A terrific article that describes the seven fried-dough varieties that make up our doughnut vernacular. Thanks to Ashley Deemer of Chasing Doughnuts for the tip!
At its most basic, the American doughnut is made from dough that is mixed, shaped, and fried. Depending upon the type of leavening agent, it may be kneaded and require time to rise before cooking. Unlike fried fritters in Asia or South America, the American doughnut is a sweet snack; after its time in the fryer, it is generally dipped in a dry or wet sugar mixture. It may also be glazed with chocolate or filled with a fruit jam, custard, or cream. Here now, the seven types of American doughnuts and where to find excellent specimens of each style.