Types Of Donuts

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Interested in starting a donut shop? Before you get started on forming a donut shop business, you must first know the types of donut there are and which you desire to offer. Donuts are small, fried, sweetened dough cakes that are traditionally shaped into balls or rings. This dessert has been taken and adapted differently depending on the culture and region they are made. Below, we have created a guide that explains each donut category and the different versions for each.

Donut Vs. Doughnut

The original spelling for donut was doughnut, and it was first published in 1809 in Washington Irving’s History of New York. The first doughnuts ever created were dough turned into fried balls filled with nuts. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the historic doughnut got simplified to “donut” for menu purposes.

Yeast DonutsYeast donuts in bowl

Yeast donuts are made with a yeasted dough that is allowed to rise before being shaped into rings and deep-fried. These donuts are typically light airy and have a slightly chewy texture.

How To Make Yeast Donuts

  • Choose either the straight dough or sponge system. Can be baked with either or.
  • For the straight dough method, mix all ingredients together and then allow the dough to ferment for one hour.
  • Once yeast dough has rested, heat your frying oil to 375 degrees F. While you wait for your oil to heat, cut your dough into preferred-sized shapes and pieces.
  • Place pieces onto frying oil until thoroughly cooked.
  • Once cooked and raised, add the topping and filling you desire.

If you desire to glaze your donuts, you can do this step while they are fresh and hot. For thicker toppings and filling, wait until they cool a bit in a cooling rack.

Types Of Yeast Donuts

  • Glazed Donuts - Ring shaped yeast donut coated with powdered sugar glaze. This donut is a classic and very popular amongst customers.
  • Honey Buns - Made from honey-cinnamon yeast dough. It is shaped similar to a cinnamon roll, topped with glaze or icing.
  • Tiger Tail Donut - Two yeast strip doughs with two different flavors, one chocolate and the other vanilla. The strips are twisted together before frying and coated with honey glaze.

Cake DonutsCake donuts laid out

Cake donuts are made with a cake-like batter that is fried until golden brown. These donuts are denser than yeast donuts and have a more moist, tender texture.

How To Make Cake Donuts

Cake donuts are made with two methods, pipe and roll method. Below, we describe both methods:

  1. Piping Method: Pipe the chemically leavened batter round, donut shapes. With cake donuts, you can fry or bake.
  2. Rolling Method: Roll out your chemically leavened dough and cut them into donut shapes. Bake or fry each donut.

Types of Cake Donuts

  • Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Donut - Chocolate donut topped with delicious sea salt and caramel frosting.
  • Red Velvet Donut - Piped cake donuts with red food coloring. Once fried or baked, they are coated with cream cheese frosting.
  • Apple Cider Donut- A fall treat, this donut is filled with apple cider, cinnamon, and sometimes applesauce.

Donut HolesDonut holes in pastry holder

Donut holes are small balls of fried dough that are typically coated in sugar or cinnamon sugar. These bite-sized treats are perfect for snacking on and can be found at most donut shops.

How To Make Donut Holes

  • Form small, yeast raised dough balls from discarded donut dough, usually from the center of round ringed donuts.
  • Fry your dough balls. Fry for 3 ½ minutes due to bite size.
  • After frying, top with a coating of glaze. Can be done with cake donut batter as well in the same process.

Types of Donut Holes

  • Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes: Baked donut holes made from moist chocolate and thickly covered in a sweet glaze coating.
  • Glazed Donut Holes: A none-baked but fried donut hole coated with a delicious maple glaze.
  • Strawberry Donut Holes: Fried donut holes filled with strawberry jelly and rolled in sugar.

Long John DonutLong john donut in pink background

Long john donuts are rectangular-shaped (oblong) donuts that are typically filled with cream, pudding, custard, or jelly. These donuts are often coated in a chocolate or vanilla glaze.

How To Make Long John Donuts

  • Grab a large bowl and dissolve yeast in warm water mixed with milk, butter, sugar, salt, flour, and an egg.
  • Let dough rise for about an hour in a warm place covered in a greased bowl.
  • Then roll into cut rectangle pieces, 3 x 1 inch each. Place each rectangle into greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Deep-fry until golden brown. Heat oil to about 400 degrees F.
  • Once done, dip the tops in warm glaze of your choice.

Types of Long John Donuts

  • Maple Bar: Yeast donuts coated with a maple glaze icing. Maple bars are also called maple Long Johns.
  • Chocolate Long John: Also known as chocolate bars, this yeast donut is topped with a chocolate glaze.
  • Cream-Filled Long John: Infused with decadent cream, custard, or pudding-this yeast donut is enhanced with a coating of chocolate or maple glaze.

CrullerCrueller on a pink background

Crullers are donuts that are made with a twisted, rope-like dough that is fried until it is golden brown. These donuts are typically coated in sugar or cinnamon sugar.

How To Make Cruller Donuts

  • In a large bowl, combine milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt and heat the mixture.
  • Once boiled, dump flour into the mixture and begin to stir until it becomes a thick dough in heat.
  • After kneading the dough, remove from heat and spread dough into a bowl to cool once smooth.
  • Wait 15 minutes until the dough has cooled off slightly, then add 2 eggs and lemon zest and beat simultaneously until mixed into the rest of the dough.
  • Once dough has chilled, put it into a piping bag with a large open star tip. Begin to pipe 3-inch circles of dough into square 18 3-inch cut parchment papers.
  • Fry in 350 degrees F oil with parchment paper on each cruller until golden brown. 2-3 minutes each side.
  • Dip in glaze once done.

Types of Crullers

  • Hand-Twisted Cruller: Twisted into an oblong shape before frying and topped with powdered sugar or icing.
  • French Cruller: Are ribbed, ring-shaped doughnuts made from choux pastry that is fried and dipped into a sweet honey glaze.

Filled DonutsFilled donut on table

Filled donuts are donuts that have been filled with a variety of sweet fillings, such as cream, jelly, or chocolate. These donuts are typically more decadent and richer than their unfilled counterparts and have no holes.

How To Make Filled Donuts

  • Cream Filled Donuts: A deep-fried yeasted donut with vanilla pudding or pastry cream inside. Top with confectioners sugar for garnish.
  • Jelly Donut: Pillow-y jelly filled donuts that are deep fried and covered in powdered sugar. A popular Hanukkah dessert.
  • Chocolate Pudding Donuts: Fluffy donuts that are rolled in sugar and filled with a silky, creamy chocolate pudding.

Drop DoughnutsDrop donuts being made

Drop doughnuts are donuts that are made by dropping a spoonful of batter into hot oil and frying until they are golden brown. These donuts are typically small in size and have a more irregular shape.

How To Make Drop Doughnuts

  • Sift together dry ingredients and wet ingredients until smooth. Add 2 cups of flour, 1’3 cups of sugar, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 egg, ¾ cups of milk, 3 tablespoons of oil, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • Drop teaspoons of dough into hot oil, make sure oil is about 365 degrees F. Fry until golden brown.
  • Once drained, roll into cinnamon sugar once still warm.

Types of Drop Doughnuts

  • African Drop Doughnut: A nutmeg and orange enhanced batter that is spooned into drops and fried in oil. Top off with powdered or caster sugar.
  • Applesauce Drop Doughnuts: A batter filled with applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Roll in sugar after deep-frying.
  • Buttermilk Drop Doughnut: The cousins of African doughnuts, this dough is enriched with nutmeg, vanilla, and buttermilk. Coat with powdered sugar glaze, or cinnamon sugar.

How To Store & Reheat Donuts

Before storing donuts, it is important to let them cool first. The reason behind this is that if you store donuts warm, they will sweat and become soggy (which we don’t want). Once chilled, place in an airtight, food-safe, storage container. If frosted, place in one layer to prevent them from sticking. You can easily store donuts in your cupboard, but dairy-based cream filled donuts should be placed in the refrigerator.

How To Reheat Donuts

  • Reheat In A Microwave: Use a microwave-safe plate. Put the microwave to medium-high heat and warm the donut for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Reheat In The Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Warm your donut(s) for 3 to 4 minutes. When warming, place it in the oven’s wire rack or baking tray.
  • Reheat In A Frying Pan: Lightly grease pan with oil or butter on medium heat. Fry donut(s) within one minute on each side.
  • Reheat In The Air fryer: Set the heat in the air fryer to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper inside the air fryer basket. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes.

Time To Get That Dough

Donuts come in many different shapes, sizes, and flavors. Whether your customers like them plain or filled, glazed or coated, there is a donut out there for everyone to enjoy. So next time you're looking for a sweet treat, be sure to pick up a donut (or two).

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