A vitally important part of the job for Mathew Rice, executive pastry chef for Niche Food Group in Nashville, Tennessee, involves seeking out creative ideas — including mashups — to keep food attractive and interesting. Exhibit A is the sourdough donut, an exciting new creation this year from Dawn Foods.

“The reason why I thought this concept would be a winner was because sourdough is on the rise among consumer palates,” says Rice, one of the nation’s most innovative pastry chefs and a Johnson and Wales University graduate. “I wanted to do something that could go sweet or savory, depending on how you treat the dough. I like the idea of a deeper, more complex flavor than the traditional donut.”

Not unlike the Cronut effect that swept the country’s sweet goods culture starting in 2013 when acclaimed pastry chef Dominique Ansel devised this popular donut-croissant hybrid, the new sourdough donut mix from Dawn enables retail bakeries and others the unique opportunity to introduce a new flavor and texture to the marketplace. And better yet, this process is virtually mistake-proof.

According to Dawn, one unique property of the mix is an authentic dried sourdough starter as an ingredient. The dried sourdough starter contributes a distinctive sour flavor without requiring the time-intensive procedures involved in producing a scratch sourdough starter. Dawn’s expert research and development team transformed a scratch recipe from Niche Food Group’s pastry chef and transformed it into a premium donut mix that is perfect for retail bakeries of all sizes.

“It is critical that Dawn pushes the leading edge of innovation, since it’s what drives our customers’ business,” says Carrie Jones-Barber, chief executive officer of Dawn Foods. “At Dawn, we pride ourselves on bringing customers new and exciting products and this new sourdough donut is just the latest example of how we’re staying true to this commitment. It’s fitting this launch coincides with our 100th anniversary and continues our legacy of providing the best donuts on the market.”

“Sourdough can be used in sweet treats as well as savory offerings.” - Chef Mathew Rice

Dawn’s journey to the sourdough donut started in June 2019, when Dawn hosted five of the nation’s hottest pastry chefs for their Donut Co-Creation Competition at Dawn’s Innovation Studio. Rice won the competition for his sourdough donut concept, meeting the four criteria for the new product’s development: a combination of taste, texture, versatility and fit with current trends.

“As a baker myself, my motivation in creating a sourdough donut was to stretch bakers’ offerings beyond traditional desserts.” Rice says. “Sourdough can be used in sweet treats as well as savory offerings, which are extremely popular with Millennials and Gen Z consumers. In my experience, this type of new twist can be the creative kickstart to new possibilities.”

The mix can be used in both sweet and savory offerings, such as sourdough jelly donuts, glazed sourdough sweet rolls and honey butter-fried chicken sandwich rolls, providing bakers with versatility and myriad ways to innovate their menu offerings.

Bakeries are seeking additional versatility in these current times, so it is important to have new tools.

Dawn’s sourdough donut mix is available for purchase by bakers and is the latest in Dawn’s full line of donut mixes, fillings and glazes, including new gourmet and vegan offerings. For more information on the sourdough mix, visit www.DawnFoods.com/sourdough.

Celebrating “Donuts for Good”

As part of its yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary, Dawn Foods has announced a new campaign called “Thank You to Bakers,” in which it aims to raise awareness for the hard work the baking community puts in each day and thank bakers across the globe for their dedication.

A new promotion called “Donuts for Good” encourages bakers to use the hashtag on social media to highlight the positive deeds they do in their local communities. This effort includes a raffle for Dawn customers using the hashtag #DonutsForGoodEntry when sharing their story. Participating customers will be entered for the chance to win a $5,000 donation in their name, to a 501c3 charitable organization of their choice. Dawn will raffle 10 donations, totaling $50,000. Raffle winners will be drawn at random and announced on National Donut Day on June 5.

“We want to celebrate our 100 years of growth and accomplishments by recognizing those who have made our success possible — the bakers who bring joy every day to their customers and communities around the world,” says Carrie Jones-Barber, chief executive officer of Dawn Foods. “As we look back at the legacy we’ve created, in partnership with our customers, we’ve grown from a small family business to nearly 5,000 team members. Additionally, we continue to lead the way in digital advancements and industry leading product innovations like the sourdough donut and birthday cake donut. Dawn recognizes the ‘good’ bakers do in their community and we are committed to safely supplying and supporting our customers, especially during this uncertain time.”