How the Donut Got Its Hole

How the Donut Got Its Hole

The donut. Some say it is holy, but we all know it to be holey.

A donut is a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically with a hole in the center.

This famous snack food has become so well-known that the shape of it is used to describe nearly every other ring shaped object or action, like small metal washers, and doing “donuts” in a parking lot.

Though the shape is well-known, the origin of the hole is not.

The Mystery of the Donut Hole

If we take a look back in time, we understand that they didn’t have all of the advantages and technologies that we have today. That being said, it was not as easy for them to create such a fancy and delicious pastry.

Cooking capabilities were far less advanced back in the day, and they had difficulty cooking the donut all the way through. Though the outsides of the donut were perfect, the center was often left gooey and undercooked. This is why many people believe they would cut out the center of the donut and eat it that way.

Over time there have been many other myths and rumors about how the hole got in the donut.

The Ship’s Wheel Myth

The woman who originally came up with the name “doughnut”, Miss Elizabeth Gregory, frequently made donuts for her son Hanson Gregory.

A famous myth floats around that Hanson Gregory, a seaman, was out at sea enjoying one of his mother’s famous donuts when suddenly the seas grew angry and he needed both of his hands to steer the ship. Quickly thinking, he stuck his doughnuts on the spokes of his steering wheel to free his hands so he could steer the ship, thus creating holes in the center of the donut.

Others are convinced that the center of the donut was removed for selfish reasons, just so they could save a little money using less ingredients to make the product.

The Indian’s Arrow Myth

Another farfetched myth is that of the Indian’s arrow. It has been claimed that one day an Indian fired an arrow at a housewife, but the arrow instead drove a hole through a round fried cake, thus creating the donut hole.

Though popular myths, they have been debunked by Captain Gregory himself. In 1847, Captain Gregory recalled himself using the top of a round tin pepper box to cut into the middle of the donut, claiming it to be the “first doughnut hole ever seen by mortal eyes.”

Today’s Donut Holes

We have come a long way in the world and it has allowed us to mass produce donuts.

Though not all donuts have holes in them these days, especially those with fillings, we have carried on the tradition of a donut with a hole in it for years.

The idea of the “donut hole” became so popular that small round donut balls are now sold as “donut holes”.

Nowadays we have machines that spray the dough into a fryer in a circular pattern, creating the traditional shape of the donut.

Whatever the reason for the creation of the donut hole, we are happy and thankful for it. It’s hard to imagine a world where donuts don’t have holes in them.