Where did bagels come from?
There are a couple theories as to where bagels were first created. In one, these bread products were made for a Polish king by an Austrian baker to celebrate a great victory over the Turks. This is said to have occurred in 1683. Another story places the origination of bagels in Poland around 1610. Regardless of their precise birthplace, bagels were definitely invented hundreds of years ago in, generally, central Europe. From there it can be assumed that this hearty bread product, traditionally made from wheat dough, spread elsewhere.
How did bagels get to the United States?
Bagels came to the United States along with Jewish immigrants in the late 1800s. Although bagels were commonplace long before they reached the shores of North America, it was in the United States that this holey food became really popular. It may have helped matters that cream cheese, a now typical accompaniment to bagels, was invented around this time. Now, grocery stores carry bagels that are manufactured and packaged by machines, making these bread products more accessible for countless households. Additionally, bagels have expanded from plain wheat and sourdough. They are now available in more decadent flavors, like onion and vegetable, and even in pastry flavors, like blueberry and cinnamon raisin.
How are bagels made?
Bagels are not difficult to make, though a bakery will have to work hard to produce large quantities by hand. A plain bagel mix will usually include flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt, and egg. The ingredients are kneaded together to a suitable consistency. The dough is allowed to rise, is formed into appropriate shapes, and is refrigerated for several hours. Following refrigeration, the bagels are boiled in a large vat of water, which may have honey or other flavors in it. After several minutes of boiling, the bagels are placed on a rack and allowed to cool. Finally, these bread products are baked to perfection. This combination of boiling and baking creates a bagel that is moist and chewy, but is also a bit tough on the outside.