Records show that in the mid-19th century, the Dutch began making a treat known as olykoeks (oil cakes). These donuts were balls of cake, which were cooked in pork fat until they were golden brown. The problem with these treats was that the cake cooked much faster on the outside than on the inside, (much like the South Indian Ulundu Vadai) leaving an uncooked center when the outside was done. To rectify this problem, cooks were stuffing the treats with nuts, fruit, or other fillings that did not need to be cooked.
When Dutch immigrants began to settle in North America, they continued to make olykoeks. As immigrants from other cultures also began making olykoeks, they crafted their own variations. Eventually, the olykoeks evolved to become what we know today as donuts.
To solve the problem of the uncooked center of donuts, many believed that stuffing the middle would be good enough. In 1847, an American ship captain named Hansen Gregory came up with a better solution. Rather than dealing with the gooey, uncooked center, he chose to punch a hole through the center of the dough, eliminating the uncooked center altogether.
There are a few other versions of how the hole ended up in donuts. Some people say that Captain Gregory wanted to steer with both hands while enjoying his tasty treat, so he impaled his donuts on the ship’s steering wheel, creating a hole in the middle. Source: here
Fast forward, here is one delicious doughnut and holes made from them. Why holes you may ask, first I do not have a doughnut cutter or maker and second, they can be a bit time consuming with all the dough turning into balls of dough, rolled out and the cycle repeated :). Not a great fan of time-consuming recipes ;), not when a recipe can be simplified. This is a delicious recipe and you get a LIGHT. FLUFFY.AIRY doughnut with a crisp to every bite, then your teeth sinks into the dough-ey part of the deliciousness.
All purpose flour (sifted) : 320 gms + 1 tbsp, divided
Egg : 1 , beaten
Sugar : 2 tbsp
Cinnamon powder : 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg : 1/4 tsp
Butter: 40 gms
Yeast: 2 tsp
Milk: 1 Cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Warm the milk up to 45-50 C (It must be warm enough to activate the yeast but not hot). Dissolve the sugar (2 tbsp) and add the yeast. Mix and keep aside to activate
In a bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl large enough to knead, add the 1/2 tsp salt, cinnamon and nutmeg powders, beaten egg, milk and yeast mixture. Knead and add the butter. I have noticed adding butter a bit later helps in getting a not-so-much sticky dough.
Knead for about 6-7 minutes till the dough doesn’t stick to your hands and it turns smooth and shiny.
Oil your hands slightly and let it rise for about 45 min to 1 hour.
Gently deflate and on a floured surface roll out the dough to about 2 cm in thickness and cut out rings
I used a larger round cookie cutter and smaller one for the hole so it results in a hole for the doughnut.
Arrange on a tray and let it rise again for a further 30 mins
Heat up oil in a pan. Do not crowd and cook on medium heat so that the insides are cooked.
Drain on paper towels and dust with cinnamon and sugar or glaze.
If you don’t prefer a glaze, mix 1 tbsp sugar or castor sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon and toss the doughnut when hot and remove. Keep aside
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
Milk : 1-2 tbsp
Mix the above in a wide bowl so you can dip the doughnut and remove. Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired