Weber’s Bakery: Legacy lacks flavor

18 Jun

This article was a great find!

A little while ago, we very happily stumbled upon an article on CBSChicago.com entitled “Best Bets for Donuts in Chicago.”  While we’d already been to some of the places it listed, several remained unexplored.  Since then, we’ve slowly been visiting each spot (see our List for all write-ups).

This week, we visited our final spot on CBS Chicago’s list: Weber’s Bakery on Archer Avenue.

We are thankful for Donut Research (and all too happy to do it), because it leads us to places like this.  Weber’s Bakery has apparently been around since 1930.  That’s some serious Donut Legacy (see also: Dinkel’s, Roeser’s) just begging to be investigated.

It was bustling when we stepped inside (always a good sign), and we happily ordered a dozen donuts before returning to the Donut Mobile for Taste Trials.

Here’s what we found:

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Donut #1: Glazed

Coffee Girl: Oooooh, what a disappointment.  Looks delicious and the sugar glaze is very nice, but the raised dough is chewy and flavorless, like a stale roll that’s been zapped in the microwave and then left sitting out.  A bit of a heartbreak, but our enthusiasm remained for the donuts to follow.

Donut Boy: An interesting taste runs throughout this donut — perhaps a strong hint of eggs?  In the end, it’s irrelevant: the dough in this donut is so chewy it basically has a skin.  Tedious to chew and disappointing.

Donut #2: Choc. Frosted Yeast

Coffee Girl: A waste of tasty frosting.  At this point, we were already losing patience with this overly chewy, tasteless dough.  And this bakery held such promise at first!  Full parking lot, friendly teenage girls manning the counter, 12 different varieties of donuts.  Don’t the natives expect more from their donuts?  Why is there not an uprising??

Donut Boy: Yes, the chocolate frosting is good.  Rich and milky.  It does, however, somewhat clobber the tongue into submission, not allowing any other flavors to sink in.  In this case, it’s probably a good thing.  I vote strongly for a revision in Weber’s yeast dough recipe.

Donut #3: Vanilla Frosted Long John

Coffee Girl: Unfortunately, an even larger acreage of chewy, tasteless dough than the ring-shaped donuts offered, topped with an excellent white frosting, which we promptly ate off.  The Donut Proper, like the earth in a region of strip mining, was left behind, bereft of its only reason for living.

Donut Boy: Yes, this frosting was great!  Why the hell didn’t they put more on?  As my colleague stated, the donut underneath the frosting was bready as can be.  An actual piece of bread might have been moister.  Let’s move on.

Donut #4: Choc. Frosted Cake

Coffee Girl: Weber’s cake dough is very moist and creamy, though it lacks even a suggestion of exterior crunch.  But the chocolate frosting is rich and thick, elevating this entry into the same pantheon in which we would place 7-11 donuts which, as you know, is fairly high up in our estimation.

Donut Boy: This delicious cake donut soothed my frazzled nerves.  Moist and crumbly, it was much more pleasing on the tongue than its yeast counterparts.  Still, I felt like my tongue was bullied by the chocolate frosting.  I don’t remember any distinct taste to the cake dough at all.  I only know I liked it better than the yeast dough.  And where’s the crunch??

Donut #5: Vanilla Frosted Coconut

Coffee Girl: A surprise winner.  We don’t usually pay much attention to coconut donuts, as the coconut topping is usually too shy to make much of an impression.  But this donut outclassed any other Coconut Contenders we’ve tried by a mile and was easily the best donut of the day in my book.  The homogenous texture of the cake dough is exactly what is called for with such a flavorful topping.  The vanilla frosting that anchors the coconut curls is thick and full of flavor.  Far from being the superfluous finial on an old-fashioned lamp, here the coconut topping is the centerpiece of a masterpiece of blended tastes and textures.

Donut Boy: Finally, more of that vanilla frosting.  The cake dough here was moist, too, although I would have really liked more crunch.  But the texture of the coconut shavings added a lot.  Surprised to find this donut in one of my top picks of the morning.

Donut #6: Vanilla Frosted Cruller

Coffee Girl: Another delightful surprise awaited us in the vanilla frosted cruller.  Delicious.  The pronounced egg taste of the batter was offset by a Doughnut Epidermis lovingly impregnated with oil, which combined ecstatically with Weber’s delicious, slightly citrus-y vanilla frosting.  A stand-out.

Donut Boy: I swear I thought I tasted peanut butter upon first bite.  After a bit more chewing, I realized I was mistaken.  Still, the salty, rich quality of this pastry (most likely due to heavy frying, as my colleague mentioned), really set this donut apart for me.  The sweet vanilla frosting provided a great counterpart to the savory dough, too.  Normally, we don’t care much for crullers.  This morning, a cruller was my favorite.

Donut #7: Sugar Twist

Coffee Girl: What?  We just took a bite of what?  Oh … we didn’t notice.

Donut Boy: This donut doesn’t taste like anything.  Why does it exist?

Donuts #8 & #9:

Choc. Frosted & Powdered Sugar Custard-Filled

Donut Boy: I have to hand it to them: Weber’s Bakery knows how to fill a donut.  Just look at these cross sections (above and below).  Unfortunately, the filling inside is virtually flavorless.  I’m not exaggerating here: I don’t remember any taste at all to the filling.  While their thicker yeast dough helped hold the pastry together, it didn’t add anything to the Taste Party.  Chocolate frosting was good, powdered sugar was okay.  Quite disappointing.

Donut #10: Raspberry Jelly

Donut Boy: Still very impressed with Weber’s Filling Distribution.  I must admit, though, I have encountered a Breakfast Adventures First: too much jelly.  This was Jelly Overload.  I didn’t taste the dough at all (again, probably a good thing), and the actual jelly scored around a  “B-.”

Donut #11: Apple Cinnamon Roll

Coffee Girl: Very tasty in a how-can-you-go-wrong-with-cinnamon-apples-and-carbohydrates kind of way — which is the same way that cocktail sauce makes even a saltine taste good.  Again, the raised dough was a problem.  This pastry was successful as long as there was apple and cinnamon sugar involved, but those niceties were concentrated mostly in the center of the roll.  The outlying tracts of mainly dough were barren, indeed.

Donut Boy: Yes, this pastry got progressively less tasty as one ventured further and further from its center.  Next time, I would most likely simply excise the middle and leave the outer rings behind.

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With each bite, we had to recognize our disappointment more and more.  Some ratio in Weber’s dough is clearly different and leads to, in our Humble Donut Opinion, donuts that range from puzzling to timid to unpleasant.  With a few notable exceptions, we didn’t much care for these donuts.

Having expressed our opinions, we have to also offer two caveats:

  1. Weber’s offers a lot of other things besides donuts.  If you like cakes or cookies, you can probably find something tasty that you’d like here.  We just don’t have time for such things.
  2. Weber’s has been around since 1930.  While legacy does not necessarily equal excellent donuts, they must be doing something right.

Still, we won’t be returning here.  Until next week, Donuteers!

-CG&DB

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2 Responses to “Weber’s Bakery: Legacy lacks flavor”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Too Much Time Spent Chewing: Pticek’s Bakery « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - October 1, 2011

    […] little while back, we paid a visit to Weber’s Bakery, a pretty large, well-established Chicago bakery.  As we were making our return trip to Donut HQ, […]

  2. Leonard’s: Stellar Service Somewhat Compensates for Drab Donut Offerings « The Breakfast Adventures of Coffee Girl & Donut Boy - November 19, 2011

    […] Haunts, we scanned the article for familiar names.  Dat Donut?  Check.  Weber’s Bakery?  Check.  Old Fashioned Donuts?  […]

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