The Homemade Perfect Berliner Recipe

Berliner is simply a filled doughnut. But unlike traditional American-style doughnuts, which are always cooked first if they are to be filled, Berliners can be filled before or after cooking. The latter is more practical for commercial operations.

The trademark of a perfectly prepared Berliner is a light-colored ring around the center where the dough was not in the oil as long. In addition to adding to the overall appear- ance, it shows that the oil was hot enough to make the pastry rise up high before the yeast was killed (the same as oven-spring for baked yeast products).


  • 2 ounces (55 g) fresh compressed yeast
  • 11⁄2 cups (360 ml) warm whole milk
  • 12 ounces (340 g) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 ounces (40 g) fresh compressed yeast
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) warm whole milk
  • 4 ounces (115 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 6 egg yolks (1⁄2 cup/120 ml)
  • 6 ounces (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound 2 ounces (510 g) bread flour
  • Vegetable oil or deep-frying oil
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Chunky Apple Filling or Cherry Filling pureed



1- To make the sponge, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, then add the flour and mix to a smooth consistency. Let the sponge rise, covered, in a warm place until it starts to fall.

2- Start making the dough by dissolving the yeast in the warm milk in a mixer bowl. Add the sponge and start kneading with the dough hook.

3- Add the sugar, salt, lemon zest, egg yolks, and butter as you continue to knead the dough. Knead in enough of the flour to make a medium-soft dough, kneading for a total of 5 to 10 min- utes. The dough should not be too firm, so do not add all the flour at once.

4- Refrigerate the dough, covered, for 1 hour to relax it.

5- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, approximately 1 pound (455 g) each. Roll each piece into a rope, then cut each rope into 10 equal pieces.

6- Roll the small pieces into smooth, round buns. Place them on a sheet pan covered with a cloth or towel. Try not to use any flour at all when working with Berliners, as it will burn when they are fried, making the outside too dark.

7- Let the buns rise in a warm place, around 80°F (26°C), until slightly less than doubled in volume (this will happen fairly quickly due to the softness of the dough).

Deep frying

8- Preheat the frying oil to 360°F (183°C). Use a frying thermometer to test the temperature, and try to time it so the oil is ready when the Berliners have risen. You should have at least 4 inches (10 cm) of oil. Use a good-quality vegetable oil or, better yet, an oil specifically made for deep frying.

9- It is very important that the oil is at the correct temperature. If it is not hot enough, the buns will absorb too much oil and be heavy and unappetizing. If the oil is hotter than it should be, the Berliners will brown before they are cooked through, the flavor will not be as good, and the oil will darken so that you will not be able to use it a second time.

10- Pick up the Berliners one at a time and quickly add them to the oil, seam-side up. Do not fill up the pan completely, because the Berliners will increase in volume as they cook.

11- When they are golden brown, in about 5 minutes, turn them over and cook about 4 min- utes longer on the other side. Try to turn them all over at about the same time so they are uni- form in color.

12- As you remove the Berliners from the frying pan, place them on a rack or paper towels to drain.

Final instructions

13- While the buns are still hot, roll them in cinnamon sugar.

14- After the Berliners have cooled down a bit, inject them with chunky apple or cherry fill- ing, using a special plain pastry bag tip made for that purpose, and pushing the sharp end of the tip halfway into the side of the Berliner.

15- If you do not have a tip made for filling, use a No. 3 (6- mm) plain tip and be careful not to make the opening in the bun any larger than necessary. Berliners should be served the same day they are made.

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