There is something magical about the smell of yeast donuts in the morning. No matter winter, spring, summer or autumn, it’s always dark and a little spooky when you enter my grandparents store, but the one thing that always made it worth going in with Dad when I was small, was the hot fresh donut that would be my reward for the sweet dreams I was missing.
Growing up in our small town, the only way to truly get a hot fresh donut right after it’s been iced, where it’s still warm and gooey to the touch, and the icing oozes down your fingers, was to go in with Dad and help make them. So, at 5:30am, come rain or shine, snow or sleet, Dad would make his way down to our families small grocery store and make the donuts for the breakfast crowd, and it truly was a first come first serve, if you weren’t there by 7:30 am, you’d be out of luck to get a glaze donut. The bonus to this treat, was the one smell I love the most, the yeast rising.
We have an old rickety proofer, a long metal case with a door and wheels that has more dings than smooth spots, but it still makes the dough rise and go from a small flat circle to a lovely round, gooey lump of yeast goodness. Now, Each morning as I get up to make the donuts and a I hear the roar of the proofer sputter and spit to life, I think of my childhood, and I still can’t wait til the timer fills the small deli with it’s blast of sound signaling it’s time to fry the donuts. I still smile as the over powering smell of yeast hits my nose as I open the door to get the first pan of donuts out to fry, I close my eyes and remember making donuts with Dad and Grandpa and smile. It may be loud and ever voicing it’s complaint as it rises it’s millioneth donut, but I wouldn’t replace the proofer for the life of me, because I know it’s going to make the best donuts in the world, as it has done for 40 years.