TODAY   |  April 28, 2013

Lester and Erica go to Dunkin’ school

“There is a science to making the perfect doughnut,” said TODAY’s Lester Holt. Holt joined his co-host Erica Hill at the Dunkin’ Donuts University to learn about dough, flavors and just how to work those machines, while making sure to snack along the way. TODAY’s Lester Holt and Erica Hill reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> what we got.

>> reporter: who hasn't craved a fresh doughnut? most people, of course, run to the story and buy one.

>> but lester and i wanted them even fresher.

>> time to make the doughnuts.

>> in the tradition of the classic tv ad of the '80s, which is how we ended up here -- dunkin ' brands university, just outside boston.

>> so the ideal final dough temperature 73 degrees.

>> reporter: she's serious. there is a science to making the perfect doughnut. dunkin ' donut franchise holders, corporate, regional managers spend weeks here in the classroom and the kitchen studying the art of the doughnut. the batter itself, this flour, that's the secret recipe ?

>> yes.

>> reporter: you've got to learn to mix the batter and place it just so.

>> ooh, the first one just popped up. it's like a baby. how does one begin to describe the taste of an old-fashioned doughnut -- fresh from the fryer? is it bad i had two? with 10,000 stores nationwide and still expanding, ensuring consistent quality is important to dunkin '. in fact, 600 people a year are run through this very course. is there ever anybody who doesn't pass the training? do you have to send somebody back through?

>> we do, yes. we have really high standards , and we -- it's not that frequent, because we've got great trainers.

>> reporter: patient ones, too. it turns out a lot of the work is by hand. if you're going to make serious dough in this business, you have to learn to work the dough.

>> lester ! just kidding.

>> reporter: wow, what a mess. making the doughnut is one thing. but adding those extra touches, quite another. take, for example, your jelly doughnut . a little sugar coating then --

>> make sure they're completely coated, press the button. again, you want to get the filling coming right down to the end.

>> not so hard.

>> reporter: she hit it twice.

>> i thought we were in this together.

>> reporter: you double-tapped. you're not supposed to have excess there, like what she did there, right? i'm not criticizing, mind you. finally, doughnut decorating. the icing, the sprinkles. and with a little imagination, a few combinations even the folks at dunkin ' haven't thought up yet, like erica's chocolate-coconut dough news.

>> lester , give this a try.

>> reporter: i don't know.

>> all right, let's try this again.

>> reporter: at dunkin ' u., there's a working store replica to practice your skills. how hard is it to make a good cup of coffee?

>> where it says milk, you'll put an "x" because it will have extra milk.

>> okay, not hard. but somehow it's the little things that getcha.

>> do milk, and do large.

>> oh! you did want that with cream, right? so the milk that you push is above the milk dispenser. it's funny how that works.

>> hi, can i help you?

>> reporter: now, back to that doughnut craving. i'd like a small coffee with cream and a chocolate-iced doughnut, please.

>> sure. anything else with that? drive on up, please.

>> reporter: less than an hour after class, amazingly, there i was at the drive-through with a new appreciation of what it takes to make the doughnuts.