Although national doughnut day is celebrated in June, Americans snap up these indulgent treats at a swift clip year-round. One unit of measurement, IRI convenience store (c-store) data showed doughnut sales grew by double digits for the first half of 2014 with no signs of a slowdown.
Americans are buying more healthy snacks, but within the category as a whole, Americans are buying more snacks in general. Baked goods grew by 12.8 percent as a percent change year over year comparing 2013 to 2014 and doughnuts alone grew by 13.2 percent.
Those figures don’t take into account the thousands of small, independent bakers who sell doughnuts alongside other baked items, but it’s safe to say Americans consume millions of doughnuts—daily.
Although I don’t know how it is possible out of a nation filled with creative bakers to choose the best version of any particular baked good, several stories pop up every year claiming to list the country’s best doughnuts. One such list included the Chocolate from Glazed and Infused in Chicago. You can never go wrong with chocolate. It’s hard to go wrong with bacon either. Another doughnut that made one list is a blog posting of a Maple Bacon confection with finely chopped, crispy bacon included in the batter and garnishing the maple-syrup glaze.
Both cake and yeast doughnuts use eggs in formulation, although at different levels by weight and different types. In cake doughnuts, eggs play a vital role in functionality and can range from 0.5-7 percent of the formula. The egg product generally used is a dried yolk solid, which add richness and flavor, but also contribute to tenderness, increased volume, crust smoothness and increased shelf life. Bakers prefer yolks to white because whites will reduce the doughnuts’ fat absorption qualities. In general, according to Emily Munday, culinologist/nutritionist for CuliNex, LLC, Seattle, Washington, “Doughnuts need to strike a balance between tenderness for better eating quality and resiliency, for physical strength to withstand any sugar tumbling, packaging and shipping.”
Yeast doughnuts, according to Munday, rely less on the egg functionality than a cake- or churro-style donut. Whole eggs or egg yolk can be included up to 5 percent of the formula by weight. In a yeast raised product eggs can contribute to better crust color, extended shelf life, and add richness and flavor; generally making for better eating quality.
With the growing Hispanic influence in our country churros are becoming more popular. These Spanish-style doughnuts are made for a choux paste, which is a cooked starch paste enriched with eggs—very different from cake or yeast doughnuts. Said Munday, “Almost all of the leavening power comes from eggs and as such, they contain a high percentage, ranging from 16-21 percent of the formula by weight.” In these formulations, bakers sometimes add egg yolk in addition to whole egg for greater richness, color and tenderness, better flavor and improved eating quality.