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June 7, 2013 / theyellowbungalowla

celebrating donuts…


Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for: National Donut Day 2013!

There’s no shortage of delicious treats, both here in the bungalow and around the City of Los Angeles: cakes, cookies, cupcakes (Sprinkles started here), pastries, candies, and countless others. For my sweet tooth, I’ll take a donut…or three!

Although I feel pretty confident in the kitchen, I confess that I have never once made a donut, and for good reason. I’ve had the good fortune of residing near talented donut makers for almost all of my life.

There is a bakery in the tiny town in which I was raised called Pfaff’s (the P is silent: f-aaaaah-ffff! fun to say!), named after the family who owned and operated it. Each day, Julius Pfaff would rise earlier than anyone in our town to fry fresh donuts for the people of Pontiac. My father, who was raised on a farm and has never slept past 6:30am in his life, would drive into town early on Saturday mornings to pick up a box of fresh donuts for my sister and me. What was unique about Pfaff’s was the way they packaged a dozen donuts: wrapped in a beer can flat, the shallow cardboard box that was used to delivery a 24 pack of beer cans. This might sound crazy to outsiders but made perfect sense to us small town folk, as the bakery was directly across the street from the local bar. The bakery reused these cardboard flats, first lining them with white butcher paper before arranging with fresh donuts. The shallow box worked brilliantly, as the donut mavens who tended the counter could arrange at least a dozen donuts without the slightest squashing or smearing of icing. A small piece of tape was used to fasten the two ends of paper together, “sealing” the box while still allowing any warm donuts a little extra air to breathe. It’s funny, sharing these details helped me realize that Pfaff’s was way ahead of the recycling and repurposing curve!

These days, I still don’t have to go far for a great donut. The bungalow is walking distance to Bob’s Donuts, one of the most iconic, long-standing donut shops in Los Angeles. In honor of this special holiday (I swear I didn’t make this up), I picked up a box of Bob’s Donuts for a sweet celebration. Chocolate-chocolate cake donuts are my favorite, although Bob’s makes an incredible crumb cake donut as well. He is probably best known for yeast donuts because he makes them the “old-school” way, which of course takes longer to rise but tastes better.

National Donut Day is a great reason to pick up a dozen of your favorite donuts to share with friends or family. If you don’t have a chance to celebrate today, a lazy Saturday morning is the perfect time to enjoy a fresh donut. To me, every day should be National Donut Day!

donut holes

And if you ever find yourself in the tiny town of Pontiac, Illinois, you should stop into Pfaff’s for a donut and a cup of coffee. They are still in business after all these years, now run by a second generation of Pfaffs. It looks almost exactly as it did when I was growing up. And lucky for both of us, it tastes the same too.

bob's donuts

Bob’s Donuts is located at the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles, adjacent to the well-known Grove shopping center. Bob no longer works in the on-site kitchen, but it’s my understanding that the apprenticeship for his donut makers is extremely demanding, and that he stops by every couple of days to make sure everything is “just so.” This attention to detail is what makes Bob’s donuts incredibly special…and delicious!

yeast on orange

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