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Got Any Tips for Making Donuts?

I recently tried making my own donuts. The result: disappointing, exploding circles of greasy dough. OOOfa. I decided that other people's donuts — like the ones I tried this week at the new eatery, 606 R&D, in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights — are much better than any I could make at home.

Well. Little did I know that I could get donut coaching, like 606 R&D gets.

Co-owner Ilene Rosen (formerly of City Bakery) says her shop's plain, powdered sugar and cinnamon-dusted treats are made according to the specifications of Dreesen's Famous Donuts in East Hampton, NY. Dreesen's runs a donut training course for retailers.

Yes, donuts need advanced schooling.

Rosen says Dreesen's donut process is very specific. The dough is mixed at two different speeds, and has to rest for a prescribed number of minutes. (Eight to ten minutes, she reluctantly told me, hesitant to reveal donut guru Rudy DeSanti Sr.'s secrets).

And the frying?

"There's a math equation that takes into account such things as the air temperature in the restaurant and the temperature of the dry ingredients," Rosen said. She added they crank up the Donut Robot first thing in the morning, so that the oil is ready when the batter is.  "Otherwise, that could extend the resting period."

The Donut Robot was behind the counter.  I couldn't get a good picture of it, but you can see it here.

The plain donut I shared with my husband (yep, sharing the caloric load!) was lightly crisp on the outside.  It came apart a little too easily, though, shedding big, fluffy crumbs on the table top. The flavor had an undertone of vegetable or canola oil.  But it sure beat the oily paperweights I've made.

Rosen urged me to persist. 

"It's like baking bread," she said. "If you keep at it, you'll get there."

What are you trying to perfect in the kitchen? Donuts? Bread?  Jam? Let me know, and I'll commiserate with you.