- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 7, 2004

The doughnuts are chugging along, rolling over a conveyor belt, through a vat of boiling shortening, under a coating of sugar and ultimately into the tummies of the children awaiting their arrival.

Welcome to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’ new Rockville store, where visitors can watch and learn how their favorite morning snack is made. Patrons can drop in at any time and sit at a table while watching the doughnut-making process.

They can also call ahead to arrange for a manager give a short presentation about doughnut making in general and the Krispy Kreme company in particular.

Either way, the visit usually ends by biting into the finished product: a warm, fresh doughnut.

A group of home-schoolers in kindergarten through third grade visited the store one recent Wednesday. The children go on field trips together through the Covenant Life Church of Gaithersburg’s Family Schools program.

“We love Krispy Kreme,” says Nancy Blackburn of Kensington, who brought her sons, Jordan, 7, and Austin, 2, on the field trip. “They were looking forward to this for days. My husband was going to take off work to come here because he likes them so much.”

The home-school group recently visited a Chevys Fresh Mex Restaurant, and next month will head to Whole Foods Market for other behind-the-scenes looks at their favorite foods.

“It’s one thing to read about these things, but any time you can see the process, it’s educational,” Mrs. Blackburn says.

Krispy Kreme Assistant General Manager Karen Brummett started out the visit by taking a poll. “How many of you like doughnuts?” she asked the children. “What’s your favorite kind? Who likes chocolate doughnuts?”

There was no shortage of hands on any of the questions.

“Did you ever see mom cook at home?” she asked the group. “Making doughnuts is very similar to making a cake. We take mix, flour, sugar and yeast, and mix it together in a big mixing bowl.”

As the children peered through the glass at the doughnut machinery at work, Ms. Brummett explained how the large ball of dough is pushed through an air-pressure extruder to make perfect, individual doughnuts.

The doughnuts are then placed on a tall proofing box, where they ride up and down in plain sight. The heat and humidity there make the doughnuts rise.

After that, the raised doughnuts take a dip in the vat of hot vegetable shortening. Ms. Brummett points out the flipping arm, which flips the doughnuts over so they get evenly brown on both sides.

Finally, the doughnuts take a trip under a waterfall of warm sugar glaze to make basic glazed doughnuts. Of course, some doughnuts are whisked away for more finishing touches such as chocolate or sprinkles.

Children can get into the spirit of the doughnut-making operation by donning the paper hats that Krispy Kreme workers wear.

And, of course, the highlight of the trip is the finished product. The Covenant Life group sat down to a box of complimentary — and now educational — doughnuts.

When you go:

WHAT: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

LOCATION: 14919 Shady Grove Road, Rockville

DIRECTIONS: Take Route 270 North to Exit 6B. (West Montgomery Avenue). Left on Darnestown Road. Right on Shady Grove Road.

HOURS: Mornings are the best time to see the doughnut-making operation

ADMISSION: Free

PARKING: Plenty of free parking in shopping center parking lot.

NOTES: Visitors to Krispy Kreme can drop in for a doughnut and an impromptu look at the doughnut-making process, or they can schedule a group visit with the store manager. Group tours include a supply of paper hats and complimentary doughnuts. The company’s Alexandria store, located at 6328 Richmond Highway, also has tours of its doughnut-making operation.

INFORMATION: Phone: 240/453-0334 or www.krispykreme.com.


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