Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dixie Cream Donut Flour


It was 6:40ish on Sunday morning June 2, 2013.  I was taking the MetroLink light rail from Belleville, IL where we played a gig on Saturday evening to the Lambert Field to attend my nephew Kyle’s high school graduation in Milford, MI.  I only slept a few hours and was looking out at the passing landscape.  There were the numerous, actually there way too many, boarded up and abandoned buildings on the Illinois side of the Mississippi.  It was expected as that used to be a steel producing and heavy industry part of Greater St. Louis. 

I tried to take photos of interesting buildings and, of course, the arch.  None of the photos were any good.  Between being tired, the lighting, the reflection of the train window, and poor timing, the photos were nothing special.

There was more life and an interesting mix of new and old architecture as we trundled through St. Louis.  I did see a most interesting, at least to me, abandoned building on the western edge of downtown.  It was a modest four story brick building with windows that made it look more like it might have been an apartment building than a business.  I would have loved a photo of it, but by the time I noticed the name on the building and decided I would like a photo, it was too late to take even a bad photo of it.  We were past it.


What was the name of the building?  It is none other than the The Dixie Cream Donut Flour Company.  I would have never guessed a company could be dedicated to such a niche market.  I could see the people that make Gold Medal or King Arthur flour offering a variety of different kinds of flours.  I would not be surprised if I learned that they produced and marketed donut flour.  The Dixie Cream Donut Factory was created just for this niche.  Actually, per their name, they didn't just make regular old donut flour but the more exotic and special Cream Donut Flour whatever that may be. 

I wonder if they might have supplied the flour to the Krispy Kreme folks.  Maybe there is a difference between Cream Donut Flour and Kreme Donut Flour.  There must be a professor at some Ag School who is an expert on donut flour I could consult on this fascinating subject.

Or I could just google it. 

Googling is always a good idea.  There is, in fact, a Dixie Cream Donut company that is still in business.  www.dixiecreamdonuts.com They have the whole nine yards:  stores, menus, and, if I so desired, I could have a franchise.  I learned that a franchise would cost between $146 and $413 thousand.  I clicked on Locations to see if I could find a Dixie Cream shop anywhere near where I frequent.  Oddly, quite oddly the more I think about it, the only four locations listed are two in Saudi Arabia and two in Egypt.  OK then not really all that helpful.

On the About page of the website, I read the following:
Bite-for-bite, more delight

With more than 80 years of donut-making to our name, Dixie Cream knows how to make donuts that defy comparison. Notice that our donuts are a little taller than others. Notice, too, the golden band around the middle of a Dixie Cream. That’s our promise of light and creamy melt-in-your-mouth goodness that just gets better by the bite.

It must be that Dixie Cream Donut Flour that makes all the difference.  I wonder if there was a Dixie Cream Sugar or a Dixie Cream Filling and Frosting factory nearby.  As the factory is no longer in operation, I wondered where they get their donut flour these days.  I wondered if they still made it themselves or if they outsourced it.

I also found out that there used to be a Dixie Cream store in Chicago about fifty years ago.  This made sense especially considering the current state of their donut flour factory.  More googling revealed a youtube video Let's Face It:  Dixie Cream Donuts about a location in West Frankfurt, IL.    So, there are domestic locations despite the shortcoming of the website.
  • Still curious, I googled “Dixie Cream Donut Flour” since in the course of using google I have learned to be more specific.  Here is what that search yielded:
  • There is a blog, dixiecreamdonutflour.blogspot, with only one posting dated January 25, 2009 that has nothing to with Dixie Cream Donut Flour.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasa/8553497012/ by Paul Sableman 3-9-13
  • There seems to a Dixie Cream Donut Flour Company based in Bowling Green, KY.  The listing was unclear if it was just offices or if the factory had relocated there.  If there is a factory there, I just know it has none of the charm of the one they abandoned in St. Louis.
  • Lastly, there are pictures of the factory that I passed by.  Each of them are better than any photo I might have taken in a moving train.  I picked my favorite to use in this posting.
 

The other good thing about riding trains and being in airports are the conversations you overhear.  I was having a cup of coffee, no donut mind you, in the food court trying to get rid of the cobwebs.  There was a young girl, maybe seven years old, at the airports who was traveling with what I guessed was here aunt.  The young lady was quite chatty.  I overheard a lovely snippet of conversation.  

The girl asked, "Have you ever been in a power outage?"
The aunt plied, "Yes I have."
The girl continued, "Well, we had one the other day.   It was the worst day of my life.  There was no TV.  There was no internet.  I had to just play with my dolls."

Ah the modern era, how I long for an earlier, simpler time, like when the Dixie Cream Donut Flour factory was in operation.

11 comments:

  1. Dixie Cream Donut Flour was used by Montgomery Donuts in Montgomery County, MD.

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  2. In around 1948 (I was 12 yrs old) in McAlester, OK there was a old store front that we would pass by as kids. Inside was a man making donuts and just inside the store front were 8 or 10 large bags of flour with name "Dixie Cream Donut Flour" in large letters. The door was locked; he did not sell out of this location. He sold them to stores in the area, they came in boxes with "Dixie Cream, etc. on the boxes. When we had the money we would buy these donuts and I want you to know, that in all my 78 years there has not been a lighter, better tasting donut. I surmise that the man bought the flour and boxes and this is probably the way the Flour Mfg (Dixie Cream) marketed their product. Not to be confused with the present owner of the name Dixie Cream. They are in Tulsa, OK and I doubt that it is the same flour.

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  3. There was a Dixie Cream Donuts store in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (of all places!) in the early 1990's. They made the most incredible "tea puffs" which were french donut crispy on the outside and flaky inside dough puffs filled with custard on one side of the puff and rasberry on the other and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Most wonderful. I would bring them to my office in Milwaukee and people there still remember them. They went out of business around 1995 and have not seen one since. Sad.

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  4. From 1983 thru 1990 I worked for D.E.C. Mfg in St. Louis Mo we were a division of Dixie Cream Flour Co. We made equipment for making donuts our products included proofing ovens, glazers, icers, etc... The information I can give you is only for the time I worked for D.E.C. Mfg. Dixie Cream Donut Flour is on Scott Ave. off of Jefferson at Highway 40 in St. Louis. Having been to the building numerous times (we were located in another building in South St.Louis) I can tell you the best that I remember about Dixie Cream Flour and the building. The lower level was for storage, 2nd level was shipping and receiving, 3rd level was offices, and the 4th level if I remember correctly was where the flour was mixed also I think there was a area with fryers and other equpment to make donuts. Around 1988 or 1989 Dixie Cream laid off the people who mixed packed and shipped the flour and started buying the flour already mixed and bagged from another Flour company, I cant remember the name of that company. Also around that time Dixie Cream was sold to the people in Bowling Green Kentucky if I remember correctly. Dixie Cream was I believe still recieving flour and shipping out of the building on Scott Ave. In December of 1990 D.E.C. Mfg went out of business I do not know of what happened with the buiding after that. On a side note I always liked to ride the freight elevator in that building.

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  5. I remember a Dixie Cream Donut store in Chicago in the late 1940's or early 1950's located on the corner of 75th St and Vincennes.

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    1. I lived 2 blocks away from that Dixie cream shop in the mid 1940's. You went in the store and there was a window where you could watch them make donuts. I did a lot of drooling at that window.

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    2. I live in San Marcos TX and we have an operating Dixie Cream Donut shop in town. It has just recently been sold to a friend of ours who also owns Gil's Broiler and Manske Rolls which was a very popular cinnamon roll that was sold nationally years ago. He thought buying the Dixie Cream donut shop was a good opportunity to keep the franchise alive and at the same time have another outlet for his Manske Rolls.

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    3. Their motto was, Made in Sight by Folks in White! In the early 50s the manager took us on a tour! Ah, those were the days!

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  6. I'm not sure if you are aware of it yet or not, but the Dixie Cream Donut Flour Building in St. Louis is about to start a new chapter in life. The owners have offered to lease the first floor to the local St. Louis Makerspace, Arch Reactor and the members of the makerspace have voted to accept! (www.archreactor.org)
    Some other local businesses are looking into leasing space on the second floor as well. I've always thought it would be a cool space for a small office or studio for my creative side.
    Once the requirements for occupancy are met and the lease is signed, the members of Arch Reactor will start the renovation process of the first floor interior. Planning and fundraising is already underway. Check out the post from their website: http://archreactor.org/moving
    The proposed timeline is currently to sign the lease in October and finish moving in during the month of November of this year.

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  7. My Father and Mother started a Dixie Cream Do-Nut Store in Wausau, WI in 1946 and continued to run it until 1980ish. Sold whole sale to grocery stores and retail to customers at the store. It was purchased and sold a number of times after that and currently there is no Dixie Cream in Wausau. My Aunt and Uncle started a Dixie Cream Store in Oshkosh, WI in 1947ish and ran that store in a similar fashion until they fully retired. The also is no longer a Dixie Cream store in Oshkosh. All my three Sisters and myself worked in one way or another supporting the store as we grew up, as did all of our cousins in Oshkosh. The ROI were college educations and the development of a work ethic that we all still have today, even in retirement for some of us. Thank God for the Dixie Cream brand and all the benefits it brought with it! And yes, the flour, from St. Louis, for raised and cake do-nuts was the key to the success we all had.

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  8. My dad owned a Dixie Cream Donut Shop in Douglas, Georgia from the 1950s to the around 1980ish. He made his donuts himself (glazed only) and made a great living for our family. In the store he sold soft drinks, snoballs (sno cones), hand-dipped ice cream, slushies, etc. It was a sweet shop, basically, and it was awesome to be a kid there. I learned at 8 years old how to count change back (no automated cash register assistance). He also brought donuts to nearby towns and sold them to people working in different businesses. Many a young fellow got his first job selling Daddy's donuts that way. Hard to find donuts now that taste like his, and I wish I had gotten the recipe from him before he passed away. It's sadly been lost. However, there are some online that look promising. Happily, I do have one of his donut cutters and an ice cream scoop. We use the scoop regularly. :)

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