Recipe for 'Bunches'
Bread flour — 25 lbs
Water — 12 lbs
Yeast — 1 lb
Corn sugar — 2.5 lbs
Margarine — 2.5 lbs
Salt — 0.5 lb
Milk powder — 12 oz
K-Flay — 2 oz
Kansas University junior Niki Orth walked into Joe’s Bakery on Saturday afternoon.
“This is the place, it’s just missing the smell,” she said looking around the space that is now a greeting card and collectible store but once satisfied college students’ sweet tooth with hot fresh glazed doughnuts.
“I remember being little and walking down here to get doughnuts after football games,” Orth said. Her father held even fonder memories of making midnight runs to the bakery when he lived along Tennessee Street.
“When I told him Joe’s Bakery closed, he almost cried,” she said.
It was with those sentiments that people streamed into Joe’s Bakery on Saturday afternoon to pick up copies of the store’s original doughnut recipe.
Opened in 1952 by Joe Smith, Joe’s Bakery emerged into a late-night staple for Kansas University students taking study breaks or coming home from bars. Hours ran from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The bakery closed in fall 2007, a few years after Ralph Smith, Joe’s son, sold it to a new set of owners.
Business has recently returned to the building. Smith and his business partner Rachel Churchill opened a shop that holds coins, collectibles and hand-stamped greeting cards made by Churchill. Above the old bakery is an art gallery that the owners hope to fill with local work.
As a way to promote the new business, Smith decided to release the doughnut recipe. And more of the store’s favorites could follow, including Joe’s Bakery’s beloved egg salad and sugar cookies.
Releasing the recipe also gives Smith an easy answer when people ask where the doughnuts are — now they can make them on their own.
“Lawrence has been good to this little bakery. And KU has been good. This is a way to keep a little of the history going,” Smith said.
The recipe handed out to customers Saturday was a reproduction of the original with grease-stained fingerprints and all.
Quantities start off with 25 pounds of flour and worked their way up to 175 pounds of flour.
It’s enough to make “bunches,” Smith said.
As a true baker’s recipe, no instructions are given about what to do with the ingredients. The full process requires mixing, letting the dough rise, cutting out the doughnuts and frying them in oil heated at 375 degrees.
As for the recipe itself, don’t expect any surprises.
“It is pretty basic. I’m not trying to fool anyone,” Smith said. “The secret ingredient at Joe’s Bakery was hard work.”
While the doughnuts are good, Smith isn’t so sure they are good for you. He’s lost 50 pounds since he sold the bakery.
“I’ve probably saved some lives,” he said.
The not-so-healthy snack won’t stop Dennis Constance from attempting to reproduce the doughnuts at home.
Constance started coming to the bakery as a college student in the late 1960s, when it was the only place in town open at 2 a.m. Then he moved into Old West Lawrence, and he would walk around the corner to get doughnuts with his children.
“I’m not supposed to eat a lot of doughnuts anymore,” Constance said. “I’ll have to scale the portions down a little bit.”