Skip to main content

donut mania

One of the side effects of the economic downturn has been some great sales.  Over the weekend, I found an automatic donut maker on sale at a deep discount.  This fulfilled a lifelong dream.  I had long considered larger units, such as the Donut Robot, but I thought them impractical.  Not only are they expensive, but they are hard to clean and generally require a professional kitchen.  This unit is designed for home use and promised to have tractable maintenance, although donut-making and messes go together like donuts and chocolate icing.

The unit presents itself as a donut maker.  At one point in the manual it refers to mini-donuts.  Micro-mini-donuts would be more accurate.  They're about an inch and a half in diameter with a little tiny hole in the middle.  But they taste great when they come fresh out of the machine.  Plus the process is fascinating to watch in a Homer-esque way.  The machine squeezes out a round halo of dough which it lets sit in oil.  It then very carefully flips it over and lets it float down the river of oil until it reaches a platform that gently lifts the donut  and deposits it in a tray.

Throughput is a problem.  We only get about 2 donuts per minute at the moment.  Given the tiny size of the donuts, that's a long wait for a meal.  This dough may have been too thick, resulting in overly small donuts.  The fundamental throughput problem, though, needs to be solved by parallelism.  We hope to build a multiprocessor with several donut machines that can produce the volume of donuts required to keep crowds of students happy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ann Arbor MI: West End Grill

Trev, Jan, and Karem took me to a wonderful evening at West End Grill located, appropriately enough, in the West End. The restaurant still has its old tin ceiling festooned with stained glass chandeliers. I was too hungry to take a picture of our appetizers: crab cakes and bleu cheese tarts. The crab cakes had just a bit of heat to them, something you don't always find in a crab cake but which worked very well. The bleu cheese tarts lived up to their intriguing premise, rich and tangy. This is my caprese salad. The mozzarella, tomato, and basil were all outstanding. The balsamic vinegar had been very well aged, giving it a thick consistency. My main course was tuna, perfectly prepared to a medium well. The tuna left just enough room for a chocolate lava cake paired with decaf coffee. The cake was rich and moist. I kept scraping my plate to be sure I retrieved all of the chocolate.

Miami: Shorty's BBQ

The Widens introduced me to another Miami favorite, Shorty's BBQ. We had three different meats: brisket, ribs, and chicken. All were excellent. I would say the brisket was my favorite, which was was fork tender and moist. Shorty's is best known around town for its piquant sauce. In the photo, the top sauce is a standard red, sweet BBQ sauce.  The bottom container holds Shorty's special BBQ sauce.  It was great---the highlighted spice is, I believe, cumin.  The sauce is of a lighter color than the sweet sauce, so there are other things going on as well; I suspect it has less sugar. I love cumin because it tweaks the palate in a different way than many spices.  I loved this sauce so much I ate it by the spoonful.  Bill and I agreed that this sauce is reminscent of the sauce from Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City. 

Pressure Cooker Candied Ginger

I made candied ginger a few years ago. It's not something I would do every day but I had a lot of fun doing it. I recently acquired a pressure cooker and it inspired an interesting idea to me: why not make candied ginger in the pressure cooker? It should be very soft and flavorful. Here is the result. I peeled two large ginger roots, cut them into small cubes, and put them in the pressure cooker with heavily sugared water. The traditional method first boils the ginger in plain water to soften it and then again in sugar water to candy it. The resulting candy was very tender but still with the characteristic ginger texture. It was also sweet without being overpowering. The traditional method leaves a lot of sugar crystallized around the ginger. The pressure cooker gives a much more subtle result. The ginger stays moist even after it cools but you can dry it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. That inspired me to dip it in chocolate. While I was in the b