The Chemistry of Doughnuts


I chose doughnuts because they are delicious and probably are interesting in a chemical way.

My life is probably affected in a negative way by doughnuts as they aren’t healthy.

Composition of ...

(Standard doughnut)

Yeast- An actual living organism, in the form of fungi. The yeast ferments to allow the dough to rise, requiring glucose to start the process. When the fermentation happens, it releases carbon dioxide into the air.

Sugar- Sugar is the ingredient that makes the yeast begin the process, as glucose is sugar. The chemical formula is (C6-H12-O6). The yeast uses the sugar as a food source to replicate itself/making the dough rise.

Flour- Flour is the main part as it is the “Dough” of the doughnut. Wheat flour is the main type of flour used in most baking goods including doughnuts. Flour is made from carbohydrates and starch. Flour is mixed with water to make the dough and the aforementioned yeast makes the dough rise.

Chemistry's Role

Yeast, one of the main chemical components used in doughnuts and it makes the dough itself rise and become ring-shaped. The rest of the chemicals and ingredients are mainly for flavor, but some are used as yeast nutrients, such as calcium sulfate and ammonium sulfate. BHT also helps protect flavor. Calcium propionate retains freshness. There are quite a few chemicals used as dough conditioners. (Keep in mind these ingredients and chemicals are for a typical plain doughnut)

Background Research

Doughnuts or Donuts - (American term) - are yeast-raised rings of dough, that are fried.

There is no specific food label as doughnuts are not exclusive to one company or flavor and there are many different ways or recipes for making them.

The main ingredients are “bleached white flour, sugar, eggs, butter, yeast, oil, salt, milk/water, and others depending on variations/flavors.”

The ingredients for the glaze consist of milk, vanilla extract, and confectioners sugar.

The type of flour used is important as it will help the dough rise and ingredients stay in shape.


Where info on ingredients and baking was found in beginning info/Chemical composition. Entire breakdown taken from site.

More baking info

Glaze ingredients

Info on production/history.

General chemistry of baking

Info on sugar composition.

About the Author

Ivan Perkins is a Junior at Senior High School. He greatly appreciates what doughnuts have done for our country, and the chemistry involved.