Three reasons why you should try making these fluffy sourdough doughnuts!

The snow on the roof window has finally melted and it was time to dip my hands into the dough again. I didn't have to think for too long what my next challenge would be - sourdough doughnuts.  There was a carnival this weekend in Slovenia and although I didn't get dressed in any mask to scare the winter, I was in the carnival mode with my sourdough doughnuts. Fair enough.

I haven't fried anything in my life yet, let alone doughnuts, so I decided to make them only this time - you know, to have an experience - but after trying them, my decision was long forgotten...Next week, I am making them again, they were so incredibly fluffy! I googled doughnuts and I was quite surprised by the variety of doughnuts around the world, so I just might try something different.

sourdough doughnuts


Sourdough doughnuts

Airy and fluffy sourdough doughnuts
Yields: approximately 25 small doughnuts (for 1 hungry and sweet tooth person)

Baking schedule:
The dough for these sourdough doughnuts was mixed in the morning, left to rise for 3 hours and the doughnuts were fried in the afternoon of the same day. Sourdough starter was mixed a night before. 

250 g active white wheat flour sourdough starter
310 g white wheat flour
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon rum
3 tablespoons honey (I used acacia honey which has quite neutral taste, you could also use floral honey)
a pinch of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice + zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons of melted butter
100 g warm milk or water (I used milk)

coconut oil for frying
1 70% cacao chocolate
ground hazelnuts, desiccated coconut and lemon zest for sprinkle

1. The night before making doughnuts, mix 125 g of white wheat flower, 125 g of water and 1 tablespoon of active rye sourdough starter. Leave to ferment overnight or until risen and bubbly on the surface. Also, take out of the fridge 3 eggs so they will be warm in the morning.

2. In the morning, prepare two bowls. In one, first beat 3 egg yolks then add rum, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter. In the second bowl, first mix warm milk and 250 g your active white wheat starter from step 1 then add the liquids from the first bowl and 310 g of flour.

3. Mix all the ingredients well and starting kneading the dough. If you want to have really airy doughnuts, knead the dough for at least for 10 minutes, 15 is even better. I mixed mine for 15 minutes by hand. You will notice that the dough is quite sticky in the beginning, so to handle the dough, you can:
- wet your hands before kneading + repeat wetting few more times
- use slap and fold technique (see this video for demonstration)
By the end of the kneading, your dough should be elastic, alive and should have quite a smooth surface. When you shape it into ball, you will also notice small bubbles on the surface.

Sourdough doughnuts

4. Move your dough to a clean and slightly greased bowl and let it rise until doubled in volume. This may take up to 3 to 5 hours, depending on how warm the place where you keep your dough is. For the bowl, I used a cylindrical shape container where I marked the dough height at the beginning so I could know exactly when my dough was ready for shaping. I transferred the container on the bottom of the warm oven - it took the dough 3 hours to rise.

5. When the dough has doubled in volume, use your plastic dough scraper to take it out on a  non-floured working surface and shape it into a ball (having a bench knife or plastic dough scraper helps). The dough should be very alive and easy to work with.

6. Next, take your ball of dough on a slightly floured surface. Stretch it to be approximately 1 cm /half inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter or a glass and cut out the doughnuts. Transfer each of them on a parchment paper. When your cut out a first series of doughnuts, you will be left with some dough which you simply knead one more time and cut the doughnuts again. Try not to knead the dough too long - the more you knead it, the less fluffy the doughnuts will be.

Sourdough doughnuts

7. Cover your doughnuts with a kitchen towel and let them rise for at least 1 (1.5 ) hour, depending on their size - the bigger the doughnut, the longer the resting/rising time. You will know your doughnut is ready, when the indent you make with your finger doesn't come back quickly. If you let your doughnuts to rise for not enough time, you will find a big hole in the bottom.

8. When doughnuts are risen, heat the oil. The height of the oil in the frying pan should be at least the height of three fingers. The oil is ready, when the bubbles appear when putting a handle of a wooden spoon in it.

9. Fry each doughnut for 2-3 minutes on one side (with the lid on) and 2-3 minutes on another side (with the lead off). When baked, transfer them onto a plate lined with a napkin.

10. Leave to cool and then dip each doughnut into melted chocolate. Sprinkle with ground hazelnut, desiccated coconut or lemon zest. You can wait for the chocolate to harden a little bit but I believe the more possible option is to eat them straight away.

Sourdough doughnuts

Perfectly fermented dough will result in very light, fluffy and airy doughnuts with large holes.

Crumb pf the sourdough doughnut

3 reasons you should try these airy and fluffy sourdough doughnuts

1. Easily digestible - no flatulence, foggy mind or heavy stomach after eating them.

2. Easy to make and you can easy adjust the preparation into your daily routine. For instance, you can rise the dough overnight until doubled and bake the doughnuts in the morning.

3. Absolutely mouthwatering - for a second you will believe this is better then winning a jackpot, I mean seriously.

Sourdough doughnuts

What are your favorite doughnuts?

Happy baking, Natasa

PS: This was the hardest post to write so far! #droolingbehindthescreen

44 thoughts on “Three reasons why you should try making these fluffy sourdough doughnuts!

  1. I have finally made those and they were really good. I just needed to add a bit more flour. And they certainly serve more than one :)
    Thanks for the recipe!

  2. You did? :) So great to hear that and even more that you liked them!
    So, it looks I was really hungry back then :) :)

    Lea, thank you for trying the recipe and for letting me know, I really appreciate it :)

  3. I made these today and they were pretty good. The dough wasn’t sweet enough for my family but I really liked them. The dough was very sticky but after the bulk rise it became very soft and smooth and not sticky. Very good recipe, Natasa. If I make sourdough doughnuts again, I will definitely use your recipe. Thank you for sharing : )

    1. Cami,

      thank you so much for your feedback about the recipe, it means a lot and I’m so happy you liked the doughnuts :)
      Yes, the amount of sugar in my recipes is really reduced and I often use honey as a sweetener. The recipe should come with a warning :)

      Let me know, if you try any other recipe on the blog!

      Wish you a nice day,

  4. Hi Natasa,

    I’m a sourdough enthusiasm myself, baking and growing my starter for about 3 years now and I’m really happy I found your lovely blog!

    Have a nice day!


    1. Hi Adelina,

      thank you for stopping by and welcome :)

      If you need any help with the recipes or have any question, just let me know :)

      What is your favorite sourdough bread?


  5. Hi,

    Thanks for the recipe!

    I have saved this page under my favourites but it took me two months to notice you were in Slovenia?? I’m from there too although I’m born and live in Sweden.

    I guess you were referring to “pust” since it’s the period when most “krofi” are eaten. If I may ask – was/is your recipe somehow inspired by how they made them in Trojane?

    Lep pozdrav

  6. Hi. Your recipe sounds amazing.
    One question though.. can I take a tablespoon of sourdough out of the fridge and then continue with the recipe or the tablespoon must come from sourdough that has been fed within twelve hours?

    1. Hi Toby and thank you! :)
      You mean for the starter that we make in the evening, right? Yes sure, you can use the one from the fridge, it will work as well. I think I should write mother or base starter instead of active rye sourdough starter, as each of us keeps the different starter as a base.

      Hope they turn out great!


    1. Hi Laura!
      That’s a great idea, indeed! I haven’t tried baking them yet, but I think it should work (or maybe boiling them like pretzels), just like baking cinnamon rolls or some similar doughs. I would, however, make sure to provide the steam in the first minutes of baking to make the crust a little bit crunchier. And then – some delicious toppings like butter roasted apples :)

      And thank you, it means a lot :)

  7. Hi!

    Yum can’t wait to try this recipe out.
    Where you say white wheat flour is that just plain white flour?
    I am only just getting started baking with sourdough starter as I cannot have bakers yeast. I should also have wholemeal flours? Although it wouldn’t matter if I had a little white.
    Do you reckon I would be able to subsititute atleast some of the white flour (If that’s what you use) for white whole wheat flour? If so what rations would you suggest I will experiment but I just thought if you or anyone has experimented already any help would be handy!
    And furthermore have you made a starter using wholemeals? I just really aiming for that fluffy texture rather than dense which is generally what you get with using flours other than white..

    Thanks so much!
    Appreciate your response!

    1. Hello, Grace!

      So sorry for my late reply!

      In this recipe I’ve used strong bread flour (white wheat flour).
      It’s a great option to make this whole grain option. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t have any advice from the first hand for you.
      However, for the experiment, I would suggest to start with 30% and then continue with more, so the dough feels comfortable. The texture really depends on the whole grain flour, some can be very sticky and some not. The starter was also made from white wheat flour.

      Maybe the other option would be to make whole grain version and then try to bake doughnuts instead of frying them.

      Yes, I use rum mainly due to its excellent flavor :)

      Have a nice weekend,

  8. Sorry added to my comment above- is the rum used for flavour or as a preservative? I am new to making donuts I see other recipes use nutmeg have you tried this?

    Thanks again,

  9. Hello! Thank you for the lovely recipe!
    I am wondering if you think it might be possible to freeze the cut/formed donut before the final rise? Have you ever tried something like that?
    I appreciate your advice. Thank you!

  10. Hello,
    Nice and Yummy looking recipe. I look forward to making them soon iA.
    How long did it take you to make your sourdough starter from the scratch?

    Thank you,

  11. hello!

    i was wondering if i can omit the rum? or substitute it for something else? could you please advise as I have a doughnut emergency..

    best regards


    1. Hi,

      Yes, you can absolutely omit the rum. You could use any other liquour for taste or even a juice if you don’t like alcohol.
      Sorry for late reply!


  12. I made these today. I think I died and went to donut heaven. Dough was very sticky and had to knead for more like 25 mins but they worked beautifully.

  13. Hello,
    I made these last night with fresh milled einkorn wheat. They did not turn out as fluffy as yours, but that is to be expected. I did not have rum or a lemon so I used, vanilla extract and Apple cider vinegar to substitute, but I couldn’t taste it in the doughnuts at all once cooked. I got involved in a movie and fermented them about seven hours before cutting them out so they were nicely tangy. I like them and my 3 year old son likes eating them plain, but when I make them again I will add salt, get rum to use and maybe add a touch more sweetener. These were so easy to make just listening to what the dough wanted. Smell and taste lovely, wasn’t what I expected in a doughnut exactly, but after adding a light vanilla glaze I really love the flavor. It’s worth noting, I never ate a sourdough doughnut before these . I love them.?

  14. Thanks for the recipe. I had a great time making the donuts with my kids. I will do it again. I was thinking about some adjustments that I want to play with. Wondering what you think of these.
    1) using two whole eggs instead of 3 yolks+water
    2) letting the dough rest overnight in the fridge
    3) adding ~20g sugar and 5g salt to the dough
    I also think that I will knead less next time. I think too much kneading led to a tougher dough.

    The fun is in the play and the experimentation.

    1. Hello Natan!

      Thank you for your feedback and suggestions for improvement, happy you liked it :)
      You are definitely on the spot with suggestions. I was planning to change the recipe a while ago, but there is always something else to do first :)
      1. Absolutely! Just make sure the dough isn’t too stiff or too liquid.
      2. Very good idea! It will help the dough to harden a little bit and the rolling and cutting will be easier, plus the taste will be better. I sometimes also make doughnuts with brioche dough, where I knead in the butter into the dough seperately and than I also put it into the fridge overnight to harden.
      3. Yup, also, feel free to add sugar and salt.

      Are you on instagram? My name there is @mydailysourdoughbread :)

      Hope this helps,

  15. This recipe is truly robust!
    I used whole wheat sourdough starter and whole wheat and whole rye flour only, and rice milk…
    Deep frying in olive oil….

    The dough is very flaccid and does not make a good gluten matrix, but it bubbles up and gets very fluffy. Even though you end up squashing the dough balls as you transfer to oil because they are so flaccid, they bounce back into shape in the pan!
    And they are very tasty but really filling, so after two you have to quit!!

    1. Hi Robert!

      Happy it worked out well for you, thank you for the feedback! :)
      I’ve never tried whole grain version, nice idea.

      Oh, I agree about being very filling, I ate 5 on NYE and couldn’t sit, hehe.


  16. Dear Natasa,
    I am so happy to finally have time to browse through your beautiful page! I think I’ll make a sourdough bread this weekend so I’m searching for your tips and recipes – thank you for it! I was thinking for some time now about making donuts (krafne :) ) because I really miss the homemade ones made by my grandmother. I’m sure I’ll be trying your recipe also!

    1. Hi Lorena! Thank you for stopping by and your kind words :)
      Let me know if you need any help or updated doughnuts recipe that I haven’t posted yet, it’s more on brioche side :)


  17. Hello,

    Very Keen to try this, just started experimenting with Sourdough Starter, just curious in the Ingredients list it says 250g of starter, but then in the method below it says mix 125 g of the flour and then 125g of water then 1 tablespoon of the starter, how much sourdough starter do we need for the recipe? Do we add the 250 g of starter the next day? Thanks, Britt :)

  18. It didn’t work for me, Natasa.
    My starter was very bubbly, I used rye flour on the starter.
    I used spelt flour and spelt milk on the recipe, that was the only changes I made on your original. I followed it all through after that.
    After rising, I dropped the dough on the kitchen surface with no flour and it started to stick a lot to the surface, for that reason I then added flour. And after that all went wrong. I couldn’t cut the circles without sticking everything and stretch when I pulled out the remain dough. And so on. I fried 3 of them and it tasted awfully, they were flat and cracked.
    What do you think I did wrong?
    Thanks! They look very good on your images. I was very hopeful they would look like that.

  19. Excellent recipe! I’ve been baking bread with sourdough for years, but only recently started using it in sweet recipes. I used granulated sugar instead of honey and left out the rum, but kept everything else the same. I was worried after proofing the doughnuts that they looked too flat, but they puffed up beautifully in the oil. I will try these again with a filling of cream or jam.

  20. I can’t wait to try this tomorrow because my husband loves donuts but I can make these healthier for him!

    Do you have any idea what temperature your oil was for frying? I ask because with most fried donut recipes, too hot an oil will brown the outside too fast and leave the center uncooked. But if the oil is too cool, the dough absorbs oil like a sponge, it turns into a greaseball. That spoon trick hasn’t worked for me in the past to get the temp right – it will bubble when the oil it too hot, too!

  21. Oh! And putting whole eggs into a bowl of tepid water usually brings them up to room temp in about 10 minutes. No need then to worry about their safety.

  22. Hello! I’m just starting to bake sourdough breads and I tried my hand at these donuts. They came out absolutely delicious! I used melted milk chocolate and pistachio as garnish, but the dough really is so very soft and airy. I’ll definitely make them again.
    But I had trouble with the dough, maybe you could help me. First, I didn’t have rum at home, so I didn’t include it in my recipe, but that’s the only change I made. The dough came out too sticky to handle and it never came together, even after 30 min kneading. Do you know why that could happen? I used flour with 13% protein, so I dont think thats the problem. Maybe the way I knead the dough? The only way to do it was the folding method.
    Thank you for sharing this incredible recipe, I’ll be making it again for sure, maybe experimenting with it, adding different garnishes. I’ll try baking it instead of frying, I think, because my family tends to avoid fryed food.
    Have a great week,

    1. Usually when I have a problem like that it is due to my yeast being unhappy. Try again when your starter after you have feed it a few days in a row, and it’s showing it’s emotional state through lots of happy bubbling.

      My preference is to knead as little as possible, I find kneading adds an undesirable toothiness to the dough, especially for donuts.

  23. Hi Natasa,

    I’m planning on making your doughnuts soon. A few questions,
    1. Am I able to knead the dough in a stand mixer
    2. Could I poach and bake the doughnuts, similar to bagels
    3. When frying, how much oil do you use.

    Thank you,

    1. Just an update as I wanted to make these doughnuts today.

      1. Mixing the dough in the stand mixer for 15mins was so much easier than handling sticky dough.

      2. I reserved half of the doughnuts for baking the next day. They are in the fridge.

      3. I must have missed the 3 finger rule on the height of oil! I fried half of the doughnuts and they came out crispy outside, and soft and inside! I rolled them in sugar and cinnamon, and they were delicious!

  24. Denise Well, they were bland and for some reason I did not get the rise I wanted. After tasting them I noticed the recipe has no salt. Salt would have made a big taste difference. The starter seemed perfect so I am surpridsed they did not turn out “cakey” They were more like non yeast donuts.

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