Belshaw B doughnut dropper improvised stand
I’ve made yeast doughnuts for years now, ever since I left home and my mother’s prohibition on deep fat frying. I’m still pretty cautious and tend to use the side burner on the BBQ when I want to do a fry-up. That said I also keep a pot cover nearby and while some folks may have one or maybe at most two pipsqueak sized fire extinguishers I have a half dozen 20 pound CO2 extinguishers around the house including in the kitchen. I haven’t had to use them, but it’s nice knowing that if I did have need for one that one is always close at hand and has serious knockdown power.
But I digress. Yeast doughnuts are great and are easy to do with what you have around the home, and they were a frequent treat in my home. Then I started experimenting with cake donuts. Now these have a different taste and texture from yeast donuts and are a breeze to mix up…. but I found making them to be a real mess.
See the batter is sticky, so trying to push it off a spoon with your finger (like you might with cookie dough) doesn’t work so well – and ensures you are covered with batter, and by the end of the process so too is much of the kitchen. I then tried to extrude them using a jerky gun… That worked okish, but getting the batter loaded into the tube… well that was a mess. Then I picked up a cheap “home” doughnut dropper… those are small, and low cost but I couldn’t get it to work really well, and loading the small hopper still created a mess…
Then my brother and sister in law gave me a copy of the Saveur magazine donut issue… and I decided to stop screwing around with half assed solutions to the problem and move up to commercial equipment where any issues had been addressed.
Now, the smallest pretty common donut dropper out there seems to be the Belshaw model B. There is a slightly smaller version but that isn’t nearly as common. Now, let’s not get you all exited that you are going to get pro gear at amateur prices… these units routinely sell for several hundred dollars – with the plungers alone going for over a hundred even when well used. But I am a patient guy, so I set about watching e-bay for a Belshaw B to come up cheap… dinged and dented didn’t matter so much as the price. I ended up being able to get one for a fraction of the usual price, complete with a doughnut hole plunger for about $150.
The first couple of times I used it I filled the hopper and held it with one hand over the pot of oil while cranking it with the other hand… not exactly the easiest balancing act. But man, was I hooked… it worked so well, and so quickly with so little mess. I could instantly see why cake donuts are a commercial hit they are so easy and fast to produce when you are using commercial grade equipment.
Anyway, I needed a stand for it… I’ll get around to welding something nice up at some point, but for now a couple of pieces of 2×6 from scrapped projects and a piece of 1/2″ steel rod assembled and clamped in a folding work bench is all I really need.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition… high quality commercial doughnut dropper mounted on a 15 minute wood working project made with scrap, but in the assembly the quality is located where it needs to be – in the dropper, while the stand… well it just does its job.
So the next time you set about tackling a project under time constraints consider where and what quality level you need to achieve. Now I could have made a great stand… but instead I’m making some great donuts!