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You are currently viewing Sourdough Bomboloni (Donuts)

Sourdough bomboloni — aka deep fried donuts — sound decadent to the extreme, but actually they’re quite delicate in flavor and texture. When you fry the donuts at 355-370°F, they barely absorb any oil but they still get a wonderful thin exterior and a puffy interior from being immersed in hot oil.

Moreover, this donut dough is leavened with sourdough, contains lemon zest and a glug of rum, and perhaps most importantly is made with Breadtopia’s bolted all purpose flour, which offers a fantastic midpoint between refined flour and whole wheat flour.

The new flour I’m using makes this recipe a slight variation on a recipe I worked on a few years ago with another baker. We hybridized the softest sourdough donuts recipe from the My Daily Sourdough Bread blog and the donuts aka pillows of joy recipe from the book Baking School: The Bread Ahead Cookbook.

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Perfectly delicious plain, or you can fill the donuts with custards, creams, jams or jellies

Flour Substitutions

The bolted all purpose flour I use in this recipe is very finely milled, soft in flavor, and has about 12% protein. The resulting donuts feel like they were made with refined flour but they have more color and flavor. If you choose to use white bread flour or a white all purpose-and-bread flour mix, you can reduce the flour by 30g (from 530g to 500g). In this dough, the bolted flour is more manageable at a lower hydration. I’d actually predicted the opposite–that the germ and small amount of bran would make the bolted flour dough feel dry, but this wasn’t the case.

Heat the oil to 355-370°F and check on it frequently with an instant read thermometer

Fermentation and Timing

As written, this recipe will have you prepping a sweet stiff levain the night before, mixing dough in the morning, shaping dough in the early afternoon, frying dough just before dinnertime, and eating sourdough bomboloni for dessert (and breakfast the next day). You absolutely can tinker with this schedule though, by doing the first rise at a lower temperature (all day), by refrigerating the dough after the bulk fermentation, or by refrigerating the shaped dough (if you have room in your fridge).


These donuts are fantastic with just the sugary exterior (or try cinnamon-sugar), but if you search online, you’ll find myriad tempting fillings like this vanilla custard. With my latest batch of donuts, I made two simple not-quite-homemade fillings. One was a mix of crème fraîche and strawberry jam, and the other a mix of crème fraîche and Milka brand’s chocolate hazelnut spread (similar to Nutella). These fillings satisfied my wish for sweet-tang and used up the aging crème fraîche in my refrigerator.

Scaling and Freezing

Once I set up a deep frying system with a hefty amount of oil, I tend to want to make as many donuts as possible, even if it means I’m gifting donuts to friends, eating donut-ham sandwiches for lunch, and wrapping and freezing finished donuts to be eaten later.

You can do these things too, or you can freeze the dough after shaping but before the final proof. Wrap each ball individually and when you’re ready to use them, unwrap them while they’re still frozen (to prevent sticking) and re-cover the dough balls loosely while they defrost. Then let them rise and expand as depicted in the gallery below before you fry them as per the recipe instructions.

Tools (see the list after the photo gallery)

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