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Baked Or Fried?

Ever since humans discovered fire and began cooking their food, there have been two opposing factions: Team Baked and Team Fried. The world’s oldest known oven dates back 6500 years ago. Frying first began around 1500 years ago by the Egyptians and the Greeks. Clearly the bakers have a serious head start on the game. The cooking rules had been set in stone by the time the new kid on the block, deep-frying, showed up on the scene. But you know rules were meant to be broken.

Enter the doughnut. Doughnut history travels well before the discovery of the New World. It goes back centuries to ancient Greece and Rome. Cooks would take pastry dough, coat them with honey and fry them up. (They would also coat them with fermented fish sauce, called “garum” – but why?) During Medieval times, Arab cooks fried up small portions of unsweetened yeast dough and drowned these lil’ dough devils in a sugary simple syrup to sweeten them up.

According to Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink: “Doughnuts are deep-fried cakes with a long European history and roots in still earlier Middle Eastern cuisine. They were introduced to America by the Dutch in New Netherlands to America as oliekoecken (oil cakes or fried cakes). Made of yeast dough rich in eggs and butter, spices, and dried fruits, their sweetness came from the fruit and the final dusting of sugar. The dough was often somewhat sticky (additional flour toughened and masked the spicy and buttery flavors), and was dropped as blobs off the end of a spoon into hot rapeseed oil (canola). The resulting doughnuts took the form of irregular balls, at some point called oliebollen, or oil (fried) balls. They were eaten during the dutch Christmas season, which extended through New Year’s through Twelfth Night (January 6), and for special occasions throughout the year.” 

And so now with the doughnut, there is a set tradition that they are fried, not baked. Would you go with tradition (fried) or break the rules again and go for the healthy outcast (baked)? Both types of doughnuts are delicious in my opinion, I think it probably comes down to texture. And ultimately both can be decorated the same. I’m a big fan of birthday cake so the baked doughnut can beckon the flavors and textures of that celebration. Still, there is nothing like the puffy “O’s” perfectly lined up rolling off the conveyer belt under the “Hot Now” neon sign at the local Krispy Kreme.

Stay gold and turn on that “Hot Now” sign,

Will

p.s. So tell me, are you baked or fried?

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