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Fantastic fasnachts

Krumpe's likely to sell 43,200 of the treats before Ash Wednesday

Krumpe's likely to sell 43,200 of the treats before Ash Wednesday

February 04, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- What's the difference between a doughnut and a fasnacht?

There's the shape and the density, but more important is the fact that fasnachts traditionally are made only once a year, just in time for Shrove Tuesday - which is today - the day before Lent begins.

"I tell people we tweak the spices on our fasnachts a little," said Fred Krumpe, co-owner of Krumpe's Do-Nuts, a doughnut dynasty in Hagerstown since 1932. "They are heavier, larger and square with two slits all the way through."

He estimated 3,600 dozen fasnachts - that's 43,200 of the tasty treats - will be sold from Krumpe's shop in the alley behind 912 Maryland Ave. before Ash Wednesday, which heralds the traditional 40-day Lenten season leading up to Easter.

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A dozen fasnachts sell for $7, Fred Krumpe said.

The bakery's famous doughnut recipe remains the same as it was in 1932, when Max Krumpe's father, a German immigrant, bought it from a York, Pa., doughnut maker named Schmidt.

In 1935, the doughnuts and the Krumpes came to Hagerstown, where the confections have become widely known.

Max Krumpe learned baking when he was 17 years old and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. He prepared breads and breakfast for 45 people a day with a coal-fired oven and no mixer, his family members said previously.

Returning to Hagerstown when the war ended, Max Krumpe received his father's blessing to expand into the wholesale doughnut market.

The Krumpes' first shop was on Jonathan Street, and it was there the family made three kinds of doughnuts - glazed, cinnamon twist and creme-filled.

These days, they make a lot more types of doughnuts.

"I believe we average just under 1,200 dozen in 22 varieties in a nightly run," Fred Krumpe said Monday.

Max Krumpe kept the doughnut recipe in his head, but he shared it with his two sons, Fred and Rudy, before he died in 2000.

During crunch times, including fasnacht day, wives, grandchildren, cousins and anyone else who can help out are pulled in to make sure the confection gets to everyone who wants them.

The doughnuts are made from scratch using fresh eggs, flour, shortening, salt, sugar and - potatoes.

In addition to selling from the shop, Krumpe's delivers doughnuts to local businesses.

Because today is Shrove Tuesday, Krumpe's has special hours during which people can stop by to purchase fasnachts. The store was to be open Monday until 10 p.m. and today from 2 to 10 p.m.

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