Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sophie's Doughnuts....

So your fresh cream has soured, what are you to do? There are many practical, delectable dishes that can be made or a little fun could be had with a tried and true family recipe. Fortunately for us, Sophie Schottler's Sour Cream Doughnut recipe has been preserved for posterity.

Sophia Schottler was born to Mathias and Caroline Schottler of Germantown, WI in 1872. She was 1 of 11 children. It was Sophie's daughter, Regina Gilbert, who shared this recipe with Old World Wisconsin some 30+ years ago. We are forever grateful. Where she learned to make these wonderful little treats is lost to history.  Although I cannot share every recipe from the museum, I will share this one. When this recipe is shared, the world becomes a better place.

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
lard for frying

Mix the ingredients together. The recipe calls for strips of dough to be rolled 1/2 inch thick strips and formed to create the traditional doughnut shape. We usually roll small balls and drop them into the lard.  Fry in lard until done. While still warm, roll them in sugar.

Along with gathering the ingredients, you should also gather a few friends or close relatives.  It seems a bit of giggling and general fun does make these doughnuts even better. They are meant to be shared and taste best warm.  A wood-burning cook stove adds ambiance but is not necessary.  Lard is necessary to obtain the correct flavor and texture the Schottler family would have enjoyed. They are crispier and have more flavor when lard is used.  

On a side note, last winter I spent some time working with the Curator of Collections, Ellen Penwell, at Old World Wisconsin.  She found a small hook labeled "Wooden Hook".  In the artifact master file, it stated this hook was carved in Milwaukee by a German man (who's name I cannot remember). Specifically, it is a Doughnut Lifter.

This simple yet handy tool would serve a doughnut-maker well when the doughnuts are made properly as seen in the photo below.  You may also glean from the last photo that this recipe is not merely a museum piece, but transfers rather well into our contemporary world.  Try it and enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of Hannah Bailey


  1. They are great and even better with a good cup of coffee!

  2. I can almost taste them .

  3. I've never made doughnuts before. I need to try this!

  4. I have found they also go well with a nice glass of Merlot. Katie, they are super easy especially if you make them like donut holes.

  5. I love your blog! I'm a immigrant from German and grew up on a farm a lot like the ones in OOW. I love cooking on a wood stove and baking bread in our bakeoven. Sadly I live in Boston and am too far away to visit, maybe one day. I was wondering (because I love all your pictures) if you had a few more of the interior of the Schultz Haus especially the black kitchen. That would be most interesting as I grew up with that as well and wonder what it looks like in America. The Lay out of both of the German houses would interest me greatly. Thank you for such a great blog!