These Fluffy Homemade Doughnuts by Flour Jar are Worth Getting Sugar on Your Chin ForSeptember 12, 2017
Among the many nostalgic treats that have lately come back into vogue are doughnut—touted as “the new cupcake” for having been given the “gourmet”, artisanal treatment over the past couple of years. What’s not to love about the classic deep-fried pastry you know and love, but made with real ingredients and with a much wider array of flavors than at your standard commercialized (ahem) donut chain? This is how they do things over at local home-based baking venture Flour Jar. Made from scratch and with zero artificial flavors, colorings, or preservatives involved, each piece is soft, fluffy, and impossibly light—a far cry from the dense, dry, saccharine versions sold at the malls.
“I was craving [doughnuts] one day and I had that sudden urge to make it from scratch,” owner Bea Melendres explains. In the process she would end up with one too many extra pieces that she couldn’t finish the batch—but this would turn out to be a blessing in disguise as she took the opportunity to shoot photographs of the extra pieces and post it on social media. Immediately people took notice, and though originally only intended for her own personal consumption, she ended up overflowing with inquiries from people eager to try her take on the pastry. As much as Melendres didn’t want to say no, she was faced with limitations regarding the equipment: her mixer at the time could only accommodate 25 doughnuts at a time, she lacked a standalone deep-fryer, and, with no assistants in the kitchen she was left to do the work all by herself. In spite of this, she took on the challenge and accepted each and every order (“like an idiot”, she laughs). While she had to endure many a sleepless night of preparing doughnuts as a consequence, it was a worthy sacrifice as she her friends gleefully enjoyed her creations. Motivated, she continued to experiment, eventually getting her dough recipe down pat, and resulting in the plush pastries you can enjoy today.
Dusted with sugar or dipped in burnt caramel that crackles as you bite, you get a warm, pillowy crumb within, light as air and immediately yielding to the bite. The secret lies in frying the yeast-based dough fresh, something which Melendres makes sure to do as close to the pickup time as possible (“a few minutes or . . . an hour before it is delivered or picked up by our clients,” Melendres shares). But the real kicker is on the inside, as each doughnut comes stuffed with a generous amount of filling—a combination of silky pastry cream and airy whipped cream, as we’ve observed—that just about matches the dough base in its ethereal lightness. The variants themselves are changed up monthly and the lineup generally involves flavors that are classic, trendy, local, and/or seasonal—but Melendres always makes sure to high quality ingredients: fresh fruit, real dairy, and the like. It pays off: tear into a piece (something you won’t find hard to do given its delicate texture) and you’ll find the billowy but not-too-sweet filling eager to burst out from within the doughy blanket and into your mouth. It’s a messy affair as you get sugar granules and cream all over your fingers, your clothes, the sides of your lips (do keep a hankerchief around)—but a delicious one at that, one that’ll make you rethink the possibilities with the ubiquitous deep-fried snack.
Established in 2014, Flour Jar’s long been lauded for their ultra-chewy cookies (highly praised by Leslie Cheng of food blog Shoot First, Eat Later) and now supplies a number of pastries (most notable of which is the Bruce Bogtrotter cake ) to Toby’s Estate branches across the metro. But you’ll be surprised to know that Melendres was not always a baker, and it was only after college that she ever dipped her toes into baking. “I wasn’t exposed to the kitchen [growing up] and I didn’t know this would be my passion up until i graduated with a different course,” she shares. “Back then I thought [it] was too late to learn the craft because I had very minimal idea how to [even] cook.” Determined, however, she enrolled in a culinary school to study the field in-depth, and though she would find out it was much harder work than she’d expected (entailing “endless nights, early mornings, no weekends or holidays, working and standing 12 hours a day . . . [and] mental breakdowns!”), she fell in love with the craft and ventured into starting her own business. These doughnuts being the pudding-filled proof, then clearly, her hard work’s paid off.
A home-based pastry business now making freshly-made, artisanal doughnuts in various flavors.