Why Bagels Are Boiled

What sets bagels apart from other breads? Why, it’s their chewy exterior shell of course! Here at the Bagel Bakery we boil and bake our bagels in our shop, so you’re never getting frozen bagels.

The reason we boil the dough first is so that the outside crust sets before it goes in the oven. We generally let the dough boil for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, but the longer you let it boil, the thicker and chewier the crust.

The amount of time the bagel is boiling also affects its interior texture. A longer boil gives a dense interior, while a shorter boil gives a softer and tenderer interior.

Barley malt extract, lye or baking soda is sometimes added to the boiling water. This is what gives the crust it’s golden color and adds flavor to the bagel.

The History Behind BagelFest

For those of you who don’t know, July 26 is National BagelFest Day. What is BagelFest you ask? BagelFest is a 5-day celebration that takes place in Mattoon, Illinois.

The idea for the event is credited to Murray Lender, owner of Bagel Factory and Lender’s Bagels. When the Bagel Factory first came to the town of Mattoon, Illinois, Lender hosted a free bagel breakfast for all the citizen of the city. This breakfast eventually evolved into a multiple-day festival that celebrates the community every year.

Every year the festival has a Miss BagelFest Contest, a Bagel Baby Contest, a parade and live music. The 2015 BagelFest took place from July 14 to July 18 and marked the 30th year anniversary of the festival.

Spice Up Your Bagels

We love bagels with cream cheese as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s okay to spice things up. Try out some of these delicious bagel-related concoctions to keep things interesting.

1. Bagel Sandwiches– Bagels are great for sandwiches of any kind. You can make a PB & J, an egg sandwich, a ham and cheese sandwich. You name it, and you can probably put it in your bagel sandwich. For an extra crunch, toast the bagel before assembling this snack.

2. Bagel Pizzas– Why buy frozen pizza bagels when you can make your own? All you have to do is put a little tomato sauce, cheese and whatever other pizza topping you want and stick it in the over for a few minutes.
3. Salad Bagels– Yes, you read that correctly. Throw some bagels pieces into your salad to soak up some of the dressing and give the salad a little substance. Think of it like soft croutons! If you’re a crunchy fan, again, just toast the bagel beforehand.
4. Bagels in a Frittata– You can throw just about anything in a frittata, right? Well why not bagels!
5. Bagel Bread Pudding– After all bagels are a type of bread, so it would work great in bread pudding. Just throw some bagel chunks, cheese and veggies in a baking pan and pour a mixture of eggs and milk on top. Give it a few minutes to sit, then bake it at 350 degrees and enjoy!

If any of these caught your eye, come by The Bagel Bakery and pick up a dozen bagels to give them a try.

10 out-of-the-ordinary facts about bagels

We all love them, but how much do you know about the beloved food we call bagels? What’s the most popular bagel flavor? Why is February 9th an important day? Where did the bagel come from? Why do they have a hole in the middle? Read our list for some fun facts about bagels.

1. Bagels are the only bread that is boiled before it is baked.
2. There are three separate calendar days dedicated to bagels. February 9th is National Bagels and Lox Day, July 26th is National BagelFest Day and December 11th is National Have a Bagel Day.
3. Prepackaged bagels weren’t available in grocery stores until the 1950s. Frozen bagels were not a thing until 1960.
4. The most popular bagel choice is plain.
5. Bagels have a hole in the middle so that street vendors could carry them around on dowels in the old days.
6. There is more than one story about the origin of the bagel, so it is unclear when the delicious treat was first invented.
7. There is such a thing as a Buzzed Bagel, which is a bagel that contains two coffee cups of caffeine.
8. The second most popular bagel flavor is sesame.
9. If you cut a bagel in a particular manner, you can actually get the two halves to interlock.
10. It would take approximately 2,231 bagels to go around Grand Central Station Main Concourse’s inner perimeter once.

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