The donut, a delectable treat enjoyed by people of all ages, boasts a rich history dating back centuries. From its humble beginnings as a simple fried dough ball to its current status as a culinary icon, the donut has undergone a remarkable evolution. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of donuts, exploring their history and cultural significance.
The earliest known doughnut-like pastries can be traced back to ancient Rome, where they were known as “oliekoeken” or “oil cakes.” These simple dough balls were fried in oil and often sweetened with honey or nuts. Over time, the oliekoek made its way to Europe, where it became a popular street food.
In the 19th century, Dutch settlers brought the oliekoek to America, where it evolved into the doughnut we know and love today. The first recorded use of the word “doughnut” dates back to 1809, and by the mid-19th century, doughnuts were being sold in bakeries and cafes across the country.
The popularity of doughnuts soared during World War I, when they were served to soldiers as a morale booster. After the war, doughnuts became a symbol of American culture and prosperity. Today, doughnuts are enjoyed by people all over the world, and they continue to be a beloved treat.
Why are Donuts Famous?
Doughnuts are versatile treats that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. They can be eaten plain, glazed, or topped with a wide range of frostings, sprinkles, and other toppings. Doughnuts can also be used to make milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, and other desserts.
In addition to their culinary applications, doughnuts have also been used in a variety of creative and unusual ways. For example, doughnuts have been used to make jewelry, sculptures, and even musical instruments.
Weird But True…
Donuts are more than just a tasty treat; they are also a symbol of comfort, indulgence, and celebration. Donuts are often associated with happy occasions such as birthdays, graduations, and holidays. They are also a popular comfort food that can help to lift spirits during difficult times.
In recent years, donuts have become increasingly popular as a subject of art and design. Doughnut-themed artwork can be found in galleries, museums, and even on clothing and accessories.
- 1 cup 240ml heated whole milk, about 110°F (43°C)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons 7g instant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
- 1/3 cup 65g granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 6 Tablespoons 85g melted and slightly cooled unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups 500g all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 –2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups 240g sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup 80ml heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Prepare the dough. In a stand mixer bowl, whisk together warm milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining flour and beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If needed, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Be careful not to add too much flour, though. You want a slightly sticky dough.
- Knead the dough. Keep the dough in the mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and beat on low speed for an additional 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5-7 minutes. After kneading, the dough should be smooth and elastic but still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger—if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
- Let the dough rise. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm environment for 1.5-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Shape the doughnuts. Punch down the dough to release the air. Remove the dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3-3.5 inch doughnut cutter, cut into doughnuts. Re-roll the scraps and cut more doughnuts. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes on the baking sheets. Loosely cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes as you heat the oil.
- Fry the doughnuts. Pour oil into a large heavy-duty pot fitted with an oil thermometer. Turn the stove on to medium heat. Heat the oil to 375°F (191°C). Add 2-3 doughnuts at a time and cook for 1 minute on each side. Carefully remove the doughnuts with a metal slotted spatula or metal slotted spoon. Be sure to lower the stove’s temperature if the oil temperature is rising; you want it to stay at 375°F (191°C). Wear kitchen gloves if the oil is splashing. Place the fried doughnuts onto a prepared rack. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, then turn off the heat.
- Make the glaze. Whisk together all the glaze ingredients.
- Glaze the doughnuts. Dip each warm doughnut (don’t wait for them to cool!) into the glaze, making sure to coat both sides. Place the doughnuts back onto the prepared rack, as excess glaze drips down. After about 20 minutes, the glaze will set.
- For a sweeter glaze, add an additional 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar.
- For a more flavorful glaze, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or orange zest.
- To make chocolate glaze, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
What is the difference between a doughnut and a donut?
The terms “doughnut” and “donut” are both correct, although “doughnut” is the more traditional spelling. The word “donut” is believed to have originated in the early 20th century as a shortened form of “doughnut.”
What is the hole in the middle of a doughnut for?
The hole in the middle of a doughnut is said to have been created by a Dutch ship captain named Hanson Gregory. Gregory was said to have been annoyed by the greasy center of the doughnuts, so he used a ship’s cannonball to punch a hole in the middle of the dough. This allowed the doughnut to cook more evenly and prevented the center from becoming greasy.
What is the most popular type of doughnut?
The most popular type of doughnut is the glazed doughnut. Glazed doughnuts are made with a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk. They are a classic and versatile treat that people of all ages can enjoy.
What is the world’s largest doughnut?
The world’s largest doughnut was created in 2012 by Krispy Kreme. The doughnut weighed 1.5 tons and was 11 feet tall and 16 feet wide.
What is the National Doughnut Day?
National Doughnut Day is celebrated on the first Friday of June each year. The day was created in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor the “Doughnut Lassies” who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.
The doughnut is a truly remarkable food that has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. With its rich history, versatility, and cultural significance, the doughnut is sure to continue to be a beloved treat for many years to come.
Speaking of Baking, if you like this recipe, take a look at our brand new baking adventure; chocolate mocha cake.