For Charlie Benner of Eddington, baking is just a tiny step away from chemistry — and chemistry is something he knows well, having worked in Pennsylvania as a chemist for Dupont for a number of years prior to moving to Maine.
“Baking is a science,” said Benner. “A little too much of one thing and it totally changes everything. It is like chemistry.”
Benner took a scientist’s approach to crafting the donuts he makes at his bakery, White Dog Donuts, working for months to create a recipe that strikes a balance between healthy and delicious. The end result? Homemade donuts — baked, not fried — in a multitude of flavors, delivered to workplaces around Bangor and Midcoast Maine.
Instead of opening a brick and mortar bakery, or selling wholesale to cafes and other businesses in the area, White Dog Donuts — named after Benner’s labradoodle, Harvey, and in business since January — sells donuts by delivery only, to workplaces as far south as Rockland and as far north as Orono. Benner does not deliver to personal residences, preferring to keep his deliveries more centrally located in business districts in towns in the Bangor area and the Midcoast.
“I definitely did not want to do brick and mortar. I wanted something I could do out of my home,” said Benner, who built a certified commercial kitchen at his Eddington home, and also utilizes the commercial kitchen at the Unity Community Center when he has many Midcoast orders. “And with workplaces, it’s something where people can order as many as they want, and have them at work. Who doesn’t want to have donuts in the morning?”
Benner currently offers 15 varieties of donuts, from classic flavors like Old-Fashioned and Chocolate Glazed, to Ginger, Lime Coconut and Wild Maine Blueberry. He’s tried to source many of his ingredients organically, including all the citrus and eggs, and uses fair-trade chocolates in the chocolate donuts.
“I’ve been baking and cooking all my life, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do [as a business],” he said.
Benner purposely crafted his donut recipe with an eye towards making a healthier donut. In addition to being baked, rather than fried, they contain no genetically modified ingredients or preservatives, and have fewer calories than most donuts from large national chains, with Benner even doing so far as to post on social media comparative nutritional facts between White Dog Donuts and Dunkin’ Donuts. The result is a more cake-style donut that’s still moist and crumbly, packed with flavor but not too sweet or heavy.
“I wanted to make something you didn’t have to feel bad about eating,” said Benner.
Regular-sized donuts are either $2.75 or $3 each, depending on flavor, while a six-pack of mini-donuts in every flavor variety are $3.50 or $4. The chocolate donut or the fruit donut half-dozen variety pack is $15. Deliveries in the Rockland, Camden, Belfast, Bangor or Orono areas for the following business day are accepted until 4 p.m.; orders are only accepted online at whitedogdonuts.com.