The answer is that bagels and donuts have holes in them because of the way they are cooked – donuts being fried and bagels being boiled. Since they are so dense and full inside, the heat used during cooking wouldn't be able to reach all the way into the middle to cook the center if these yummy baked goods were simply disc-shaped with no hole!
Some people also say the hole once served another purpose, which was to help bakers display and sell their treats! Thanks to the hole, bagels and donuts could be strung together and hung up on display, or carried around on a stick for easy sale on-the-go!
ExplorationSomething in the middle!
Donuts and bagels are almost always round, but occasionally you might see some that are square, instead! What other shapes could a baker possibly use for a donut? Maybe a triangle?? Why do you think the circular shape has become the most popular??
Sources & links
Levine, Ed. “Was life better when bagels were smaller?” 31 Dec. 2003. The New York Times. 7 Aug. 2009 <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/31/dining/31BAGE.html?ex=1388206800&en=ce4b320bd27cb9ad&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=1> “Doughnut.” Fried dough around the world. OSO-ONO Foods. 7 Aug. 2009 <http://home.comcast.net/%7Eosoono/ethnicdoughs/doughnut/doughnut.htm> “Bagels.” Baking 911. 7 Aug. 2009. <http://www.baking911.com/bread/bagels.htm>