Doughnuts 101

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

We have all heard the stupid doughnut puns, such as;

· Donut worry be happy!

· Donut give up!

· Eat more hole foods

· I donut I’d do without you

· Donut kill my vibe

· You donut how much I love you

· I love you a hole lot

· A hole new world

Beyond the puns, how well do you really know the world of doughnuts?

We at Holey Brewed are going to give you the “101” when it comes to doughnuts, so you can impress your friends at the next party you attend. Right…maybe start by brining doughnuts to the party!

The History of Doughnuts

The records read that it was the Dutch in the mid-19th century who began making a pastry known as olykoeks (translated to oily cakes). These doughnuts were balls of cake which were cooked in pork fat (not kosher) until they’d turned golden brown. The issue with these pastries was that they would cook much quicker on the outer shell than the inside, leaving them somewhat raw. To solve this problem, cooks would stuff them with nuts, fruit and other fillings that did not need to be cooked. You can basically say that the first doughnuts were fritters!

As the Dutch immigrants began to settle in North America, they would continue to make the Olykoeks. As immigrants from other cultures began to take notice to these pastries, they would start making their own versions, which we know today as the doughnut.

The invention of the doughnut with a hole has to be credited to Captain Hanson Gregory, a Dutch sailor. His mother Elizabeth was known as the best when it came to baking the deep-fried pastries, especially when they were full of nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind. She packed Gregory the Olykoeks for his journey across the Atlantic to the new world. There are two theories of how he came to the hole in the middle of the Olykoeks.

Many believed that he was smart enough to realize that if he punched a hole through the dough before eating it than he’d eliminate the gooey, uncooked center all together. Others believe that while the captain was eating one of his mother’s pastries, he had to suddenly grab the steering wheel of the ship with both hands. Quickly reacting, he skewed it on one of the spokes of the wheel so that he could enjoy it once the seas calmed down.

Regardless of the truth, Captain Gregory changed the doughnut game!

The first doughnut machine was actually created by a Jewish refugee from Russia in New York City in 1920. Adolph Levitt invented a gadget that churned out the rings rather quickly, and the doughnuts were labeled the “Hit Food of the Century of Progress” at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair. The popularity of the machine skyrocketed Levitt to stardom, earning him $25 million a year (an astronomical amount of money for the time!)

Since this invention, doughnuts have become incredibly popular in North America. There are a few huge chains which produce millions of doughnuts daily, but it tends to be the smaller, specialty shops which make the gourmet ones. Even the purpose of doughnuts has changed. People are making ice cream sandwiches using doughnuts, and some people are even putting their hamburgers on doughnuts rather than buns. Not sure how we feel about that last one yet!

We at Holey Brewed are looking forward to future doughnut innovation!

Types of Doughnuts

There are so many different types of doughnuts, not only in North American but also around the world. In a future blog post, we will look at doughnut types from all around the world.

For this post, we will look at the most common North American doughnut types. But before we do that, let’s define what a doughnut actually is.

Doughnut: A doughnut is a deep-fried piece of enriched dough, traditionally (but not always) sweet and traditionally (but not always) ring-shaped. Once fried, that dough is often finished with sugar, frosting, glaze or other topping; or filled with cream, jelly, or another sweet element.

(1) Yeast Doughnut – this is a doughnut that uses yeast to leaven the dough which results in a light and airy doughnut – the most common type of doughnut

(2) Cake Doughnut – this is a doughnut that is made from cake-like batter which is leavened by baking powder or soda – denser than a yeast doughnut

(3) Doughnut Holes – either cake or yeast based small ball shape of fried dough

(4) Fritter – chunks of fruit being added to the dough and then portions being dropped into oil creating an irregular shape (somewhat jagged) – apple fritters are the most common

Not matter the type of doughnut, we love them all!

Doughnut or Donut?

This is probably the most burning questions in the doughnut community. As you can see from how we are spelling the tasty pastry, we use doughnut.

The official dictionary spelling of the word is doughnut, with donut generally being listed as a variant of the preferred original spelling.

Doughnut is the original spelling of the word, coming onto the scene in the early 1800s. The Oxford English Dictionary lists Washington Irving’s reference to doughnuts in his 1809 History of New York as the first published use of the word.

Well that is Doughnuts 101, we hope you learned something. In future blog posts, we will explore the world of doughnuts a bit deeper!

Mr. HB | Holey Brewed


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