Sfenj: the Moroccan donuts of the Gilad family from Los Angeles. Photography: Shelly Gilad
Sfenj: the Moroccan donuts of the Gilad family from Los Angeles. Photography: Shelly Gilad

Sfenj (Donuts)

Carine Goren walks you through this recipe, step-by-step, until achieving a mouthwatering, perfect Sfenj.

Ingredients for Sfenj Doughtnuts

For the Dough

  • 7 cups + 2 tablespoons (1 kg) flour
  • 1.8 ounces (50 grams) fresh yeast
  • 3 1/3 cups (800 ml) water warm
  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Salt

For Deep Frying

  • canola oil

For the Glaze

  • Sugar


Preparing the Sfenj:

  • 1. After sifting the flour, place it in a mixer fixed with a dough hook. Dissolve the yeast in a ½ cup of water. Add the yeast to the flour as well as the water and sugar.

  • 2. Knead the ingredients until a dough forms and then add the salt. Continue kneading on a medium speed for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and homogeneous. To make life easier for the mixer, the dough hook can be substituted with a flat beater. The dough will be more moist, but that's okay.

  • 3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about an hour until it doubles in size. The dough should preferably rise in a warm place full of steam (for example, in an oven heated to 100F/ 40ºC with a pan of boiling water beneath it). Mix the dough to let the air out, cover, and allow to rise again so it doubles in size.

  • 4. Heat the oil in a pot suitable for deep frying. With greased hands, take a handful of the dough, make a hole in the middle using your fingers, and then expand it a bit (to a diameter of roughly 1.5 inches/ 4cm). Repeat the process with all the remaining dough. Carefully place the first donut in the hot oil and continue filling the pot with additional donuts (re-grease your hands from time to time). Make sure that the donuts which are already in the pot do not burn.

  • 5. Fry the donuts until they are golden brown (about 2 minutes on each side). Remove them from the pot and place them on a paper towel for about a minute. Immediately after that, dip both sides of the donuts in a pan filled with the sugar glaze.

Preparing the sugar glaze:

  • 6. On a medium flame, heat 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and bring to a boil on a higher flame. Continue cooking at a boil for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Immediately add 2 or 3 drops of lemon juice, let the syrup cool down and dip the hot donuts in it for a few seconds.

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When making savory sfenj, like the ones my mother prefers, you eliminate the sugar altogether and double the quantity of the salt to 1 heaping tablespoon.

This recipe is credited to Hashulchan.

*שמנו לב שחסרים כמה פרטים קטנים להשלמת הפרופיל שלך ב־FOODISH, אפשר להוסיף אותם בקלות בעמוד המשתמש שלך.