The Classic

It is a fantastic morning in Manhattan. This morning is as fresh and cool as the last days have been muggy and oppressive.

I have strolled to a nearby shop for something you just don’t seem to be able to get elsewhere in the USA.

A good bagel.

Bagels I have had elsewhere in the USA seem to have been made – perhaps by Michelin or Uniroyal – from some mixture involving, at one point or another, sawdust.

Behold the classic plain bagel with cream cheese.

I won’t need lunch after this.

I may not need supper or even breakfast tomorrow.

The bagel is made in the premises, of course, and is about the size of a softball.

It is a perfect 10 on the Chewy Scale.  Chewiness is a necessary benchmark of the bagel.

The coffee is flesh removing hot and must cool to be enjoyable.  I like a little darker roast, frankly, and a little stronger, but this isn’t bad coffee.

All in all a strong start to what I hope is a productive day!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tricia says:

    I moved from Long Island to Delaware. You can NOT get a good bagel here! (Folks here think they are good!) Sigh. Father, enjoy your bagel!

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    You think they’re bad in Delaware, try Georgia!

    There are a couple of local small bakeries that try, but . . .

  3. irishgirl says:

    Oooo, that looks good!

    I love bagels-when they’re made right!

  4. pcstokell says:

    Looks like the communion bread at my old parish. YA RLY.

  5. Jacob says:

    Pancakes and bacon is the true breakfast of champions. :)

  6. Tom in NY says:

    The authentic bagel is boiled before its trip to the oven. Any other method is a short cut revealed in the taste.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  7. wanda says:

    That looks very good, Father Z. I’m happy to hear you are feeling better. And now..I switch modes to Mom talk..don’t neglect your health Father. Go get a check up! It’s eeasy! We need you! You keep us sane and lead us along the right path.

    Hope all goes well with your visit in NYC. Stay away from SUV’s with smoke wisping out the windows!

  8. Sedgwick says:

    So how is Zabar’s these days, anyway?

  9. I saw a thread once that disclosed the few bagel places in other cities that boiled the bagels first. I can’t remember what site or where, now, but I seem to recall that Quebec came up as a city of true bagels….

    There seem to have been an awful lot of 18th/19th century foodstuffs that used boiling, which now are produced in other ways. I wonder why that is? Time? Lack of big boiling pans? You’d think the ability to keep temperatures constant would lead to more boiled food, as with Japanese “hot spring eggs” being made at home in people’s rice cookers.

  10. Sacristymaiden says:

    What’s with boiling bagels? Excuse the ignorance, but I always thought they were just baked.

  11. wolfeken says:

    I always come back from Manhattan with at least a dozen bagels.

    H and H Bagels is of course the most popular at Broadway and 80th. But I also like Ess-A-Bagel on 3rd at 51st. Enjoy!

  12. Margaret says:

    @sacristymaiden– boiling is what gives proper bagels their characteristic shiny coating and delectable chewiness. (Pause to wipe the drool off chin.)

    I’m a native New Yorker living on the Left Coast for almost two decades. The really tragic thing is, our local chain of bagelries, Noah’s “New York” (ha!) Bagels actually have the audacity to BOAST that their bagels are steamed not boiled. (Insert hissing disapproval here.) Soft, squishy, not-shiny things. Oddly enough, the closest thing I found to an authentic NY bagel (and I do think they actually boil them) are the cheap, in-house Safeway bagels. $4/dozen. Not quite like my hometown bakery on Long Island, or like any of the good city ones, but the closest to be found out here.

  13. What’s with boiling bagels?

    I believe the boiling step gives the bagel their characteristic shiny exterior and helps create the chewy texture. The hot water reacts with the starch on the outside to give it the coating in the over and the temperature of the water slows or halts the fermentation processes in the dough which affects its texture.

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