Reader Aubrey writes in with this comment about Tim Horton’s:
I really enjoy your site and your way of analyzing and explaining baking concepts. You seem to be very talented and to normally have great taste in baked goods, but… I… I just cannot reconcile today’s post with what I have read previously. Tim Hortons makes great doughnuts?? The best explanation for this statement that I can come up with is that perhaps you haven’t been to a Tim’s in six or seven years?
I am no doughnut connoisseur, but the factory-fried, frozen for shipping then microwaved on site toroids that have been sold at Tim Hortons since 2003 are an abomination. Off flavour, stale texture and the occasional pool of icy water in a cruller cavity are not winning attributes for any sort of pastry in my universe.
Tim Hortons (no apostrophe) doughnuts USED to be good, perhaps even great, but alas, so far as I’m concerned those days are long gone. Have you discovered some hidden attribute that I’ve missed? Do the American franchises miraculously do things the old way?
Hmm…I confess, Aubrey, that I haven’t tasted a Tim Horton’s doughnut in more than 15 years. Then I thought they were pretty great, but things have obviously changed for the worse. To answer your question about American doughnut shops, almost all independent ones fry their doughnuts on-site. Krispy Kreme’s whole brand is based on doughnuts made right in front of you. Which is not to say that I’m down with the way most doughnuts are made. More on that tomorrow.