Schermer at Home: Brian Noyes of Red Truck Bakery, Warrenton, VABy Stephanie Burt, The Southern Fork
“Baking is like learning a new language,” says Brian Noyes, owner of Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, VA. “It’s more chemistry and science than cooking, so you have to get comfortable at each step.”
Brian was a hobbyist baker for years during off-hours as the art director for the Washington Post and Smithsonian magazine, but when his hobby turned to selling baked goods out of an old truck, and then that got a mention in the New York Times, he gave up the publishing business and began baking full-time. He says most people, including him in the early days, are intimidated most by biscuits and pie crusts, so that’s what he started with, just working recipes until he was yearning to move onto the next step.
These doughnuts are an easy next step because they teach multiple skills and “it really is like making a little biscuit.” But he’ll admit that although these are a classic baked doughnut, he really personally prefers a deep fried doughnut, so for him, a baked doughnut needed a “little pizzazz.” Candied pecans do the trick, and by completing this recipe, you’ll be learning three skills: making a yeast “biscuit”, glazed pecans, and a thin glaze, all things that can be translated to anything from brunch meals to bundt cakes.
“Some people are so glued to a recipe, but don’t use it as just a recipe. If you use a recipe as a place to start, then it becomes a vessel to learn a new way.” And if the classroom treat is a donut topped with candied pecans that you made yourself, then that’s a sweet lesson indeed.
from Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Rural Bakery by Brian Noyes with Nevin Martell
1 c. whole milk, warmed½ c. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar1 tbsp. active dry yeast½ tsp. lemon zest½ tsp. orange zest4 tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing1 large egg1 tsp. pure vanilla extract1 tsp. kosher salt½ tsp. ground mace, or ground or freshly grated nutmeg4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more as needed
For the candied pecans½ c. granulated sugar½ c. packed dark brown sugar1 tsp. Kosher salt1 tbsp. ground cinnamon½ tsp. cayenne pepper1 large egg white½ tsp. pure vanilla extract1 ½ c. confectioners’ sugar
For the glaze1 ½ c. confectioners’ sugar½ c. hickory syrup (or maple syrup or sorghum syrup or a combo)
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