Biting into the crispy, warm bagel bursting with flavor and the right amount of chewiness is indeed total bliss. No matter what type of bagel you prefer – plain, multigrain, or muesli, no matter what flavor you prefer – sweet or salty; bagels taste best when they are fresh.
Of course, you would buy more than one bagel at a time. Unfortunately, that crispiness of a perfectly- toasted bagel doesn’t last long. It starts getting stale and loses its appeal. The good news is that the flavor and freshness of bagels can last longer with proper storage.
Storing bagels in a pantry or freezing them are the best ways to preserve the same freshness and taste as the day you got them. Many people make the mistake of refrigerating bagels in hopes of keeping them longer, but refrigerating them actually dries them out. The taste doesn’t stay the same and they get stale faster.
Read on to find out how you can store your favorite baked goods to preserve their taste and freshness.
Short-Term Storage in the Pantry
While bagels taste the best when fresh, you can’t bake them or buy them every day, can you? Naturally, you would ensure you have a good supply to last you at least a few days. If you and your family love your bagels, then you would need to store them for a short-term.
While refrigerating your bagels would seem like the right thing to do, avoid doing that! To keep the freshness of the bagels a bit longer, it is best to store them in your pantry. Here are some tips for short-term storage of bagels:
- Whether you buy bagels or bake them, start by separating them in two groups. Keep the amount you would need in the next few days and place the rest in the freezer, this method would be discussed in the next section.
- For homemade bagels, wrap them up in paper bags to contain their freshness. Once all the bagels are wrapped in individual paper bags, place them in a zip lock plastic bag. This is an ideal way to prolong the freshness of the bagels. Remember to take the air out of the plastic bag before you seal the bagels in so the moisture is locked out.
- For store-bought bagels, start by checking the bags for tears or holes. Most of the stores hand out baked goods in thin or flimsy plastic bags. If the bag is in good condition, you can easily store the bagels in the same bag for about a week. Make sure excess air is squeezed out of the bag before sealing. In case of tears in the bag, place the bagels in a zip lock plastic bag and remove the excess air before sealing it up.
A few things to remember:
- Homemade, freshly-baked bagels can easily be stored in your pantry for five to six days. However, they will start getting stale after two to three days.
- Store-bought bagels can be stored in the pantry for about a week.
- You can also store bagels in your refrigerator if you don’t have a pantry or there is lack of space, but they will stale faster.
Now you can easily store your bagels in your pantry while ensuring their freshness and taste last longer. Make sure you properly wrap them up to avoid moisture sneaking in and ruining your bagels.
You have learned how to properly store your bagels for short-term storage. Now, how do you warm them up to regain their original freshness? Whether you stored them in the pantry or in your fridge, you can easily enjoy warm, tasty bagels whenever you want.
While refrigerating bagels is not recommended, you can still warm 2 to 3 days old refrigerated bagels nicely. Here is what you should do:
- Start by preheating the oven for a few minutes by setting it at 350 °F (177 °C).
- Spray a bit of water on the surface of the bagel and place them on the center rack of the over
- Keep checking the bagel after a few minutes to get it toasted to your preference.
- For crispier bagels, keep them in the oven for 5 more minutes or longer.
- Remember to spray water as it would help in reviving the bagel before it gets into the oven. This will make it less stale and hard and enhance its freshness.
- If you don’t want to place the bagels directly on the rack, place them on a baking sheet but don’t add in any oil!
- Toaster can also be used but refrigerated bagels can be warmed up best in an oven.
The bagels stored in a pantry can be warmed up even nicer than the refrigerated ones. You can utilize the same method of baking them in the oven as the refrigerated ones. You can also directly place them in the toaster before slicing them in half.
Another way of warming up pantry-stored bagels is to microwave them. However, this method is not recommended and should be used only if there isn’t any toaster and oven available or when you are running late. Here is why:
- Microwaving bagels contributes in altering their texture.
- The bagels won’t taste as fresh and delicious as they would when baking or toasting them.
If you have no other alternative then ensure you microwave your bagels on medium settings and for only 30 seconds. If they are heated longer than that, you would lose their crispiness.
Storing Bagels in the Freezer
For long-term storage, freezing bagels is the best way to go. Bagels can be stored in the freezer for as long as 6 months. Here are some useful tips to freeze them the right way:
- Firstly, slice bagels in half before you place them in the freezer. This makes it easier to toast frozen bagels instead of thawing the bagels first before you can cut them in half.
- Wrap up all the bagels in plastic wraps. Make sure you take a large plastic sheet so that the bagels can be completely wrapped. The plastic wrap protects the bagels from getting freezer burns.
- Place all the wrapped bagels and place them in a zip lock freezer bag. The freezer bag adds in an added layer of protection for the bagels, and ensures your freezer stays organized. You wouldn’t want random bagels popping up everywhere in your freezer.
- Before placing the freezer bag in the freezer, mark the bag with the date so you would know when those bagels would expire.
- Make sure you store them in the freezer the day you bake them or buy them. This will ensure the fresh taste of the bagels lasts longer.
A few things to remember:
- Frozen bagels can be stored for up to six months. There are high chances of the bagels developing freezer burns after six months.
- Moreover, they also won’t toast or bake properly and will taste stale and hard.
You can now enjoy your delicious bagels for a longer time. All you have to do is pop them in the freezer and warm them up whenever you feel like having bagels for breakfast!
Defrosting Frozen Bagels
Once all the bagels have been stored in the freezer, how do you enjoy them warm after taking them out? To ensure you restore them to their freshly-baked goodness as they were the day you got them, you would have to defrost or thaw them the right way.
Here are four ways of defrosting bagels:
Number 1: Thawing at Room Temperature
The easiest way of thawing bagels is leaving them overnight. Take out the amount of bagels you want and place them in a tray. Leave them overnight to defrost at room temperature. Make sure they are kept in a dry and cool place.
Number 2: Microwaving Bagels
Transfer the bagels on microwave safe tray, and heat them on high for 30 seconds. This can be done if you haven’t sliced them in half before freezing them. If the bagels have been sliced before freezing and you are not short on time, avoid the microwave.
Number 3: Time for Toasting
Place the sliced bagels in a toaster and toast them till crispy. There are certain toasters that have a bagel setting, while for others you can check the instructions or set the same setting you set for toasting a toast.
Number 4: Slide Them in the Oven
Bagels taste best when properly toasted. If you prefer extra crispiness, you can bake them instead of toasting them. Preheat the oven first and then put the bagels in for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure you leave them to cool for 10 minutes before eating.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Spray bagels with cool water before baking or toasting them to give them an extra crispy layer.
- Place a piece of wax paper to between the sliced bagels before wrapping them up in the plastic wrap. This will save time when you quickly want to pop them in the toaster right from the freezer.
- Make sure you separately toast bagels of different varieties so that you can avoid mixing up the flavors.
- Invest in a bagel cutter or slicer for swift and easier slicing of bagels.
Now, all you have to do is decide on the filling for your perfectly-toasted bagel! Spread on cream cheese on the bagel, top it with fruits or make it savory adding in bacon, eggs and veggies! Grab your mug of coffee and enjoy the delicious goodness of your bagel!