Tracing The History Of The Fluffy And Sweet Donut

A deep-fried yeast-based dessert, the donut is absolutely amazing and there is no doubt about it. When enjoyed warm and plain, it is airy and pillowy with just the right amount of sweetness. The donut is an American classic, but it is not actually American. The truth is donuts are European by nature and maybe even Middle Eastern. 

The history of the donut goes way back; it is assumed that donuts have been around since ancient times. In the empires of Rome and Greece, chefs would deep-fry dough and then cover it with other meats. It was perhaps the Arabs who first made deep-fried dough and covered it in sugary syrup much like the modern-day donut.

This recipe from the Arabs of sweet fritters became intensely popular in European countries like Germany, England, and the Netherlands around the 1400s. Since the sugar use wasn’t so widespread, they too made these fritters savoury. In fact, it was the Dutch that later brought the donut to America. 

Soon, egg yolks were added to the recipe to build richness, but that led to the fritters coming out of the oil - raw. In order to prevent and ensure even cooking, a hole was created in the centre. Donuts like fritters are also a part of Jewish culture and the food is often served during the festival of Hanukkah. They are called sufganiyot or bimuelos and resemble donut holes. 

The American donuts took influences from the Jewish-style donut fritters. For trivia, it was a Jewish immigrant who set up the first automated donut machine in the 1920s. Moreover, it was another Jew who created the Dunkin’ Donut store in the US. And today, Dunkin’ Donut stores are present in many countries around the world that sell to nearly two million customers a day. 

Since making donuts at home is a tricky process, most of us will resort to buying one from a store which probably explains why stores like Dunkin’ do so well.