Ah, Doughnuts. A dessert that masquerades as a breakfast food, dipped into coffee or enjoyed with a side of milk. Anyway you slice it, it’s hard to find anyone that isn’t on board with fried dough. The doughnut that you picture in your mind is most likely the classic glazed, perfectly circular pastry with a hole in the middle. While this is the most popular version of the doughnut these days, there’s probably a lot about doughnuts you don’t know. Welcome to doughnut 101!
A quick history lesson
The story of the doughnut has almost as many holes as a baker’s dozen! There are several theories about the origin of the doughnut. One theory suggests that Dutch settlers invented them in North America and were sometimes referred to as a kind of “oliekoel” (Dutch for “oil cake). An American man named Hanson Gregory claimed to have invented the infamous ring-shaped pastry in 1847 when he was unhappy with the raw centers of regular doughnuts. Regardless of the theory you believe, all that matters to us is that doughnuts exist and we get to enjoy them!
Types of Doughnuts
You are probably familiar with a few types of doughnuts, but can you name them all? Let’s sort through each type of doughnut and what makes it special.
The most common doughnut across American are the yeast doughnut. The dough contains yeast and is mixed and set out to rise for hours or over night before rolling, cutting, and allowing time to rise again before they are fried in hot oil. These doughnuts have a light and fluffy texture and are usually hit with a light glaze. These are your classic Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
The dough for this doughnut trades yeast for a chemical leavening agent (baking soda or powder) and doesn’t require time to rise. This means the dough or batter can be made and then fried immediately. These doughnuts tend to cook quickly and absorb more oil, which yields a dense doughnut with a crisp exterior. These donuts are great for dunking and can be glazed or topped with icing. If you’re on the East Coast, Fractured Prune is a great place for hot, made-to-order doughnuts.
These are very similar to cake doughnuts but have a more irregular shape and a super crunchy outside, partly due to the nature of the dough and the higher surface area. The glaze on these doughnuts can sink into every nook and cranny so each bite is filled with deliciousness.
These doughnuts are twisted in a straight or in ring shape and fried to perfection. In New England, they tend to be oblong and twisted. The ring version of this treat is most commonly known as a french cruller.
Filled doughnuts are usually yeast donuts without the middle taken out and filled with fruit preserves, cream, or Boston creme. Usually they are coated in powdered sugar or topped with chocolate icing.
This type of yeast doughnut, also known as an eclair, is cut into a rectangle before frying and is usually topped with chocolate or maple icing. Some doughnut shops top the maple long johns with bacon and call them maple bacon bars, which for some is the perfect salty and sweet remedy after a wild night of partying.
So next time you head into your local doughnut shop or any chain-store, tell the cashier your order with confidence! And we’re dying to know- what’s your favorite kind of doughnut? Let us know in the comments!