Confession: baking with sourdough hasn’t always been easy for me. But I loved the challenge and I kept at it until I found my sourdough rhythm.
I am not ashamed to admit that sourdough and I started out with more of a love-hate relationship. We are talking bricks instead of loaves and constantly bringing a sourdough starter back from the brink of death (due to my neglect…), and it took a lot of time and practice to really understand how sourdough really worked.
If you are new to this world of sourdough baking, I would like to start by saying this: be patient with the learning process because it is SO worth it. The tangy baked goodness that results from sourdough baking is so rewarding when you finally get it right.
Stick with it and if you need some help along the way take a look here: Troubleshooting Sourdough: Your Questions Answered. Because once you figure out that sourdough rhythm, the fun can really start and you can find lots of pleasure in making creative and delicious things like these homemade baked maple-glazed sourdough donuts.
I decided on trying out a baked donut recipe because I’ve never been a fan of oil-frying things, and, since I love the taste of maple syrup, it was an obvious choice to make these sourdough donuts have a maple syrup glaze. Bonus: they are pretty darn easy to make, so you can impress the family and friends without going too crazy.
Start with Your Sourdough Starter
When buying or making anything where the term sourdough is used, it means that your bread product does not use commercial yeast as a leavening agent (which is used to create the rise). Sourdough products are naturally leavened using a sourdough starter.
Sourdough starter is fermented flour and water that creates your “wild yeast” and healthy bacteria. Your starter, by the way, is a living thing that you will need to feed every day in order to use it.
How to tell if your sourdough starter is healthy:
- A healthy starter should double 4-6 hours after feeding.
- Your starter should look very bubbly and grow up the jar.
- Add a teaspoon of your starter to a cup of cool water, if it floats to the top, it passes the health-test.
Note: If your starter is new, it will need to be fed for about 2 weeks before it is strong enough to rise baked goods.
With a healthy active sourdough starter, you are ready to create your sourdough masterpieces. If you haven’t created your starter yet, you can get step-by-step instructions in my article here (which includes a video): How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter.
If you feel like you have a successful starter but are having trouble with making sourdough recipes, get your questions answered while reading Troubleshooting Sourdough: Your Questions Answered.
Simple Cinnamon Maple Glazed Sourdough Donuts
If you love simple sourdough baking, then you will love this simple beginner-friendly Sourdough Donut Recipe.
What You Will Need to Make Your Sourdough Donuts:
- 2 Large Bowls. One bowl is for mixing everything together to form your dough. The other will be needed for your first rise time; you will need to allow it to rise to at least double in size. A larger bowl will give your dough the space it needs to rise without it spilling over the edges and leaving a mess to clean up.
- Dough Scraper. This tool is optional but does come in handy when you need to move your beautifully risen dough from its original bowl. If you don’t have a dough scraper and are short on time you can always use a stiff spatula to move your dough.
- Proofing Basket. A proofing basket helps hold the shape of your dough together while your dough is rising. If you don’t want to get a proofing basket, you can line a 9-inch bowl or colander with a tea towel that has been heavily dusted with flour.
- Donut or Biscuit Cutter. Having a donut cutter is ideal because it has the small cutter already placed in the center of your large circle cutter, but any donut-sized cookie or biscuit cutter will work. Just remember to find a smaller one to cut out the donut hole.
- Pastry Brush. Once your donuts have been cut out and placed on your baking sheet you will brush them with oil. This will help prevent the dough from drying out during the final rise time. A pastry brush will help distribute the right amount of oil evenly over your donuts.
- Baking Sheet. The donuts will be cut out and placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet for the final rise and later baked in the oven. A good sturdy baking sheet will make sure that your donuts can be moved from one spot to the other with ease.
- Parchment Paper. You will use good parchment paper to line your baking sheet before your cut-out donut dough is placed on your baking sheet. The parchment paper also helps prevent sticking and cleaning up when done.
- Wire Cooling Rack. After baking, you will want a wire rack for your donuts to cool on. This also allows the glaze to drip so that your donuts don’t end up sitting in a pool of glaze while cooling.
Where can you find some of these kitchen items? If you can, try shopping at a local small business shop that carries kitchen items to support your local community. Otherwise, you could use a good online kitchen website like Lehman’s to find plenty of this kitchen gear.
Cinnamon Sourdough Donut Ingredients
- 1 cup Warm Milk
- 1 Egg
- ¼ cup of Melted Butter or Coconut Oil (and more for brushing on tops)
- 1 cup Active Sourdough Starter
- 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour (the amount will depend on the consistency of your starter)
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Salt
Maple Glaze Ingredients
- 1-2 Tbsp Milk
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 cup Pure Maple Syrup (if you can’t find local, try this maple syrup)
- Pinch of Salt
Day 1 Sourdough Donut Instructions:
Feeding Your Sourdough Starter: Feed your sourdough starter 4 hours prior to mixing your dough. This will ensure that your starter is active and ready to go to work.
- Combine 1 cup of your active sourdough starter with salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the warm milk, melted butter, and egg.
- Add the flour 1 cup at a time until your dough has formed. The dough will be slightly sticky but easy to handle with floured hands. (You may need to add more flour, this depends on the constancy of your starter)
- Lightly knead your dough on a floured surface for about 8 minutes; this will help with the rise.
- First Rise Time
Form your dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased large bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and set it aside in a warm area to rise. During your first rise time, your dough should double in size.
- After your dough has doubled, move it to your proofing basket and proof it in the refrigerator overnight.
Day 2 Sourdough Donut Instructions
- In the morning, on a lightly floured surface roll out your dough to a 1-inch thickness and cut out your donuts. Repeat until you are unable to cut any more donut shapes.
- Place your donut cutouts and holes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with melted butter or coconut oil.
- Final Rise Time
Cover your sourdough donuts and set them aside in a warm place for their final rise. The final rise can take 30 minutes to an hour.
Baking Your Sourdough Donuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt some butter and brush the tops of your sourdough donuts and holes.
- Place your baking sheet on the middle rack and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- When your donuts are done move them to a cooling rack.
Sourdough Donut Maple Glaze Instructions
- While your sourdough donuts are baking, start making your maple glaze. Add 1 cup of pure maple syrup to a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the syrup has been reduced by ½.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk to create a paste-like consistency.
- Stir in the maple syrup reduction until your glaze has the consistency of heavy whipping cream.
- While the donuts are still warm dip the donut tops into your maple glaze and place them on the cooling rack. This will allow your glaze to run down the sides and not sit in a pool of glaze.
- Allow your donuts to cool and allow the glaze to harden before enjoying.
Simple Sourdough Beginnings
These simple sourdough donuts are a great addition to any breakfast routine, if you are new to the world of sourdough baking and aren’t quite sure, I would recommend getting your feet wet with The Best Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe.
This bread recipe will help you get the feel for how sourdough is different than yeast bread, how your sourdough starter works, and solve any sourdough issues you might have before moving forward.
Sourdough baking can test your patience, but if you stick with it I promise that you will be more than happy with the end results. Enjoy adding these sweet treats to your morning routine.
More about Sourdough and Cooking From Scratch:
- Heritage Cooking Crash Course (my online course to help you gain confidence in from-scratch cooking)
- Old-Fashioned Sourdough Gingerbread Cake Recipe
- Ideas for Making Bread Without Yeast
- How to Use a Grain Mill to Make Your Own Flour from Wheat Berries
- Easy Dough Recipe (for Bread, Rolls, Pizza, & More!)