When was the last time you bit into a fresh, piping hot bagel with rich cream-cheese oozing out with every bite?
Bagels are one of the most popular breakfast foods consumed by millions every day, around the world. With something so popular, it doesn’t come as a surprise that bagels have a devoted following who know everything related to this common breakfast food.
Bagel fans have some pretty strong feelings about this ‘ring of kneaded bread’ when it comes to how one must eat it. To toast it or not, slather on cream cheese on not, to scoop or not to scoop—bagels obviously require some very important decision-making skills. With so many questions regarding bagels out there we will try to answer them all by discovering the wonderful world of bagels.
Table of Contents
- Bagels or Bread?
- A Rich History
- Types of Bagels
Bagels or Bread?
According to typically held beliefs, bagels are simply rounds of kneaded bread. This concept, or should we rather say ‘misconception’ has stirred up quite a debate over what a bagel really is.
Bagels are simply round pieces of bread that consist of some simple dough ingredients like flour, water, salt, yeast, malt, and sometimes, eggs. The process of making a bagel is quite unique which involves first boiling the dough then baking it till you achieve a rich, golden caramel color. A key characteristic of bagels is their ability to produce a subtle, crackling sound when you take the first bite.
Sure, bagels are made from dough similar to the one used in bread, but they are actually so much more than ‘just bread’. There is always a unique and fascinating story behind every food and bagels have one, too.
A Rich History
Bagels are believed to have originated from Central Europe. However, the earliest mention of bagels was in the statutes of the Jewish community that was residing in Poland in 1610. According to the statutes, it is permissible to gift bagels to a woman giving birth, a midwife, and to all the other women present in the two scenarios.
Other historical evidence suggests that bagels originated from Vienna, Austria in 1683 during the time of the Battle of Vienna. Apparently, an Austrian baker created them to celebrate the Austrians’ victory over the Turks. Considering that notion, the good old bagel represents the ultimate cavalry charge that was head by King John III Sobieski of Poland.
The term ‘bagel’ comes from the Polish word ‘bajgiel’ that was initially derived from the Yiddish word ‘baygel’. Different variants of this word were used to refer to a type of sweet-filled pastry. Another similar etymology suggests that the word bagel came from the Yiddish word ‘beygl’ which was further taken from the German word ‘bougel’, which means ‘ring.’
Bagels became significantly popular in North America somewhere during the 20th century. After some time, the “bagel brunch” started to become quite a trend in New York City which basically featured a bagel that was topped with red onions, lox cream cheese, tomatoes, and capers.
Types of Bagels
What started with a simple, plain bagel has now transformed into a plethora of bagels with endless flavors and varieties. Much to your surprise, there is a bagel for different times of the day and according to different flavor cravings.
Whether you prefer the ‘original’ bagel with a dollop of cream or you like yours loaded with chocolates and raisins, you will find them all below.
Here is a list of the most popular and commonly consumed bagels that will surely tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for one.
The name couldn’t have been apter because, in all honesty, everything bagels are actually full of ‘everything’ that comes from all the great bagels that exist in the world. The notion behind these amazing bagels is simple- if you can’t decide what bagel flavor to pick, considering how many there are, why not get a little bit of everything, right?
Everything bagels are believed to be the trendiest bagels after the plain ones, simply because they seem to have sprung from the world of spices and seeds. They feature the most delectable blend of onions, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and sometimes with a pinch of salt to let you get a taste of everything. Simply said, they promise to satisfy the overriding lust of all the foodie-millennials out there!
Chocolate Chip Bagels
As if chocolate chip cookies and muffins were not enough, how about a stack of rich, chocolate chip bagels? These bagels call out the inner child in you that loves to schmear chocolate on literally everything, to your heart’s content. These decadent bagels are obviously filled with the typically beloved chocolate chips that you get in every bite you take. The correct way to devour them though is by toasting them a little till you see that wonderful, cracked, golden top and bite into that oozing, melted chocolate.
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
These bagels may lack the true versatility that comes from a plain bagel, but it is also the only type of bagel that guarantees a hit of butter and the crispy toasting. Cinnamon raisin bagels are not overly sweet as one would expect them to be, but they do offer a well-balanced and scrumptious blend of raisins and cinnamon. Raisins give them that chewy, stringy texture, and the cinnamon provides a subtle kick of spice that is believed to be a whole level up from the classic savory flavors.
Flavored bagels with a dollop of chocolate or with a caramel crust might sound unbelievably tempting, but sometimes, you really do just need the original, plain bagel. All the other fancy bagels are all great;, however, plain bagels are just pure perfection. The simple but out-of-this-world crusty bagel exterior followed by that soft, chewy center that melts in your mouth as soon as you bite into it is nothing short of delicious.
You can never go wrong with a plain bagel, and contrary to what the name suggests, it is actually way more than just a baked ring of dough. It is your blank canvas that allows you to transform this epitome of simplicity into something different altogether, perhaps with a layer of cream cheese or some salted butter. Simple, but classic.
From the cooking bowl to your mouth in 2 hours, blueberry bagels are a true breakfast treat that is simply going to make your mornings. They are prepared the same way the original, plain bagel is, except for the fact that you add in blueberries when the dough is mixing away in the stand mixer. Soon enough, you will notice your dough turn into a beautiful shade of purple.
There is absolutely no denying the fact that onions actually make everything taste better and even more delicious. Onion bagels are best defined as bold and unforgettable with exotic crunchy texture and a rich, garlic-oniony taste. These bagels are like the Brad Pitt of the flavor world and are respected all across the world.
Onion bagels are best paired with scallion cream cheese, but some may even choose to slather on a thick layer of glistening butter over the bagel’s crunchy top. To get the best gooey oniony bagels, stir in chopped or dehydrated onions before you add the flour to the dough batter. Needless to say, the dough will soon be infused with the classic aroma of onions, and as soon as they are ready to be devoured, your taste buds will thank you, but your breath won’t be too happy!
Salt and bagels aren’t a very popular combination but imagine biting into a salty bagel that is generously stuffed with cool cream cheese that feels like butter in your mouth. Sounds indulgent, doesn’t it?
Although a pinch of salt can solve all your flavor woes and dilemmas, put a little too much on your bagel and all you are going to taste is salt, and that is going to be way too overwhelming. So, to get your salt bagels right, sprinkle a little salt on top, brush off the excess and bite into your hot, oozy salt bagel without thinking twice.
If bread and cheese aren’t the most exotic, scrumptious, and a match-made-in-heaven kind of a combination, we don’t know what else is. It is easily one of the most perfect culinary blends of all time. And that is exactly what Asiago bagels bring to the table.
These bagels provide you with the ultimate mixture of warm fresh bread with layers of rich, salty, and smooth cheese that burst into flavors in the mouth. Asiago bagels, as the name suggests, feature the scrumptious Italian cheese called the Asiago cheese that is made from an Italian cow’s milk. This luscious cheese is only produced in Italy on the Asiago plateau in Italy’s Veneto foothills.
A generous amount of shredded Asiago is typically sprinkled over the bagel once it comes out of the boiling water and is ready to be baked in the oven. As soon as your kitchen fills up with the rich aroma of melted Asiago cheese and you see the bagels turning into a beautiful golden-brown, you know they are ready.
French Toast Bagels
French toast bagels will make you want to have breakfast every single day of the week, even if you are one of those who cannot stand the idea of having anything other than coffee early morning. These bagels are soft, sweet, and worth every single penny. If you really do have to indulge in a sweet breakfast treat, a French toast bagel might as well just be ‘the one’.
The best part about these bagels is that the French toast custard soaks into every inch and corner of the bread so really, there is no room to spare. To get the most of your French toast bagel, soak the bagel bread cut-side down in the glossy French toast mixture and leave it in the refrigerator for a good number of hours.
But that is not it, far from it. Do you know what will take these already-delectable bagels to a whole new level? Whipped cream cheese, because let’s face it; whipped cream cheese makes just everything a whole lot better.
While these bagels would normally cause you the greatest inconvenience, that is, poppy seeds getting stuck in your teeth, they are worth all the trouble. Needless to say, there is no flavor in the world akin to poppy seeds that bring in a rich, out-of-the-world flavor to all your savory treats.
Poppy seeds are best described as nutty while finely granular with an irresistible pleasant fruitiness. For most Americans, bagels and poppy seeds are a combination that goes hand-in-hand. These seeds provide the soft and chewy bagel that brings a crunchy element into the mix, so with every bite of the bagel; you will experience a confusing yet oh-so-satisfying cycle of crunchy and chewy.
Aside from being so flavorful, poppy seeds really are a treat to the eyes, as well. Golden-brown bagels covered with a layer of tiny, blue poppy seeds- just beautiful.
These bagels are usually described as a wonderful amalgamation of two of the most incredible breakfast element found in this world, which is, of course, eggs and bread. Egg bagels have a huge cult following, but most of these followers strongly feel that these bagels are always under-appreciated and are considered under-rated.
Egg bagels are made with the addition of egg yolks in the recipe, which results in an incredibly sweet flavor and soft texture of the bagel. As rich and amazing this bagel is, most people have a love-hate relationship with it. The hate stems from the fact that the texture of egg bagels is far from the quintessential crusty and crunchy exterior of a typical plain, original bagel.
However, those who are true egg bagel lovers will find it absolutely perfect in terms of flavor, texture, consistency, and even color! Since these bagels are a little sweeter than a plain bagel, it is best to pair them with a lox cream cheese spread. This ensures the perfect balance between salty and sweet.
Whole Wheat Bagels
This is the perfect type of bagel for all those die-hard bagel fans who wish to devour these delicious treats but have to hold back due to health and dietary concerns. These people can prevent themselves from the guilt of carbo-loading by indulging in whole-wheat bagels.
Although these bagels are as finger-licking good as are the other types of bagels, they are super healthy and are packed with numerous benefits. As the name suggests, these bagels are made from whole grains instead of the regular refined grains that you would typically find in plain bagels or white bread.
Whole grains constitute a significant part of a well-balanced diet and are also the healthiest kind of grains to consume. They are full of minerals and fibers that give a boost to your body. While the difference in the grains might alter the taste of these bagels but they still taste pretty delicious. For extra flavor, you can always slather on some butter or low-fat cheese.
Pumpernickel is a dark and dense type of German bread that is traditionally made with coarsely ground rye and sourdough starter. In today’s times, you may even see the bread is made with a combination of whole rye berries and rye flour.
This unique and fascinating word stems from an old Bavarian term that translates into “hard” in the English language. This hardness refers to the density of the bread in the end or perhaps, even the process through which the grain is turned into flour.
When consumed as a bagel, expect a very weird yet interesting kind of flavor in your mouth. The pumpernickel bread adds a rich and distinct flavor to your ultimately chewy and soft bagel that is just so delicious.
You can always experiment with these bagels in terms of the fillings and the toppings. However, an excellent rendition of this bagel is the Jewish-style pumpernickel bread recipe that also features some aromatic, chopped onions. And as we have already established, onions make everything taste better and richer.
In most parts of this world, especially Jersey, there is no such thing as too much garlic. Truth be told, garlic is one of those versatile and exotic ingredients that add so much flavor and taste to your food that it’s almost unbelievable.
That garlicky crunch on these bagels that produce a crisp noise as soon as you bite into them is just like music to the ears. If you get the bagels right, it will be similar to eating a delicious breakfast garlic bread.
The best way to infuse the maximum garlicky flavor in these bagels is either by brushing a garlic-olive oil mixture on the top or doing that in addition to infusing a hint of garlic in the form of garlic powder or chopped garlic cloves in the dough batter. Either way, you are going to have a rich, crackling garlic layer on the top that looks too good to be true.
Just like there is no such thing as too much garlic or onion, you can also never have enough of cheese, especially cheddar cheese. Although cheddar bagels apparently look and taste like bread roll with melted cheese on its top and the inside, it actually tastes heavenly. Well, why wouldn’t it, it is cheese and bread after all!
To give that kick to your bagels, add in sliced jalapenos before you mix in the cheese and allow a burst of cheesy, spicy flavors in your mouth!
Sesame seeds are believed to contain this delicate, nutty brilliance that brings life to all savory and sweet foods. The nutty taste comes with an exceptionally distinct crunch that helps turn an ordinary bagel into an extraordinary one.
Sesame bagels are simple, scrumptious, and crunchy with a nice warm flavor that compliments with anything you may put on the bagel.
Are you craving for a bagel right now after reading about so many different types of delicious bagels available out there? We surely are!