What do you get when two brothers who love doughnuts team up to bake and sell oversized doughnut holes with a few ball jokes thrown in? If you're Mitch and Brett Magdovitz, the answer is Bronuts: cream-filled spherical pastries with names like Bleu Balls, Monkey Balls and Chocolate Salty Balls. The brothers started selling Bronuts earlier this fall, taking orders on their website and delivering them to various pick-up points in the area, mostly in Boulder.
The brothers came up with the concept after moving from Tennessee to Colorado and realizing that they couldn't find doughnuts here as good as the ones they loved at Gibson's in Memphis. "I've been a serious lover of doughnuts since childhood," says Mitch, who started experimenting with his own doughnut recipes, many of which were disasters.
The breakthrough was a "happy accident", says Brett, "a Halloween love story." He and his girlfriend had decided to make their own pumpkin bread from scratch, but eventually quit after the chopping, cooking and pureeing of pumpkin took up the entire evening. Although the pumpkin bread experiment fell through, he stayed up until dawn, trawling the Internet to see if he'd stumbled upon a new idea: baked, rather than fried, doughnuts.
"It's an interesting market differentiator," says Brett, "but Mitch is a doughnut purist; the idea of a baked doughnut was sacrilege to him." The two began experimenting with recipes until they eventually decided upon a hybrid batter that combines yeast-risen dough with cake-doughnut batter. The result, they say, forms a nice outer crust, keeps the interior moist and gives the balls -- about twice the size of standard doughnut holes -- a longer shelf life without the need for stabilizers.
The Magdovitzes originally wanted a fully outfitted thirty-foot trailer for their Bronuts, but licensing proved too tricky, as food-truck regulations include requirements for a commissary kitchen and the city didn't have the regulations in place to license a free-standing, self-contained trailer. Instead, they found a kitchen at Boulder's Broker Inn where they could bake their balls. They also use the mezzanine lounge at the hotel for late-night coffee and Bronut service. Although that wasn't part of the original business plan, Brett says he likes it "because we get to meet people and say hello."
Potential customers can order Bronuts on the bakery's website or try them at Bitter Bar. The brothers are working on getting Bronuts into a Boulder grocery chain and a few coffee shops, where customers would be able to buy the balls by the pair.
Flavors include Bacon Balls with a bacon creme filling and a maple glaze, Bronco Balls with an orange creme filling and Buzz Balls with coffee creme filling. Brett says the balls even go well with beer; they recently held a Bronut and beer tasting with the Barley's Angels women's beer club at Upslope Brewing.
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While the legend of the two brothers with baking in their blood may have been busted -- their grandfather really did work at the Colonial Bakery in Memphis, but the small German town where they claim to have grown up in their Indiegogo campaign was actually Germantown, Tennessee -- but the two are sincere when it comes to their balls.