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These people in the midwest, they wouldn't know a bagel from a donut. They only saw a bagel if one fell off a truck. Four professors were dissecting it before they found out what it's all about.
February 9, 2012 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Hiya Freddie baby, give me a dozen...my life's blood, without bagels what is a day? Yah make it a dozen assorted. Dat's it, give me the garlic, the sesame, the onion, give me them all baby, that's it! They're still handmade eh? Hot Bagels! Wait a second let me PAY yah! Here you are, kid. Thank you. Have a good day.
posted by timshel (71 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Brooklyn Public Library on Brooklyn's bagel history.
posted by timshel at 3:31 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I canot even begin to tell you how happy this made me.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:35 PM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is the kind of thing that can inspire a person to dedicate the rest of their lives to a thing. Bagels, in this case.
posted by cmoj at 3:40 PM on February 9, 2012


Every time I've been to New York, I've eaten the bagels with great pleasure. But as genuinely lovely as they are, they aren't quite up to the standard of Montréal bagels. Anyone ever tried the bagels from this place?
posted by maudlin at 3:41 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


And off we go.
posted by Splunge at 3:42 PM on February 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Very appropriate for National Bagels and Lox Day!
posted by plastic_animals at 3:47 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


NYC bagels are chewy. Montreal Bagels are crispy. They are equally good. Let us reserve our hate for horrid frankenfaux bagels.

Oh low carb lifestyle, you will pry the bagel out of my puffy lifeless fingers.
posted by The Whelk at 3:48 PM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Little known fact... it wasn't until the second Koch administration that Brooklyn lost that vivid red glow.
posted by crunchland at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I love how indestructible that accent is, BTW, it just gets transferred to whatever the new ethnic group in the area is.
posted by The Whelk at 3:56 PM on February 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yes. New York bagels are one thing and Montreal bagels are another thing. It is like trying to compare cake and ice cream. Both are delicious in their own special way.

Anyway, you should all be ordering bialys because they are the best. Oh, wheat allergy, how I hate that you have separated me from my beloved bialy. (Ironically, the best gluten-free bagels are the ones from Montreal that describe themselves as "New York style".)
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:00 PM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's all in the water, baby!
posted by AugustWest at 4:16 PM on February 9, 2012


One of my favorite memories of living in NYC. Stumble out of the bar at 2 a.m. and go across the street for still hot from the oven bagels.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:24 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is WONderful.

There's a great, great bagel place where my folks live in NJ. Every time I go down there I eat them like mad and then take a dozen home. Even after a couple hours they start to taste different.
posted by Miko at 4:45 PM on February 9, 2012


Marty Rosenblatt, at the end, seems to be quite a personality. Anybody have any idea who he is?
posted by Miko at 4:47 PM on February 9, 2012


Anyway, you should all be ordering bialys because they are the best.

Preach it, sister!
posted by KingEdRa at 4:54 PM on February 9, 2012


This must be him. He seemed familiar, probably from all those sitcoms and Annie Hall.
posted by Miko at 4:59 PM on February 9, 2012


I bought some bagels at St. Viateur in Montreal at about 10 PM one evening, packed them up, and took them on a flight home to Calgary the next day. When I ate one at 12 PM (when they were 14 hours old) it was still 10x better than the ones I get at our local fresh Montreal-style bagel place. I blame the difference in humidity.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:01 PM on February 9, 2012


I really think the water in New York makes the difference. New York pizza crusts? Killer!
posted by maudlin at 5:04 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next time someone tells you that YOU DO NOT TOAST bagels. This is why.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:07 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't know Mike Brady was a bagel guy.

ANOTHER secret life.
posted by Madamina at 5:09 PM on February 9, 2012


NYC water is unusually mineral for a large city's water supply, or at least that's what I was told, and this accounts for the gritty/bitey crust of the breadfood made there.

A bit of semolina in the dough helps too.
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The 2:30 mark is indistinguishable from magic.
posted by Scoo at 5:15 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a lot of legend about New York water. There was actually a test. It's not the water. Same for pizza; my brother's a pizzaiolo now and has researched this intensely. There's a combination of knowhow/recipe, flour formulation, old equipment and just doing it right. You're never going to be able to open up a brand new pizza place with brand new equipment and get the same crust you will on an oven that's been seasoning for 50 years.

New York City has great water, but since some of it's from New Jersey and some from the Hudson, it's probably not the water alone - probably not even at all - that makes their most excellent pizza most excellent.

The bagels I get outside NY seem to be just made differently. THey're not chewy, I don't know if they're boiled, and they have a light, bready texture instead of the density they need. The toppings are sprinkled on in this even, manufactured way that is not satisfying, unless in fact the actual dough has weird mix-ins like sundried tomatoes, spinach and asiago, and the like.
posted by Miko at 5:17 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is like trying to compare cake and ice cream. Both are delicious in their own special way.

See, there you go. The problem with your analogy is that cake is horrible. Ugh. Just awful, awful stuff, no matter who makes it.

If I was going to compare any kind of bagel to cake, it would be the dreadful supermarket kind, six to a bag, that taste like wallboard only more dry. Oh my god, so horrible. That's how I feel about cake. And don't get me started on cupcakes. BARF.

They will never approach a New York bagel, but I get by OK with the offerings at Bagel Oasis in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. Especially the pumpernickel. Not mind-blowing, but acceptable, especially considering the alternatives within 2,500 miles or so.
posted by Fnarf at 5:33 PM on February 9, 2012


yeah chewy is the wrong word, they're just ....different.

I know there is an old world yogurt culture used by some place on the LES that has, unlike most cultures, remained largely unchanged for decades due to a combination and quirks of how it was stored and the equipment used, so it has a particular flavor.
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


but yeah, bagels outside Montreal and the NY/NJ area are too bready, more like rolls.
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on February 9, 2012


If you're in LA (and, sadly, bagel wise, I am not now) you want the Bagel Factory: http://www.bagelfactoryinc.com. Corner of Robertson and Cadillac. Don't even get me started on the challah..I would kill someone for the cinnamon one. Also, they gave me a tour once. Awesome!!
posted by atomicstone at 5:50 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice movie. I like the closing line. "Ya hoid it?"
But I gotta say, for all the "hand-rolled" claims of the Brooklyn bakers, the oven is industrial compared to the wood-fired open ovens in Montreal with the long long long wooden bagel paddles.
posted by Jode at 5:52 PM on February 9, 2012


So I've never been to Montreal, can someone describe what Montreal bagels are like as compared to NY bagels?
posted by Miko at 5:53 PM on February 9, 2012


They are thinner and crispier, they still have that bite and grit, but it's more seasoned and crunchy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:13 PM on February 9, 2012


It's almost like you took a NY/NJ bagel and cut out the middle and sewed it back together.
posted by The Whelk at 6:14 PM on February 9, 2012


They're less bombastic, Miko.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:14 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The two most prominent styles of traditional bagel in North America are the Montreal-style bagel and the New York-style bagel. The Montreal bagel contains malt and sugar with no salt; it is boiled in honey-sweetened water before baking in a wood-fired oven; and it is predominantly either of the poppy "black" or sesame "white" seeds variety. The New York bagel contains salt and malt and is boiled in water prior to baking in a standard oven. The resulting New York bagel is puffy with a moist crust, while the Montreal bagel is smaller (though with a larger hole), crunchier, and sweeter." Wiki
posted by crunchland at 6:15 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Fairway sells "flat" bagels that close to Montrealian bagels but lack the sweeter, poppy flavor. I didn't know about the honey-water treatment and salt. Explains a lot.
posted by The Whelk at 6:18 PM on February 9, 2012


..and bialys?
posted by Postroad at 6:23 PM on February 9, 2012


Can anyone give a verdict on Kossar's Bialys?
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 6:39 PM on February 9, 2012


The Whelk, you're forgetting one of the biggest defining characteristics of a Montreal Bagel, which is that they are sweeter, from being boiled in honey-water.
posted by piratebowling at 6:39 PM on February 9, 2012


This was great, thanks for posting!
posted by carter at 6:44 PM on February 9, 2012


I'm all for New York in many things, but Montreal bagels are the best (especially Fairmount). Fortunately, my daughter lives there and comes home to visit with an enormous suitcase stuffed with all-dressed bagels. The freezer is fully occupied for the next several months.

San Francisco bagels are teh sux.
posted by jasper411 at 6:51 PM on February 9, 2012


Now I understand why my girlfriend fixed up some bagels and lox tonight for dinner. I could go for another. I believe I will.
posted by emelenjr at 6:53 PM on February 9, 2012


I think I could become a bageltarian.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:00 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Marty Rosenblatt has more sales appeal than any thirty supermodels.
posted by clarknova at 7:03 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


it looks like the folks who make the most awesome Asiago bagels they will toast for you at Tully's opened up their retail outlet TODAY! http://seattlebagel.com/bakery/bagels
posted by BoZo555 at 7:11 PM on February 9, 2012


I have had Bagel Factory bagels in LA, and they were indeed delicious. I also find the New York Bagel Deli in Santa Monica to be quite wonderful (especially given that it's a 2 minute walk from my apt), and people who have recently returned from NY have also enjoyed it, though I have no personal experience with which to judge so it is possible my bagel enjoyment scale is not properly calibrated.
posted by flaterik at 7:19 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


and it was at NYBD where I was told, from the person selling me the bagels, that I should not be ordering them toasted because they're fresh and hot and delicious the way they are, dammit. (the dammit was implied).

he was correct.
posted by flaterik at 7:25 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is the best movie I have EVER seen about making bagels in Brooklyn in the 1970s.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:37 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mile End in Boerum Hill has allegedly authentic Montreal bagels, for anyone in New York looking to give them a taste. (I wasn't blown away, but, again, can't speak to how authentic the experience is.)
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:40 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


God save the salt bagel. It is a disappearing species.
posted by spitbull at 7:45 PM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Eating the salt bagel is one particular level of indulgence.

Licking your finger and pressing it to the bottom of the brown paper bag to pick up more salt crystals and then eating them is yet another level of indulgence.

I HAVE GONE THERE.
posted by Miko at 8:17 PM on February 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Every year, my father sends me a side of cold-smoked salmon for Christmas. I make bagels the night before and put them in the fridge for the retard/rise, and then boil & bake them up on Christmas morning. We enjoy hot fresh bagels -- the recipe makes 8, and I do 2 plain, 5 onion, and one salt for me -- with lox and cream cheese and capers and thinly sliced red onion before we open our presents. They're the best bagels I've ever had outside of NYC.
posted by KathrynT at 8:19 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Miko, Ross Martin (born Martin Rosenblatt), who played Artemus Gordon in The Wild Wild West (the awesome tv show, not the fucking travesty that was the movie), is most emphatically not the Marty Rosenblatt in that film.

Good gravy.
posted by tzikeh at 8:42 PM on February 9, 2012


Well, same name, both actors. I haven't seen Annie Hall in a while but that seems like it might be him.
posted by Miko at 8:45 PM on February 9, 2012


Oh, actually, same person. I mean, what makes you so sure he isn't the same person?
posted by Miko at 8:46 PM on February 9, 2012


I guess what I'm trying to say is: Ross Martin (b. Martin Rosenblatt) is one guy who's an actor with a career, but Marty Rosenblatt is another, and I think he's the one in the bagel film and in the sitcoms and films I just linked to. If they're separate people it's still an honest mistake, but I think I've identified the guy.
posted by Miko at 8:48 PM on February 9, 2012


KathrynT, you wouldn't care to share your recipe, would you? I've been looking for a new one since I realized the one I was using just wasn't cutting it.
posted by greatgefilte at 9:19 PM on February 9, 2012


It's straight out of the Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook. I make it with about a quarter to a half a cup of straight up vital wheat gluten, plus bread flower. It makes a very crisp, toothsome, chewy bagel.
posted by KathrynT at 9:26 PM on February 9, 2012


No, in Los Angeles, you want Brooklyn Bagel. Half price after 3pm!
posted by Scram at 10:14 PM on February 9, 2012


#2 son's German girlfriend was doing an exchange at San Francisco State last year. They went out with a bunch of his friends for breakfast to some bagel place, and she was enchanted. "These bagels are so good," she said. "We have so much good bread back home in Germany, why don't we have bagels?" The Americans at the table shared some awkward glances with each other before gently explaining why.
posted by squalor at 10:22 PM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


My first bagel ever was at age 32 in Pittsburgh. I did not know what to make of it. By 40, I was living on cream cheese, lox and capers in SF. I never missed a bagel as much as I did in the land of smoked salmon (Finland).
posted by infini at 11:03 PM on February 9, 2012


Scram, I'm of the firm impression than in this city, you're not going to find a "best" of anything; there's just too much good stuff (e.g. there is no best Sushi bar, there are like 12 amazing ones).

So I've gotta try Brooklyn Bagel, too!
posted by flaterik at 11:19 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, in Los Angeles, you want Brooklyn Bagel. Half price after 3pm!

I grew up in LA with a father from New York who was still always searching for the bagel of his childhood. One that would leave your jaw a little achy after eating it. I don't think he ever found it, but he was a frequent customer of Brooklyn Bagels. I have very fond memories of being around 5 or 6 and walking with him (after 3, of course) to Brooklyn Bagels. About 2 out of three times, there was a kindly, older baking lady who would see me, wave and give me a complimentary water bagel. All for me! To eat on the way home! Those bagels were magic, because they were made with love. I was always so disappointed when my friend was not there to greet me.
posted by piratebowling at 4:05 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Mile End bagels are indeed authentic ... they are trucked in every weekend from Montreal. Of course, like anything else, you're better off buying them fresh.
posted by beukeboom at 4:29 AM on February 10, 2012


Jesus, the way he twists those bagels up is amazing. I need to either practice my bageling or move, because the bagel place closest to my house is terrible, and my homemade bagels taste fine, but look terrible.

There are a number of orthodox Jews in my office who all live in predominantly orthodox neighborhoods, and I probably don't need to tell you: they know where to find the best bagel. They're the size of hubcaps, for some reason, but with the most perfect texture and flavor. Everything a bagel aspires to be.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:12 AM on February 10, 2012


My local Tim Hortons (in Montreal) has been trying for years to get the head office to agree to let him sell real bagels alongside the bagel-shaped bread foisted on him, but alas they are steadfast in their refusal. On the plus side, this means that when I do eat real bagels the contrast is that more marked and appreciated.

Down with the faux-bagels!
posted by Vindaloo at 5:16 AM on February 10, 2012


For the love of god!

Much of my dream space last night was occupied by a dream about bagels, wherein I made several dozen and then inexplicably bought six, hot from the oven, for twenty dollars, grumbling about the price. I am not sure if I bought them from myself or what.

I was the bagel maker at a coffee shop in my youth and once entirely forgot I knew how to make them. On a whim I invited a friend over and once the ingredients were assembled, muscle memory took over and it was as if I had been possessed. I watched my body move efficiently and swiftly through the steps of the process, agape and not knowing how it knew what to do.

About the time the bagels were going into and out of the boiling water, my on-hand lack of a large steel mixing bowl to boil the water in (the 20-inch diameter of the water surface meant you could get eight or so in at a time) FINALLY triggered a clear, conscious memory of mixing, kneading, turning, twisting, and baking.

How it is that one can totally forget something that one loves remains a complete mystery.

I don't think I will bake some today - twenty bucks is an outrage - but I might roll out on a bagel quest later on. Seattle is in general sorely lacking in east coast deli food but there are indeed a few decent bagel sources. Thank god.
posted by mwhybark at 6:26 AM on February 10, 2012


I really don't get Montreal bagels being described as crispy. Crackers are crispy. Bacon is crispy. Bagels are chewy. And delicious.

I prefer Montreal bagels to NY ones (lucky as I live here), but it's hard to deny that NY bagels are much more convenient for sandwiches.


"We have so much good bread back home in Germany, why don't we have bagels?"

My parents recently redid their kitchen. The salesperson was trying to get them to buy the high end appliances. "This oven is very good. You should buy a Miele oven. Germany is known for their excellent ovens."
posted by jeather at 7:19 AM on February 10, 2012


New York City has great water, but since some of it's from New Jersey and some from the Hudson, it's probably not the water alone - probably not even at all - that makes their most excellent pizza most excellent.

I was under the impression that most of NYC's water came from reservoirs upstate via the various giant aqueducts.
posted by aught at 8:43 AM on February 10, 2012


You can get Montreal-style bagels in Toronto at The Bagel House, which has a real wood oven at each location. They are pretty damn good and available 24/7, as proper bagels should be.
posted by maudlin at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2012




My favorite bagel and topping is whitefish on a salt bagel. I can't find either here in San Francisco that doesn't taste disappointing at best.
posted by chemoboy at 12:05 PM on February 10, 2012


There are actually many different types of NYC bagels. Some have a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. Some have a more fluffy interior and a kind of shiny exterior that does not have crunch. So to say that the NYC bagel has a specific type of construction is a bit silly. I have four bagel stores that actually make bagels on the premises in walking distance from my house. All four make different bagels. So to compare "NYC" bagels to bagels from anywhere else is also silly. In the larger area that is actually NYC there are five boroughs. In each one there are hundreds of different bagel stores that make bagels their own way.

Then there are stores that get bagels in huge paper bags from bakeries that supply places that don't make their own.

How can you make a comparison of "NYC" bagels to bagels in other areas before you decide who makes the best bagels in NYC?

I'll be in my bagel store. Get back to me when you know better.
posted by Splunge at 1:46 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


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