On January 1, 2011 San Francisco board members voted to ban the use of trans fat for baking and frying purposes in commercial establishments. This ban affects any and all bakeries, but being the fat kid I am, I took interest as to how this would affect one of my favorite treats, donuts. This is how the great donut debate of 2011 started.
To get this small study started, I went to Dynamo Donuts, located on 24th between Hampshire and York, and got a delicious vanilla bean.
When I asked the gentleman behind the counter what oil Dynamo used to fry their donuts with, he smiled and said, “Organic palm leaf oil.” While it is healthy, organic palm leaf oil is not cheap. The little donut cost a whopping $2.
Then I walked a few blocks down 24th and South Van Ness and found The Jelly Donut. There I got a classic butter/vanilla donut covered in white frosting.
The donut was cheap, about $0.85 and looked like every other donut I have consumed in recent history. In fact, it was the donut of my childhood, the classic, quintessential donut. When I asked the woman behind the counter what they used to fry their donuts with, she didn’t say much, but instead took me to the back where I saw multiple piles of medium sized, card board boxes. She pointed to the stack of boxes and I took a gander at the ingredients list, this is what I found:
Lard. That’s right, lard. The main ingredient of this lard is “selected beef fat.” Really, I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was. I now saw this donut in a whole new light. In fact, my roommates and I started calling this the bovine donut.
Once I got these donuts home, I laid them out on the table and started my little experiment. I cut a bit from each donut and took a slow bite.
The Dynamo Donut was squishy and dense, like biting into a sugary bread loaf topped with a thin veneer of liquid, vanilla bean sugar. It was delicious. (For $2 it better have been delicious) This was a donut for grownups.
The Jelly Donut, donut tasted like my childhood. The bread portion itself was thick and chewy, it tasted of refined sugar and was topped with a hard, frosted coating. It too was delicious, but in a way that made my teeth hurt afterwards.
My next step was to see how delicious these donuts would be in the coming days.