Circle of Life Transcript

The Kitchen

GUEST: Marsha Brown

[show opens on a TV showing a clip of the first GE special, Romancing the
Bird-A Good Eats Thanksgiving
. Marsha enters the first house kitchen]

MARHSA: [on the TV, clears throat] Hi, I'm Marsha.

    [shoots a suction dart at the TV screen hitting Marsha] Gotcha. Ha ha ha. Come a little closer, let me get a shot at you. [shoots again] Oooh that had to ... [phone rings]

MB: [continuing on the TV] Everybody knows the very best thing about turkey ...

AB: [talking on the phone] Hello. Oh hey, Sis. I was just thinking about you. Whatís that? No! No itís my day off. No. NO. And once again no! Thanks for calling. Have a nice day. [the following sentence is audible but the Closed Caption had the following] Do you feel lucky, punk?. [shoots another dart at the screen] Ha ha ha ha.

Donut Sale

MB: [talking on the phone] Alton? Alton? Why you little freak! [redials her brother] Now listen you. I am not about to let these adorable little bunnies down. ... Oh, I am there warren mother, for goodness sake! ... Fine, you think thatís funny, do you? You just go ahead and laugh your day away. Meanwhile, I am going to march myself down to the Krusty Kream* store and get what I need. ... Oh, Iím so sorry that the evil old Mr. Krusty fired you from your first job. He has doughnuts. I need doughnuts! Do the math! ... Really? You mean it? All warm and soft and something about 10 dozen or so at first would, would do nicely. ... Oh ... a couple of hours? Perfect. Weíll work on our glue gun merit badges until then. Okay. Oh! [to the "bunnies" playing around the table in the background] Okay bunnies, gather around.

Donuts for sale

The Kitchen

    What just happened here? She did it again didnít she? She does this to me all the time! If itís not doughnut, itís cakes or pies or cookies. And every time I say no, and then things get all fuzzy and suddenly Iím sitting there with a phone in my hand and a day of baking to do! Doughnuts.
    I suppose it could be worse. You know, once upon a time, doughnuts were strictly homemade. You know, doughnut shops didnít come along until our country got all car crazy. Hard? Aw heck no. And once youíve noshed a few of your own, youíll yourself a lot less willing to shell out hard earned dough for a greasy hole in the bun, Iíll tell you that. Nope, make your own doughnuts and youíll discover theyíre not just good, theyíre really ...


    If it hadnít been for Henry the Eighthís convenient creation of the Church of England, there never would have been English Separatists. Nor would said Separatists have needed to depart England for the more religiously tolerant climate of the Netherlands. And if they hadnít moved to the Netherlands, these Separatists never would have developed a taste for olykoeksósmall pieces of dough, about the size of a walnut, fried in hog fat and very, very popular with the Dutch. But they did. And when they finally decided to move on to settle a new-world rock called Plymouth, these Pilgrims took olykoeks with them. [looks at the comely Holland girl sitting behind him] Canít imagine why they wanted to leave, though.

The Kitchen

    Some say that it only took a couple hundred years for these 'nuts of dough' to be called doughnuts. Oh, of course in another few hundred years, Americans made the doughnuts a heck of a lot bigger and punched holes in the middle of them. But thatís another part of the story. Now, the majority of modern doughnuts are built upon chemical leveners. But true old fashioned doughnuts are built upon the breath of yeast. Hereís what youíre going to need.

The Big Book
Culinary Lies

    One and a half cups of whole milk heated just hot enough to melt two and half ounces of vegetable shortening. 1 1/2 Cups Heated Whole
2 1/2 Ounces Vegetable
    Youíll also need two packages of instant yeast sprinkled over a third of a cup of barely warm water. 2 Packages Instant Yeast
1/3 Cup Warm Water

  Since weíre using instant yeast here, we donít have to soak it in water the way you do traditional dry yeast. We could just add it right with the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients. But, soaking it will give the yeast a little bit of head start and that means weíll have a faster rise on the dough, and that means doughnuts quicker.

    Youíll also need two whole eggs, one quarter of a cup of sugar and one teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg. Now, when I say fresh nutmeg, I donít mean freshly sprinkled out of some can that you got from the grocery store. I mean freshly grated from one of theseóan actual nutmeg nut, okay. Just use a fine grater like this; itís all you have to do and this will keep in your cabinet for up to a year. You donít even have to put in a jar if you donít want to. 2 Whole Eggs
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Freshly Ground Nutmeg
    Youíll also need to season all of that with one and half teaspoons of salt. For frying youíll need one to one half gallons of vegetable or peanut oil. Oh, and youíll also need twenty three ounces of all purpose flour. Yes, by weight. Oh, like youíve never heard this from me before. Why bother? Well, come here. 1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1 1/2 Gallons Vegetable or
    Peanut Oil

23 Ounces All-Purpose Flour

     Submitted for your approval: two flour canisters. But which one contains the most flour? Is it canister A or is it canister B? Well, thereís only one way to know for sure. Weíre going to have to hit the scales.

    We begin with flour canister A which weighs three pounds seven point eight ounces. And now flour canister B which weighs two pounds eleven point seven ounces. Let this be a lesson to us all. 3 lb 7.80 oz

2 lb 11.70 oz

2 pounds                 3 pounds
11.7 ounces            7.8 ounces

    [voice over] Mix thusly: using a flexible cutting board or some other funnel like device, add the yeast mixture, the shortening mixture, the eggs, the salt, the nutmeg, the sugar and half of the flour called for in the recipe. Install your paddle attachment and stir on slow, just until the ingredients come together. That way the flour wonít fly all over the place. Then crank up the speed and mix thoroughly until the dough is homogenized. Then stop, add the rest of the flour and stir on low again.
    Now itís time to do the actual kneading. And this is impossible to do with the paddle attachment. So, remove all the dough from said attachment using a spatula, your fingers, or combination thereof ... [his hand is all sticky with dough] oh bother ... and install your kneading hook. If you donít have one, borrow one from your friendly neighborhood pirate.
    Knead on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Then move the dough to a well-oiled bowl, clean, cover with plastic, and store in a warm place for one hour or until the dough doubles in size.

The first doughnut machine was invented by
Adolph Levitt the ĎDoughnut Kingí, in 1920.

The Kitchen

GUEST: Yeast Cells (Magnified alot [sic])

    The origins of the doughnut hole are shrouded in mystery and coated with controversy. Although the annals of culinary history offer a plethora of possibilities, I will recount but two.
    The first stems from an incident reported in a 1750 edition of the Cape Cod gazette. [clears throat and reads] ďWhile frying up buns in her family home, a Cape Cod housewife was surprised when an arrow, allegedly fired by a Nauset Indian brave, flew through the open window passing through one of her buns. The shaken woman reported that the hole actually improved her pastry. The Brave could not be reached for comment.Ē

The Big Book
Culinary Lies

    Now, number two is probably the most popular hole theory of all time. And it comes from a shipís log entry made by one Hansen Crockett Gregory who was aboard a schooner anchored off the coast of Maine on Thursday, March 3, 1847. Excuse me.
    [the scene is still in the kitchen, but AB is wearing a sailors bad-weather had and is holding a boat wheel] Captain Gregory recalls that that particular day, the ship had been suddenly taken by terrible storms. [storm erupts in the kitchen] And he had to stay at the wheel for hours and into the night. And at one point, he, he grew so hungry that he called for his shipís cook to send up a fried cake. And just as he started to take a bite of the delight, they were pitched by a horrible rogue wave and he had to grab the wheel with both hands accidentally impaling the treat upon the wheel. An hour later when the winds abated, his prize was still there waiting for him. Excellent case of form following function, if it be true. Problem is a doughnut with a hole already in it wonít stay on a ships wheel nearly as well nearly as well if you punch your own. So, why make doughnuts with holes in them? Nope, doesnít wash with me.
    I happen to subscribe to the theory that the doughnut hole was conceived by those legendary desert daredevils the Pennsylvania Dutch. The inventors of everything from cobbler to cream pie. And yes, Iíve got proof.
    [walks through a door to show a part of the side of a barn with two circles on in the shape of a doughnut] There it is. Yep, found that in an old barn in Lancaster County. And look at it; itís the perfect pastry shape. See by putting a hole in the middle, we dramatically increase the surface to mass ratio of the device and that speeds cooking. And of course this hoop, itís even all the way around, right? So it cooks evenly. Nah, the doughnut was no accident. This thingís as Amish as itchy wool clothing.
    Now, although you may have heard of punching down a dough after itís first rise, donít do that. Just tap a little flour on top of it, fold it and roll it. You see, we want to evenly distribute all of the yeastís, oh, how shall I put this?

YEAST CELLS: [three sock puppets rise and begin burping and passing gas, they look at AB]

    It wasnít me. Well, so what we need to do, we need to fold the dough, okay. We just want to get some of the bigger bubbles out and redistribute the ... well, you know. Just pat it out. Itís very soft. So you're going to need a good bit of flour. Now just fold it in quarters, and gently squeeze it, and fold it over and gently squeeze it.
    Now we are ready to roll. Weíre looking for a final thickness of about three-eighths of an inch. So weíre going to need to employ some technology. [clicks his remote and a panel comes down from the ceiling holding many different types of rollers]

AB: [to the rolling pins] Now, which one of you beauties shall roll today? I think Iíll go with a French rolling pin.

    Now, as far as getting the thickness right, you can just, you know, free hand it, eye hand coordination or you can employ a guidance device, such as these rolling rings, okay. Just slide this [rolling ring] over the end and youíve automatically got your thickness set. You donít have these available? Well, just go to the hardware store and get yourself some good old fashioned sticks. And now, we roll. Oh, excuse me. [clicks the remote and panel retracts upward] Just lay your sticks out next to the dough ball there and work it back and forth. Thereís going to be a lot of bubbles, but do not be afraid.
    There. Now itís time to contemplate cutters. Now doughnut cutters such as these [doughnut cutters] are available in finer cookery stores and on the internet, along with everything else in the world. Now these sturdy models do a pretty good job. But, you know, youíre kind of locked into the size. And of course this is a uni-tasker. And as I have said fifty-seven times before, the only uni-tasker allowed in my kitchen is one of these [fire extinguishers]. So, I say skip this and buy yourself a can full of round pastry cutters like this. For fifteen or sixteen bucks you get twelve rings of differing diameters which will enable you to cut doughnuts any old size you want. And thatís what I call freedom. Oh, and youíre also going to need one sheet pan.

[AB sprinkles the pan with flour and chooses two pastry cutters]

Sprinkle the sheet pan with flour and using a 2 1/2 inch pastry  ring, dusted with flour, cut out the doughnuts.

    Cutting doughnuts is exactly like cutting biscuits. You want to push the cutter straight down until it hits board and then twist. As you can see, we are going to have some left over dough. Just wad it up into a ball, cover it, let it sit for another hour so that it rests before you roll it out and make more doughnuts. Although the second-roll doughnuts wonít be as tender as the first roll, they will be tasty.

Using a 7/8 inch ring, cut out the centers of each doughnut.

    Now this is why I think doughnuts have holes. [picks up the doughnuts and puts them on his fingers]
    Cover these with a tea towel and let them rise again for thirty minutes at room temperature. Oh, by the way, when you allow shaped pieces like this to rise again, itís called 'bench proofing'. Thought you ought to know.

On Fat Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Dutch serve a
special type of really big doughnut called, Ďfastnachtsí.

The Kitchen

    Time to make the doughnuts. Now in fine olykoek tradition, we will be doing our frying in a Dutch oven. Yes, Iíve got an electric fryer, but it just seems right: you know, Pennsylvania Dutch, Dutch oven. Besides, it lets me use my favorite analog thermometer: 365 degrees.


    So, we will go in, one at a time, wait a couple of seconds, then go with another. Waiting will make sure that they donít stick if they bump into each another ... three and four. Now, you probably noticed that we do have room for more doughnuts in here. But, if we overload the oil, okay, the temperature will drop. That means that the cooking time will be longer and that means the doughnuts will absorb fat. We donít want them to absorb any more fat than is absolutely necessary. So go four at a time. Your patience will be rewarded.
    [flips them over using chop sticks] And we will let these cook for one minute. While these are finishing up, itís a good time to make sure youíve got some place for them to go. I like to use a cooling rack that is made out of a cake cooling rack turned upside down onto newspaper. Since the newspaper is actually touching the wires, thatíll help to wick the oil away from the doughnuts. And we are ready to extract. [pulls the doughnuts up by using chopsticks through the doughnut holes] This is why I like using chopsticks.

The worldís fastest doughnut machine
can fry up to 9,600 doughnuts and hour.

    Mmm, doughnuts. Golden, brown, delicious on the outside; light and fluffy on the inside and not the least bit greasy. Behold, the great American old fashioned doughnut. Perfect served warm with a big old hunking glass of moo juice or an equally large cup of coffee, for dipping, you know? But tell you what, you try it. [hands doughnut off screen, returns it with just one bite] Oh, I guess you like glazed doughnuts. Okay, okay.

    For a simple sugar glaze, combine a mere quarter cup of milk, thatís only two ounces, and a teaspoon of vanilla. And just put that over very, very low heat until it reaches about a hundred and fifty degrees. Now such a small amount of liquid would fit in very small pot. But a wider vessel like this saucier will make the going easier when dipping time arrives. 1/4 Cup Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
    Now whisk in two cups of confectioners sugaróI like the triple-x kindóitís finer and dissolves faster. Now believe it or not, that puny amount of liquid will be sufficient to hold all these tiny crystals in suspension. But, itís going to take a little while. 2 Cups Sifted
Confectioners' Sugar

    Donít whisk to fast. I mean, youíre not trying to whip cream here. If you do, youíll aerate the glaze and then itíll be brittle when itís on the doughnut. That means when you take a bite itíll all kind of fall off on your hands. Which isnít where we want it.
    There, told you. A quarter cup of liquid held on to two cups of sugar. Now remove this from the heat and go get your doughnuts.
    Large doughnut operations usually pour their glaze over the doughnuts. But I think at this level of production, that would be a little bit wasteful. So I just do the dip-and-flip method. Keep stirring your glaze, dip the doughnut, let the excess come off and there you go. Now, let these sit for at least five minutes so they'll set up before [points to his mouth] ... you know. Okay. Now, if you go slow, actually, even if you go fast, depending on the temperature in the room, youíre glaze will start to set in the pan. So, either keep your the pan over a hot pad set on high or a bowl of nice hot water, like I have here.
    Letís review shall we? Dip. Drain. Flip. [goes to eat it, pauses] Iíll wait.

Doughnut Sale

GUEST: Marsha Brown, Alton's Sister

AB: [pulls up on his motorcycle with a bunch of doughnuts on the back]
Well, it is about time. A bunny could starve waiting for you.
AB: Youíre welcome.

[scene cuts to MB trying a doughnut]

AB: So?
MB: Great. Theyíre fine.
AB: [eating as well] Mmm.
MB: Oh. Listen one of the bunnyís fathers, ...
AB: [mouth full of doughnut] Um, hm.
MB: ... said he would be happy to buy five dozen of them ...
AB: Great.
MB: ... if they were chocolate glazed.
AB: Tell him to stick them the microwave with a chocolate bar.
MB: Hmm. Did I mention, theyíre a Nielson family?
AB: Iíll be back.

The worldís largest doughnut, made on July 9, 1978
in Richardson Texas, weighed about 74 pounds.

The Kitchen

    Although logic would dictate that we should be able to create a perfectly delicious chocolate glazed doughnut simply by sticking a doughnut into some melted chocolate, this actually doesnít work. Well, I mean it would work. But as soon as you bit into the doughnut, the chocolate would just shatter. Kind of like, well, kind of like the bad Terminator in the Terminator II. Never mind.

    What we need is a sugar syrup, a glaze like the one we built before, only this time flavored with chocolate, okay? And look, someoneís already made it for us. Weíve got that quarter cup of milk, one teaspoon of vanilla, and two cups of confectioners' sugar, the triple-x kind. 1/4 Cup Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Cups Confectioners' Sugar
    Now, to that we will first add the support group for the chocolate. Itís going to be another teaspoon of vanilla, and half a cup of [unsalted] butter, okay, thatís one stick. There we go. Let that melt a little. Last but not least corn syrup, a mere tablespoon of corn syrup. Corn syrup contains glucose, a very hydroscopic form of sugar and even including this small amount will prevent our glaze from drying, shrinking, cracking or getting gritty or grainy. Donít leave home with out it. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Tbs. Corn Syrup
    We finally integrate the chocolate. Basically, weíre just going to dump it in, and stir over very, very low heat until it is thoroughly melted. Do not walk away; this chocolate could burn, even with all this sugar in here. When the chocolate is about half melted, kill the heat. But keep stirring. Mmm. Itís dipping time. Which is followed immediately of course by whisk licking time ... if you like that kind of thing. 4 Ounces
Bittersweet Chocolate

    The dipping procedure for chocolate is exactly as it is for the sugar glaze. But, keep in mind that this glaze is a little bit thicker. So itís going to take a little bit longer to set up. Which means youíve got to keep your hands off for a good half hour. Discipline, itís a cruel mistress.

Doughnut Sale

AB: [enters as before on his motorcycle with doughnuts on the back]
MB: Ooh ooh.
AB: There. Youíve got your glazed doughnuts. Iím done. Iím finished.
MB: Well, wait. You want to stay and meet the adorable little bunnies?
AB: No, I donít want to meet any adorable little bunnies. You know what? The only time Iím interested in meeting a bunny is if Iím going to braise the bunny, or roast the bunny, or I did deep fry some bunny one time and that was okay. It was kind of hard to get into fryer. But besides that I donít want to have anything to do with any ...
MB: [places a small girl with bunny ears on his lap]
AB: ... bunnies. Hi. [sighs]

[scene cuts to AB handing some money
to one of the bunnies in Marsha's arms]

AB: Oh.
MB: Thanks bro. Youíre the best. [exits]
AB: Okay. Bye-bye. Bye-bye little bunnies. Ha ha. Bye-bye ...

    [snaps out of it] What just happened here? [notes the doughnuts he's bought back on the rear of his motorcycle, gasps] She put a spell on me!

AB: [to MB off screen] You put a spell on me!

    Oh well. Speaking of magic spells, Iím not sure that any food doses up the voodoo more than homemade doughnuts. Maybe itís the circular symbol of eternity. Maybe itís the fact that doughnuts are so embedded in our cultural history. Maybe the magicís in the hole, you know, the bite you never can have.
    Then again, maybe Homer Simpson put it best when he said, ĒDooooughnuts, good.Ē Eats that is. See you next time.

AB: [to the doughnuts] Okay boys, letís go home.

*There's no indication if it's spelled with Ks or Cs. Since it seems to be a take off of Krispy Kreme, I'm going with Ks.

Transcribed by Danita

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010