For many of us, donuts are simply an irresistible breakfast treat that have more than once tempted our sweet tooth in an office setting. However, for the folks at Oliboli Donuts in Tustin — donuts are life.

While donuts are an integral part of life for the family of dutch donut makers behind the counter at Oliboli Donuts … the donuts are also delicious. But, considering the dough to make these donuts requires a 40-hour fermentation process, perhaps that’s all by design.

Entering the Tustin-based cafe, visitors will be greeted with the fresh scent of dough and oil, mixed with aromatic properties of airborne sugar, flour and spices. Donut orders are taken at the counter, and each yeast donut is fried to order.

Oliboli Donuts

Inside Oliboli Donuts in Tustin. (Evan J. Lancaster/Irvine Weekly)

In an interview with Irvine Weekly, Hailey Desprez, store manager for Oliboli Donuts, explained there’s an apparent significance between the name of the Tustin-based donut maker, and their particular donut process, which pays homage to the original donut, the Oliebollen.

“We use a natural levain and a 40-hour fermentation process, which is a time honored traditional dough making technique,” she said. “We also stone mill a portion of our flour in house using heritage grains. The heritage grains are the oldest and, in our opinion, most flavorful grains. We then add kefir and also the leftover whey from our homemade ricotta cheese to our cake donuts. All of this adds up to a very unique, wholesome and delicious donut.”

Created by the Dutch, Desprez added that the oliebollen recipe carries somewhat of a tradition in Dutch households.

“Oliboli is a play on the Dutch donut, the oliebollen. It was the first donut ever made and the recipe is passed down in most Dutch families from generation to generation. It is a dough puff speckled with raisins, currents and lemon zest. Then dipped in powdered sugar,” she explained. “Some of our Dutch customers have been brought to tears after eating these because it brings back so many memories.”

Since 2018, Oliboli has been creating savory renditions like the Croque Madam to the enticing Banoffee, made with layered banana, a swirl of toffee sauce, topped with a salty banana whip and streusel crumble. Desprez added that some of the most popular orders include the Meyer Lemon, which are actually made with locally grown lemons. 

Oliboli Donuts

Oliboli Donuts presents, The Banoffee. (Evan J. Lancaster/Irvine Weekly)

“It’s hard to pick the most popular but the Meyer Lemon is always a favorite. The neighbors in the Tustin community have been so kind and generous and bring in baskets of Meyer lemons from their backyard trees. We love our community so much,” she said. 

As a family owned and operated business, Desperz added that it’s a blessing being able to spend time with her family, being able to do what she loves, and is certain the care and compassion team Oliboli staff commits to each batch of donuts is evident.

“The donuts reflect this,” she said. “We fry our yeast donuts to order and put a lot of thought and care into our process,” she said. “It’s great because we all work long hours and it’s nice to be with those you love.”

Oliboli fans should be on the lookout for the return of the “Leftover” Donut, a take on a Thanksgiving donut later this fall.