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What Is a Donut?

A doughnut refers to a sweet type of pastry that is deep fried. Also spelled as “donut,” doughnuts come in many variants that have become popular worldwide. Although doughnuts may be called by different names in different countries, the basic type of a fried sweet dough remains consistent in every country. A doughnut can be served simply with just a dusting of sugar. Others usually put toppings like creams and icings, or it can be given a glaze or a frosting. There are some countries that eat doughnuts for breakfast, while in other countries doughnut holes, which is an homage of sorts to the missing piece of pastry in the middle of a doughnut, have become quite popular as a snack.

Doughnuts, like other fried pastries, has been made for many centuries and are considered a treat. According to food historians, doughnuts may have originated from scraps of dough leftover from a batch that was baked. The earliest doughnuts were filled with fruit or sweet fillings. The more enterprising cooks started to tinker with the shape of the dough by frying it in twists and knots. The classic round doughnut is attributed to Captain Mason Gregory of the United States.

There are basically two major types of doughnuts – the yeast doughnuts and the cake doughnuts. A yeast doughnut is more closely related to the original doughnut. These tend to be lighter and have a more fluffy texture. Cake doughnuts, on the other hand, are more heavy and is denser, just like a cake.

There are two primary divisions of doughnut: yeast doughnuts and cake doughnuts. The yeast doughnut hails back to the origins of doughnuts as leftover baking scraps, and tends to be lighter and fluffier with a distinctive yeasty flavor which some consumers find quite appealing. Yeast doughnuts are sometimes baked, as this is perceived to be healthier than deep frying. Cake doughnuts are heavier, with a denser cake-like texture to them. Those known as "old fashioned” doughnuts are usually cake doughnuts.

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