The real difference between donuts and bagels

It's round, it's awesome, and you can enjoy it with all sorts of fillings and toppings. It's a donut! Well, or a bagel! The two ring-shaped delicacies are some of the best hand-held delivery devices of taste explosions out there, but let's be honest — what makes them so different? Donuts are generally sweet, and bagels tend to be savory, but is that mostly because of the toppings and whatnot? Could it be that the only key difference between the two is really the fact that bagels tend to be chewier than the notoriously pillowy donuts? What's stopping you from going nuts and using the two round food items interchangeably? 

Well, nothing, really, should that tickle your fancy. It's worth noting, however, that there are a few key differences between donuts and bagels that go a lot further than the fact that both have holes, and you might want to know them before serving those lox donuts at brunch. Let's see what the real difference between donuts and bagels is. 

Donuts and bagels are made in very different ways

Sure, bagels and donuts might look similar, but as anyone who has eaten both in the same sitting can easily attest, there are actually some easily identifiable differences between the two. 

According to Pondan and New Yorker Bagels, the donut is essentially a sweet ring of risen dough that's usually fried in hot fat and glazed. Meanwhile, a bagel is considered to be a type of bread, and gets its texture from the yeast in the dough, as well as the two-pronged cooking method. First, the bagel is boiled in water, which gives it its signature dense chewiness. Then, it gets to cool, after which it's baked to give it a nice crust. The grain toppings that are commonly associated with bagels, like seeds, are added before baking.

All of this makes the two just about as different as two similar-looking, dough-based foods can be. That's not to say that you can't play with their concepts, though — just consider the many, often sweet ways you never thought to use bagels, or Smokey Bones and their limited-time meat donut