Photo by Ryan Stiner
I could go on about bagels at length if only because I grew up on them -- bagel eating was almost a daily routine for me. But the truth is that, although I'm personally passionate about them, this post actually isn't all that personal.
Bagels seem simple enough when you start. In the New York Times a few years ago, Ed Levine wrote, quite factually and descriptively:
A bagel is a round bread made of simple, elegant ingredients: high-gluten flour, salt, water, yeast and malt. Its dough is boiled, then baked, and the result should be a rich caramel color; it should not be pale and blond. A bagel should weigh four ounces or less and should make a slight cracking sound when you bite into it instead of a whoosh. A bagel should be eaten warm and, ideally, should be no more than four or five hours old when consumed. All else is not a bagel.
While a bagel is accurately "a round bread" with a hole in the middle, it's really so, so much more than that. The way we see it around here is that it's always the story behind the food -- not just the bit that we hold in our hands or put in our mouths -- that makes it so much more than just something to eat. Otherwise, why not just go for some of those pills that they used to "eat" on The Jetsons instead of sitting down to enjoy equally nutritious "slow" meals that have actually been cooked?
Bagels, it turns out, are very much a bread thread that pulls through hard times, dreams, visions, organizational development, good luck, and good food.
It Begins with a Dream
Our dream to make bagels wasn't really about doing something sensationally "innovative" in the way that the word is usually used -- this wasn't about inventing the iPod or coming up with the theory of relativity. It was really kind of simple. We wanted to look back in time to the bagel's origin so we could bake a really good, hand-shaped, crusty, chewy bagel we would feel good about making, that would be as close as possible to what was being baked hundreds of years ago.