We all know the standard doughnut, right? Circular in shape with a hole right in the middle. They can be lightly dusted with sugar, smothered in icing or filled with the gooiest deliciousness. The truth is doughnuts take a variety of delicious forms. Whichever you enjoy the most, the one thing we can agree on is that the history of the humble doughnut is indeed a fascinating one.
Historians credit the confectionary creation of the doughnut to Dutch native sailor, Hanson Gregory. His mother was well known for her olykoek (also called oily cake). Because the mother knows best, she sent a few of the delightful treats with Gregory on his voyages, along with the recipe, in the 1800s. The recipe allowed the ship’s cook to bake more.
Putting the hole in the doughnut
Those original cakes sent on the voyage did not have holes. As legend would have it Gregory impaled one of the treats on the steering wheel of the ship in order to keep his hands free should the ship head into a storm. He then allegedly enjoyed this newly discovered form of the cake more and instructed the cook to bake them with a hole in the future.
Over the year’s many people have come forward with variations on the discovery of the doughnut. But, most historians agree that the story of Gregory is the most likely to have taken place. There is however a more modern explanation for the hole in a doughnut. Everyone knows the dough would cook faster and more evenly without anything in the center.
Doughnuts only really gained popularity after World War 1 although they had been around for centuries. This was partly due to the invention of the doughnut machine. The invention allowed for the dough to be processed faster and resulted in a boom in the doughnut market. Today you can buy doughnuts just about everywhere.
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