Why does a bagel have a hole in the middle?

I’ve had a lot of guests at the Bagel Bakery ask me, “Why does a bagel have a hole in the middle?” They wonder if the hole has an actual purpose, or if it is just one of those things that’s there for no reason.

From creating a career out of making bagels, I’ve learned it’s actually a combination of a few different things. The hole in the middle of the bagel allows it to have a larger surface area, making it easier to consistently cook the bagel all the way through. This is important because bagel dough can be incredibly thick, which would make it difficult to know if the center was cooked completely if the hole was not there.

Also, this larger surface area allows the bagel to have even more of the chewy crust that we all love so much. We create our signature crust by boiling the bagel for 30-60 seconds before baking it, because if there’s no boil, there’s no real bagel. The outside crust is one of the most defining, and amazing attributes of a bagel, so having a bit more of it is sure to make anyone’s morning better!