely for turning my world upside down with the deliciousness of their baked goods. It was because of them that I had lofty dreams of making sourdough doughnuts in the first place. Having the heady smell of cinnamon and sugar wafting around my kitchen. The decadent bite down into that amazingly heady mix of sugar and fat. Yes it sounded good, and my kids well they were more than keen, (they also had tasted those doughnuts you see.)

I paused. Had a little think and a then a little reassess. Maybe I would try a slightly healthier version? Could it be done? Would it pass the family taste test?

I decided to give it a crack. The first ones were completely edible, the kids inhaled them so there was no loss there. BUT, they really and truly weren’t doughnuts. They were rolls. Plain and simple. So what did I need to do to take them up to doughnut status?

I could try to make a little hole in them perhaps? And maybe up the sugar a smidge?

doughnuts ||

Second go. Doughnuts, they shouted! As I quietly plonked them on the table in front of them.

Now to the die hard doughnut fans of this world, there will probably be a brief muttering of no, that ain’t no doughnut lady. (I’ll spare you on all the corners I cut.)

Third go. Actually third go, didn’t even warrant a picture. Edible sure, but over proved and really bordering on a little burnt around the edges. (Actually maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a baker of doughnuts after all?)

Fourth go? It nearly didn’t happen, I was a bit over them, but there seemed to be this incessant whisper, one morrrre goooo….and so I did and they were the best ones yet. Were they technically sourdough doughnuts? Well, I’m not sure about that. What I do know is that I’ve locked myself into developing this recipe a little further and in the mean time? I hear they make excellent ones in Byron Bay and Hobart, lucky for me, two of my favourite places to go and visit!


How about you? Have you tried making sourdough doughnuts?

doughnuts ||

assistent original- possibly the nerdiest post I’ve ever done

It was finally here.

It, being the mixer I had decided on nearly three months ago. After writing this post. I researched, and researched what was going to be best suited for me. Which one to get… which one to get?

So why did I need a new mixer?

I make all our bread, and although my kids are still quite small, we go through a LOT of bread, so it’s only going to increase. Sourdough being the bread of choice or a sourdough/commercial yeast blend. I quite often use a fairly stiff dough that needs a bit of effort behind it incorporating the salt. While I have no problem with kneading, my kitchen has a problem with bench space… it’s very minimal!

With baby crawling around- getting in to things she probably shouldn’t be, four year old holding on to a leg singing me a sad sailor song, six year old trying to read out his homework, and a dinner pot on the stove probably close to burning. Even just the simple process of kneading salt into dough (in a very small kneading space) can be a little frustrating.

A good mixer, eases this. It really does.

Over the past few years, I had been using a Sunbeam Professional. I was really happy with it and it suited most of my cooking. Although it wasn’t until researching new mixers did I realise just what a flogging I was giving it. At the most I was mixing a little over 3kg of bread dough. The sunbeam recommended amount was less than half that. Lasting two solid years of sourdough making, (plus general kitchen baking 2 years before that.) I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

First I looked at the Kitchenaid Artisan KSM150.

Gorgeous colours, and looks solid. $749, 300watt motor, made in the USA, but only takes 1.3k of dough. Reviews also say it can run a little hot when being put to the test with bread dough, needing frequent cool off periods. It also may have times of creeping up the hook, if there is a larger amount of dough in there.

Kitchenaid Professional has definitely got more grunt and aims higher than the average home baker needs. However, as far as I could see it wasn’t available in Australia.

Next I looked at the Kenwood Premier Major KMM770.

No colour options (silver), 1200watts, 2.4kg dough capacity, 6.7L bowl capacity, and upwards of $700. Originally a British company, and is now all made in China.

The Kenwood Titanium Major was also a contender, with same colour, an increase in the watts- 1500, but no increase in dough capacity or bowl size. I was getting mixed messages as to whether an increased wattage in the different machines actually made any difference or not.

These machines did sound ok, but the dough amount still wasn’t enough and it was a sizeable machine for something that still wasn’t quite what I needed. Problems I had read about the Kenwood was ‘walking’ when it’s on and really noisy for the older machines, (not sure about the new ones.)

The Varimixer Bear Teddy- 5L I looked at, but the weight was concerning as the spot where the mixer was to go is again quite small. A lone stockist in Sydney was also quite vague.

Throughout my research another name kept popping up, Assistent Original. There didn’t seem to be any distribution in Australia, despite it being available seemingly everywhere else. It certainly didn’t look anything like any of the other planetary mixers I had looked at.

It did however, seem to be exactly what I was looking for.

Not too big, 7L bowl, could handle up to 5kg of dough, came with basic attachments and more if I needed them later.

It sounded good, really good.

But how to get one of these little gems? I didn’t think it would hurt to send an email, which went to a US distributer. That, then got bounced to Sweden, who in turn bounced it back to Australia, to a baking company who just so happened to be starting to import them. One load of ten had already arrived and disappeared into baking land, a second was to be shipped the next week from Germany. Was I interested?

Hell yes!

Fast forward several months, now with my Swedish mixer in my hot little hands… what could it do?

Let’s find out.

First up the instruction manual is not great. I watched the instructional dvd (also available on youtube) and that helped. I basically fiddled until I had worked out what was what,and mostly it was fine, (you do just have to play a bit.) The dough hook took the longest to get the hang of, (saying that, it was probably only half an hour) which worried me a little as this was the one I basically got the whole thing for. Finally I found if I brought the arm just a smidge more forward, the peg sat in fine.

There is an extensive recipe booklet that comes with it. It would be great to explore some Swedish recipes, but unfortunately it’s all in Swedish, and I can read not a word. With distribution of the machine in a handful of English speaking countries, I’m surprised they haven’t done an English language one.

In a nutshell…

Comes in lots of different colours- I got cream

800W and weighs 8.6kg. $682 plus postage

Developed, designed and manufactured in Sweden.

Has been around since the 1940’s

Previously known as DLX Electrolux, Magic Mill Verona- now known as my new kitchen love

Basic model comes with a dough hook, double whisk, cake beater, bowl scraper, dough roll, and lid

In built timer- this is sooooo handy. Dial it up and go and do other things, come back and viola.

It’s quiet. All you hear is a gentle mixing sound on the lowest setting, which for my bread is more than adequate.

When to use the different attachments- I’ve made, biscuit dough and cake batter with the double whisk, cake beater and dough roll. There isn’t a huge difference in the over all result. They all come up with the goods in the end. Dough hook definitely for the larger amounts of bread dough though. Initially I thought it wasn’t doing a whole lot, but it is. (Just be patient and let it do it’s thing.)

I was curious to know whether it could whisk a couple of egg whites as well as several kilos of bread dough. It could, and did. I haven’t done less than 3 egg whites at this stage, but for those three it worked beautifully.

The mixer has a lot more attachments available, and if I decide I want others down the track I can buy them singularly. For the time being though, the basic attachments suit my needs.

Problems with the machine- none what so ever. I’ll certainly edit this post if I come across any problems, but so far- using it is great. I’m still at the casually polish it as I walk by stage.

It is completely different to the other types of mixers on the market, which initially felt a little daunting on opening the box. I soon shook that off though…it’s good to be different. I’d be quite happy to have a machine like this in my kitchen for the next 20 years.


Have a look here, if you want to see it in action using the dough hook.

Other reviews that might be handy and of interest

Planetary mixer advice– on (Australia)

Assistent Original vs Kitchenaid-  (USA)


Where to buy it from if you are in Australia?

Blackwood Lane– who were very helpful when I had a lot of questions to ask before I purchased.

* I don’t get anything by writing this review, this is purely to help out anyone that might be in a similar position, looking for a new mixer and unsure of what to get for their baking needs. Would I recommend it?… Yes, it’s awesome.

** All food pictured has been mixed in the Assistent Original. 

Purple Carrot Bread

Now if I had a back yard garden I would have rows and rows of heirloom carrots growing. Not because I have an over whelming taste for carrots all the time, (although I do quite like them.) But because there are so many different colours you can grow. Orange, yellow, white, pink and for todays bread, the lovely purple.

I don’t often see them for sale, however my local farmers market has been stocking them the last few weeks so I’ve been stocking up. The Monkeys needed a little convincing they were indeed still carrots. A raised eyebrow and a sceptical look that only a 3 and 5 year old can give on being told, ‘of course they were carrots, taste them’.

So why should you eat an heirloom variety carrot?

* They taste fantastic. If you are comparing it to an insipid supermarket pale old orange carrot- well, there is no comparison.

* Encouraging genetic diversity. 

 * The purple carrots are full of antioxidants, and… they make things a pretty purple colour, (like this bread.)

Purple Carrot Bread

150g sourdough starter

150g purple carrots- steamed/ mashed

25g wheat bran

125mls water + purple carrot water from cooking

225g strong bakers flour

1 tsp salt

I did an over night prove in the fridge for this one. Baked at 240C with steam.

The result is a soft, chewy crumb similar to adding oats in a dough. The purple cooking water from the carrots adds to the intensity of the colour. The next lot of bread I made was just with the carrots, and no cooking water- resulting in a slightly less intense colour.

Next stop, Purple Carrot Cake…

This post submitted to yeastspotting.

Golden light rye rolls

Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day.

Travelling overseas, it was always breakfast time that excited me the most. What did the locals eat? How did they start their day?

Germany was always my favourite. A substantial rye bread, cheese, meat and muesli. I read once that the German breakfast was the best way to start the day in terms of low GI and giving lasting energy through out the day. Compared to their neighbouring companions in Italy, who often start the day with a strong coffee and some sweet biscuits to dunk in. Not that I didn’t like that breakfast as well, however I would quite often be hungry two hours later. By lunch time I would be chasing my tail, eyes looking vague and softly muttering oh please feed me.

Malaysia I was also happy with. Eggs and roti (roti telur) being readily available, a little sambal on the side with some tea laced with condensed milk to wash it all down. There’s quite a lot to like of condensed milk early in the morning.

Bagni di Lucca had posted recently on eating breakfast in Finland. While smoked salmon and I are not friends, the picture of the rye bread rolls, remained at the fore front of my brain until I just had to have a go at baking the little fellas.

I enjoyed them so much, there have been at least four batches since. Just the thing to start your day with. It’s not a bowl of cafe au lait, or a straight off the hot plate roti telur. But teamed up with some tarty marmalade and cheese or some avocado/black pepper and tomato and I’m a happy mama. Giving me lots of energy to think about my next meal…

Golden light rye rolls

200g starter (100%)

250g strong bakers flour

100g rye flour

50g golden flaxseed

200mls+ water (approx, may need more.)

1 tsp dark malt flour

1 tsp salt


1 tbls rye flour

80mls boiling water

Mixing ingredients together. Resting period of about 40 minutes before adding the salt, mix again plus a quick fold. Prove. Shape. Now make up the rye water mixture. (I first did this for this 100% rye, and wanted a similar soft top.) Slowly adding your boiling water, while quickly whisking your rye flour. Once mixed together just leave it until the bread is finished the final prove. Just before the bread rolls go in to bake add a good spoonful of the rye mixture to the top, smoothing it over. Squirt with water and pop in the oven at 240 with steam.

This post submitted to yeastspotting.