Why Do Donuts Have Holes?

If you are a truly devoted donut lover, it’s likely that this doughy dilemma has come up in your mindSo, why do donuts have holes? Turns out, there are a few tales out there! Let’s discover them together, shall we?

At least three versions of the story involve a certain Mr. Hanson Gregory, who was a captain. This is one of them:

…it remained for an old New England Sea captain, one Hanson Gregory, to introduce the hole in the donut, as we know it today. As an old man he liked to tell his story many times–how as a boy he had been watching his mother frying donuts and had noticed that the centers always remained partially uncooked and doughy. “Mother”, he said, “leave a hole in the center.” Laughingly, she obliged him and never went back to the old way. Her method was widely copied.

So, in short, the consistency of a donut lacking a hole would be, quite simply, doughy. But some say that the Pennsylvania Dutch were responsible for making the first holey donuts, cutting the centers to ensure even frying and easier dunking. There is also a more outlandish story behind the donut hole: “An Indian’s arrow, aimed at a housewife, pierced a round of fried cake”. Unlucky, the article I read did not back this up with any evidence.

Oh, and finally, what of the dough from the middle? Interestingly, those little donut dots aren’t necessarily cut from the same dough as the donut itself: “commercially made ring donuts are not made by cutting out the central portion of the cake but by dropping a ring of dough into hot oil. However, soon after ring donuts became popular, donut sellers began to see the opportunity to market the “holes” as if they were the portions cut out to make the ring.”

To this day, donuts (in any shape or form) remain married in our minds to coffee, police officers and Homer Simpson.

And…they are here to stay.


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