The softest sourdough doughnuts with strawberry and apple pie cream – upgraded version

Remember this sourdough doughnut recipe from exactly two years ago? This has been the most popular recipe on the blog, which kind of makes me think that nothing can't stop us from eating a delicious doughnut.

I learned a lot about dough since then and today is the official start of the carnival season, so called Fat Thursday - so, can there be a better way to celebrate this but with super soft sourdough doughnuts recipe?
The difference to the previous recipe is that I mix in the butter in the second step of dough making and that I also leave the dough to cool down and ferment in the fridge which also helps to bring out some flavour. The additon of butter makes the dough really soft and fluffy. 

So, whether you call them doughnuts, berliners, bomboloni, paczki or something different - wait no more, the recipe awaits - worth of every minute, I promise.

Sourdough doughnuts

The softest sourdough doughnuts
Yields: 15 doughnuts

Baking schedule:
The dough for these sourdough doughnuts was mixed in the afternoon, left to rise for 3-4 hours at room temperature to increase the volume, put in the fridge overnight, shaped in the morning, left to rise and fried in the afternoon of that day. 


Note: Baker's percentages are put in brackets if you would like to scale up or down the formula.

90 g white wheat flour (bread flour)
20 g powdered brown sugar
25 g active sourdough starter
40 g water

500 g white wheat flour (bread flour) (100%)
all of the above starter (appr. 175g)
3 eggs (appr. 165 g)
60 g brown sugar (12%)
10 g rum (appr. 1 tbsp) (2%)
10 g salt (2%)
110 g milk or water (22%) - I used milk  **
pinch of vanilla
lemon zest of one lemon
120 g softened butter (24%)

** NOTE: Please feel free to add more liquid (20-50 g) more, if you feel the dough is too stiff and your flour can absorb more liquid. The dough should be soft, not runny but also not too stiff.

oil for frying
sugar for coating

strawberry  crème légère - I used this recipe
apple pie cream (for this, I first cut apples into small pieces and sauteed them on the butter until soft. I then added cinnamon, vanilla powder, brown sugar and little bit of lemon juice. Next, I blended everything in a blender and let the batter cool down completely in the fridge. When cooled I mixed it into the whipped cream and seasoned to taste with additional cinnamon and vanilla powder.


Sourdough starter
1. In the morning, prepare your sourdough starter. The starter will be stiff, more like a dough. Leave it to ferment until risen, puffed, and active. This may take from 4-12 hours, depending on the temperature and strength of your starter.

2. In the evening/late afternoon mix the dough. First, dissolve your entire starter in 110 g of milk. Add all other ingredients, except for the butter. Mix everything together. If the dough feels dry, don't be tempted to add too much of additional liquid - mixing in the butter in the following phase will soften the dough (experiment with the softness of the dough) - but do add the liquid if the dough is too stiff. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes and then leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes.

3. Next, knead in half of the butter quantity. Once completely integrated, add and knead in the other half. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes (it is advisable to use mixer) until smooth. Shape the dough into ball and place it into clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to ferment at the room temperature for 3-4 hours until the volume increases by half of the initial state, then put the bowl into the fridge overnight.

4. In the morning, take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into 15 pieces, each weighing 70 g. Shape each piece into a ball and place it on slightly floured tray lined with parchement paper. Cover the tray with clingfilm - this will prevent the dough from drying out. Leave the balls to rise until passing the poking test (appr. doubled in volume) - make an indent - if the indent comes back quickly, leave them to ferment a little bit more. Final rise may take 4-7 hours, it's temperature depending.

Sourdough doughnuts

5. When the balls are risen enough, prepare the frying oil. Heat to 175-180°C/347-356°F. If the oil isn't hot enough, the doughnuts will soak the oil and be greasy. If the oil is too hot,  the doughnuts will cook very fast on the outside, but will be unbaked inside, so make sure it's at the right temperature. It is advisable to sacrifice one doughnut to see how it bakes. Also, keep in mind that at the end of frying the oil becomes hotter.

Sourdough doughnuts

6. Fry each doughnut for 2-3 minutes on one side (or until nicely brown) and 2 minutes on another side. When fried, transfer them onto a plate lined with a napkin, so they soak up the excessive fat.

7. Dust the doughnuts with powdered sugar (or roll them into sugar), then leave them to cool down before filling them.

8. To fill the doughnuts, make a short incision with the knife, then use a pastry bag to fill them with the filling of your choice.

You'll have to excuse me for not having a crumb photo and trust me that the crumb is super super soft and airy at the same time. The reason for not having a crumb photo is because I gave some doughnuts away to friend and other were eaten before having a chance to bring them in front of camera.

UPDATE: I made another batch of these delicious doughnuts (with white chocolate cream with grated dark chocolate and orange zest) and I managed to take a photo of the crumb before eating them :)

Sourdough doughnuts
Sourdough doughnuts

What is your favorite doughnut filling?

Don't forget to share the experience if you try them - tag me with @mydailysourdoughbread or let me know ;)

66 thoughts on “The softest sourdough doughnuts with strawberry and apple pie cream – upgraded version

    1. Hi Ben, there was a typo, I’m so sorry, soli is salt in Slovenian, I was thinking in Slovenian when writing.

      1. Hi Marilyn, as I replied to Ben, it was a typo – it was ment to be salt :)
        Sorry for that, I corrected it now.

        Hope you give them a try :)

    1. Thank you for explaining Eliza, I wrote the recipe in Slovenian and then forget to correct it. So sorry for the typo!

  1. Natasa, these look and sound fantastic! That apple pie cream? I’m gonna try it and then put in/on everything I can think of ;)
    I have the same question as Ben, though … what is soli and what does it do?
    Also, is there a reason why you chose to make little balls, rather than rolling out the dough and using a large cookie cutter to cut out the doughnuts, or is this just personal preference?
    Much love x

    1. Hi Elise!
      Soli was a typo (or Slovenian word), it’s ment to be salt :) Lol, I should get some proper sleep.

      I used to cut the doughnuts from rolled dough, but somehow found the texture of the second rolled batch uneven, also with some air pockets. Otherwise it’s also a good way to make doughnuts, but it’s important to fit the thickness of the rolled dough to the cutting object diameter – the bigger the cutter, the thicker the rolled dough.

      Apple pie cream – you’ll definitely like it! I was searching for ways on how to make it more pattisiere style, but my pastry knowledge is rather non-existant, so I improvised in this way. It’s a start.

      Hope you like them, thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Loved you first doughnut recipe already so this one is just in time for shrove tuesday! Plumbutter (Powidl) is defnitly my favourite filling but this apple pie cream sounds tempting…

    1. Thank you Susanna! :)
      Is powidl typical filling of buchteln as well? Sounds very yummy, I love plums, perfect comfort fruit :)

  3. How essential do you think the chill in the fridge is? Ive made donuts from your other recipe with out, can i speed it up? Thoughts please :)

    1. Hi Tania!
      In this recipe we add the softened butter to the dough, which makes the dough quite soft, this is why the fridge part is necessary – if you want to shape the rolls, you need to first harden the dough to make it easier.
      The alternative I see is: rise the douugh for 3-4 hours as stated in the recipe, then put the bowl with the dough into freezer for some time. I don’t how for how long, maybe half an hour, hour. Then I would simply roll the dough to be 2 cm thick and cut out the round doughnuts (it’s how they are made here is Slovenia). Or, if you feel you can shape the rolls, shape them instead.
      Hope this helps, I haven’t tried the shortened version yet :) But do let me know, if you try it :)

    1. Živjo Erik,

      The reason is mainly to reduce the acidity of the starter and thus of final sweet product. This practise is common in Italian bread baking tradition (like panettone, colomba, etc.), where masa madre (stiff starter) is refreshed several times before use.
      You can read more about lievito and masa madre here:

      And of course, containing sugar, it also speeds up the rise, like you mention.

      Hope this helps,

  4. This recipe looks awesome! I have made your other sourdough recipe before a few things and love it! I am wondering what “soli” is?

    1. Hi Katie,

      happy you like it :)

      I thought I corrected soli – do you still see it in the recipe? Soli is salt in Slovenian, a typo :)


      1. Thank you :) I saw that after I read through the comments!

        Also, I am wondering if I could make regular donuts with the whole in the middle with this dough and if I would have to do a step differently to do that? (Longer/shorter rise time in the morning before frying)

        1. Hi Katie, apologies for late reply.

          Yes, absolutely. You can check my first doughnut recipe here for the method (
          So, I would suggest you roll the dough to 1.5 – 2 cm thickness and then cut out the doughnuts. I think the proofing time would be a little shorter, but I can’t tell exactly how much shorter. You would need to check if they are ready with poking test – poke the doughnut and observe the reaction – if the indent springs back very quickly, it’s not ready, if it comes back slowly, it’s ready.

          Hope this helps,

  5. Hi Natasa,

    I made krofi today and they came out PERFECT! Even if i tweaked them a little, though. I used only egg yolks and instead of rum i pour in amaretto. My mum (family doughnuts expert) ordered me to fry first with the lid on and after turning without lid. Unfortunately they are already gone and my doughters stomach hurts :P

    I think we are ready for a new batch :)

    Have a nice day

    1. Dear Erik,

      thank you so much for the feedback and for trying out the recipe :) I’m really happy it worked well!
      I know moms know the best when it comes to dougnnuts (and potica) :)
      Amaretto sounds delicious, need to experiment with other liquers as well, good idea.

      I also made another batch very soon after the first one, and there are new wishes for this weekend.

      Happy baking, Nataša

    1. Hi Joyce,

      I haven’t tried the baking, but I’m sure it would work. This is a brioche-like dough which could be used for cinnamon rolls or babka as well, so I would say yes.
      Would love to hear your experience if you try it out.

      Regards, Nataša

    1. Hi Magda!

      The cream is so so tasty, definitely making it again for some other baking projects. The steps are well described, which made it very easy to make and I am happy to make first steps into pastry area, thank you :)


    1. Hi Amanda,

      Yes, it is just finely ground brown sugar. You can also use regular brown sugar, it will work as well. Or white one. As long as you put some sugar in, so it keeps the acids low.

      Kind regards, Nataša

  6. I don’t know what I did wrong, but these turned out absolutely hard as a rock. I added even more liquid than what you suggested because I couldn’t get the dough to even come together :( I’ve been baking with sourdough for a few months now and usually have a great crumb. Any ideas where I went wrong??

  7. Beautiful donuts, I cannot wait to try this recipe!

    May I ask what the purpose of the Rum is, and if there a non-alcoholic substitution I can use?

    Thanks in advance, Cheers!

  8. hi, Natasa
    just curious if i could just skip the initial 12 hours starter process and use my regular starter instead? i’ve been experimenting with starter for months and currently am using ones with sugar already on it. just realize that recipe is the exact same with yours

    thanks Natasa! x

  9. White whole wheat flour and bread flour are not the same, but they are listed as such in the recipe. Which one do you recommend using? Have you tried both? Thank you.

      1. Oops, sorry Kaht. I didn’t end up making these. It was a different recipe. Still awaiting the answer on which type of flour.

  10. Hi – I’m in the midst of making this now. Thank you for the clear instructions and beautiful photos. I have a couple of questions (no worries if you can’t reply fast, as I am sure I will figure it out one way or another lol).

    1) About how deep should the oil be?
    2) This white chocolate cream that you used in the later batch — do you have a recommended recipe you can point me toward?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Melissa,

      sorry for late reply, we had national holiday today and I wasn’t at computer much.

      So, the oil should be at least 2 inches (5 cm), so the doughnuts can float easily.
      White chocolate cream is just melted white chocolate mixed with whipped cream, easy but delicious :)

      Hope they turned out great!


      1. No worries! I hope you had a great holiday.

        I had to retard the dough twice because of scheduling issues, so I’m only now doing the final proof about 24 hrs later :)

        Thank you for the oil depth info, and the white chocolate filling… I’m getting ready to prep that now – yum!

  11. Hi Natasa, thanks for the recipe, I tried and loved it! Had some leftover apple jam and it worked out perfectly with whipped cream. Looking forward to improve on my frying skills for next time but really happy with the outcome.

  12. In case anyone is curious… I made these today and cooked them in an air fryer. I was hoping so badly a magical air fryer really could fry a donut with just air but they turned out more like a roll than a donut 😥. Super delicious but if you want yummy donut goodness there is no sidestepping actually frying up the dough!

  13. This recipe has been exactly what I was looking for. I varied it by using 1 egg and 2 egg yolks and only 90 grams butter. I know my yeast is a bit slow so I made the dough in the morning, put it in the fridge all evening, then shaped it so it would rise overnight and be ready in the morning for breakfast yummmmmy. It took 9 hours to double in size so it worked out well :) Thnak you so much for all the instructions. It was sooop easy to follow and i think this is the best recipe out there for sure!

  14. Hi! I finally made these today and my only problem is that there are NONE left!! We are on C19 Lock down in London and flour is a bit tricky to get so I made 1/3 of the recipe. Worked really well, definitely worth the wait 🤗 Thanks for brining us joy today.

    1. The recipe is very short, what are you doing to get 13 pages!? Use ctrl c + ctrl v and copy what you want to print………

  15. Made these today and everyone LOVED them! What would recommend for storing them? I know it’s a silly question by most likely there aren’t many left, but we do have a few left that we are hoping to drop at my in laws tomorrow! Thank you in advance!

  16. Hello Natasha,
    I made these yesterday.. they came out so well.. thnak you for such a detailed recipe. I made a mango creme Légère instead of strawberries.. it came out so well..

  17. Hey Natasha,
    I googled powdered brown sugar but I can’t find anything like that… did you mean regular brown sugar?

  18. Hello, I followed the recipe and in the morning when i took the dough out to shape it it was super hard as a rock, it’s that normal and I just have to bring to room temperature? Or the dough has to be soft even when cold??? Thanks

  19. Our family of six just finished celebrating the youngest’s 12th birthday over a breakfast of these… so delicious! We traveled to a cabin for family vacation so I was looking for a recipe that would travel well instead of my usual doughnut recipe, which is simply my yeasted bread recipe rolled out, cut, and fried. These were perfect! Thank you.

  20. Hi there, I’m so excited to try this. My starter is looking lovely! Just wondering if the eggs and or milk should be at room temperature or does it not matter?
    Thanks so much

  21. Okay, I’ve never heard of powdered brown sugar. Will regular powered sugar work or should I be using brown sugar, not powdered.

  22. I’m really sad because I had a very stiff dough that ended up not rising. I tried giving it the benefit of continuing with the recipe but it was a fail. I used the same starter to make a sourdough loaf this weekend so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the sourdough starter. I guess I’ll have to try this again. I’m not sure what went wrong

  23. Do you know how many days the dough can sit in the fridge if I am unable to follow the timeline exactly? I made the dough a couple days ago and have not been able to take them out to roll and fry.

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