Mobile bakery Peachey's shares how its Florida State Fair doughnuts are made

Bring on the crowds.

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click to enlarge Sadie Peachey and Donald Bodkin prepare the warm pillows of goodness Peachey's is known for. - Jenna Rimensnyder
Jenna Rimensnyder
Sadie Peachey and Donald Bodkin prepare the warm pillows of goodness Peachey's is known for.

I've never seen as many smiling faces at 7 a.m. as I do in front of the powder blue Peachey's Baking Company truck. On their way to work, commuters pull into the Bradenton parking lot of Crowder's Gifts & Gadgets to grab a dozen fresh, old-fashioned doughnuts.

For the last 11 years, Peachey's (fka the Amish Baking Company) has bounced around to various events across the country — including fairs, farmers' markets and festivals — to share its warm pillows of goodness, which have understandably gained a cult-like following.

Owner Nate Peachey's mother, Leah, developed the original family recipe at her bakery in North Carolina.

“We use a few ingredients from Pennsylvania," Nate said, "but it’s the recipe’s origin that make them Amish."

With the Florida State Fair coming up, I land a behind-the-scenes look into how Peachey's crafts these crowd-pleasers for the nearly two-week-long celebration in Tampa.

Peachey's prepares the sourdough it uses a day before hitting the streets. The following morning, the team wakes up bright and early to arrive at least an hour and a half ahead of opening to begin warming up the equipment. Field manager Sadie Peachey and staff members Donald Bodkin and Madison Williams are running a smooth operation when I arrive. They seamlessly weave in and out of each other, prepping for the day's customers.

Bodkin mixes the dough shortly after the equipment is up and running, then puts it into the proofing cabinet. (If you aren't familiar with Netflix's Great British Baking Show, and you should be, a proofing cabinet is a climate-controlled chamber that allows dough to rise.) The mobile bakery's seven-ingredient glaze is also underway at this time. 

Once the dough is ready, it's dumped onto the counter and rolled from a giant pillow into a quarter-inch-thick sheet.

From there, Sadie uses a tin can to cut the dough into perfect portions. The doughnuts go back into the proofing cabinet for another 15 minutes after they're shaped.

“We usually have about three workers on the food trucks, but when we work fairs, we have about 14 people,” said Sadie, tossing the doughy delights into the fryer.

She gives them two to three minutes per side before flipping them with a long wooden stick and transferring them to the glaze. Nice and glistening, the doughnuts are finally placed on the rack, where their excess glaze is free to drip off.

The crew has this down to a science, people.

Peachey's will return to the Florida State Fair from Feb. 7 to 18 for a ninth year. To keep up with demand, two Amish doughnut stations are in store — one by the expo center and another by the livestock arena. Be on the lookout for the fair special (hint: it's a twist on the OG), which the bakery plans to announce on social media one week before the festivities kick off.

Can't wait until then? Peachey's also takes to social media to post its weekly truck schedule.

Bring on the crowds.

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