News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood


Cooking up your own Top Pot Doughnuts

November 13th, 2011 by master

Story by Candace Winegrad

Many Seattle residents go into a Pavlovian response when someone mentions Top Pot Doughnuts. Visiting any of their seven locations is a treat unto itself — but what if you could enjoy Top Pot Doughnuts without leaving your kitchen?

Amateur bakers and doughnut enthusiasts alike will rejoice at the release of “Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker,” a cookbook from brothers Mark and Michael Klebeck, the founders of Top Pot.

The company, which opened its first location on Capitol Hill’s Summit Avenue in 2002, has gained notoriety on the West Coast for their delicious, handmade doughnuts — President Obama even paid a visit to the Fifth Avenue store last month.

It was only a few months ago that Chronicle Publishing approached the brothers about releasing a cookbook.

“They wanted to talk about doing a book that would be not so much the recipes that you find in [our] stores, but take our recipes and adapt them for home use,” said Mark Klebeck at a University Bookstore appearance Thursday evening.

And since most of us don’t have baker’s equipment lying around our kitchens, the recipes were modified for easier production.

“When you look at this book, it’s very much the stuff you have at home right now, you just have to buy some oil and fry it up,” said Michael Klebeck.

The brothers teamed up with food writer Jess Thomson, who sent out the modified recipes to about 30 testers all over the country. The result?

“They’re actually better than the ones that come out in our shops because these are [from] pure scratch,” Mark said.

The “hand-forged” recipes used in the book and in the shops are a result of the Klebecks’ initial inexperience with baking. Both brothers studied design and had prominent interests in building. They decided to build a coffee shop and ended up creating about fifty doughnut recipes in one month with no prior baking experience.

“We thought we should do something that makes us stand apart…’how about doughnuts?’” Mark explained. “The doughnuts appealed to us because we had built the [shop] in that 1940s style, and it’s such an Americana breakfast food. We thought this could be the beginning of something really special—blending our artistic style of building and having an item that could stand alone.”

And stand alone, they most certainly do. “Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker” is available in Top Pot stores, and at booksellers everywhere.

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