Why Are There Holes in Doughnuts?
There are a couple of common theories about the origin of the doughnut’s hole. One of the most popular credits American seafarer Hanson Gregory with inventing the donut’s hole in 1847 while aboard a lime-trading ship. He was just 16 years old at the time.
As the story goes, Gregory wasn’t happy with the doughy consistency of the fried cakes served on the ship. Although the outsides and the edges were crisp, the centres of the donuts were always greasy and doughy.
Gregory suggested punching a hole in the middle of the fried cakes, so that the insides of the cakes would cook as evenly as the outsides. Experts believe that this reason makes sense, because of the way that doughnuts are cooked.
When dough is placed in a fryer, the outsides and edges will cook quickly, because they’re exposed to the hot oil. To fully cook the insides of the dough, the dough would have to stay in the oil for a longer time, which would lead to the outsides becoming burnt.
Punching a hole in the middle of the dough, however, allows the insides and the outsides to cook evenly, creating a perfect doughnut. There may be another reason for the holes in doughnuts though.
Doughnuts became popular in America around the same time bagels were becoming popular. Bakers and street vendors would often sell bagels stacked on long sticks or strung on a long rope. Some people believe that the holes in doughnuts allowed them to be sold in a similar way.
So what happens to all those doughnut holes that are cut out of the dough? Many people believe that those pieces of cut-out dough are what are used to make doughnut holes, which are those little round doughnut pieces that so many kids love to eat with milk.
In truth, though, many doughnuts with holes don’t actually have any dough cut out of them to make their shape. Instead, special machines spray dough into a fryer in a circular pattern. The donut holes you buy at the bakery or grocery store are usually made out of dough simply cut into small squares.
Author – Chef Jock Stewart