Aside from using scratch recipes and individually hand toping our bagels, what sets us apart from the rest is that we kettle boil all of our bagels before they go into the oven. While it may sound strange to drop a ring of dough into a kettle of boiling water, this gives the crisp, outer shell that is essential to a bagel. This traditional method also helps seal the moisture in the dough, giving the inside of the bagel a chewy, dense pull-a-part texture.
Kettle Boiling vs Steam Ovens
We take pride in honest and genuine techniques. Taking shortcuts is not in the equation for us. In recent years, a variant of bagel making has emerged, producing what is sometimes called the steam-bagel. To make a steam-bagel, the process of boiling is skipped all together, and the bagels are instead baked in an oven equipped with a steam injection system.
In commercial bagel production, this shortcut requires less labor, since bagels need only be directly handled once, at the shaping stage. Thereafter, the bagels need never be removed from their pans as they are refrigerated and then steam-baked.
Warning: The steam-bagel is not considered to be a genuine bagel by purists, as it results in a fluffier, less chewy product more akin to a finger roll that happens to be shaped like a bagel. So if you ask us, kettle boiling is what makes a bagel a bagel – anything else is just a disk of bread!
The History of the Bagel
The year was 1958. The bagel had largely been a speciality food item, until Daniel Thompson invented the ‘Thompson Bagel Machine’ and the bagel industry was forever changed. According to legend, Murray Lender of Lender’s Bagels leased the first Thompson bagel machine, and soon thereafter, more bagel bakeries across America followed suit. And today, the Thompson bagel machine is the gold standard for bagels.