28 May, 2011
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON BAGELS
Old friend Ray Gilbert was so intrigued by our silly little "New York bagel" story (previous post, below) that he could not resist doing a little research on the subject, just for his own edification. He kindly passed his findings along to me.
"The two most prominent styles of traditional bagel in North America are the Montreal-style bagel and the New York-style bagel. The Montreal bagel contains malt and sugar with no salt; it is boiled in honey sweetened water before baking in a wood-fired oven; and it is predominantly either of the poppy "black" or sesame "white" seeds variety. The New York bagel contains salt and malt and is boiled in water prior to baking in a standard oven. The resulting New York bagel is puffy with a moist crust, while the Montreal bagel is smaller (though with a larger hole), crunchier, and sweeter. Poppy seeds are sometimes called by their Yiddish name, spelled either mun or mon (written מאָן) which is very similar to the German word for poppy, Mohn, as used in Mohnbrötchen. The traditional London bagel (or beigel as it is spelled) is harder and has a coarser texture with air bubbles."
In thanking Ray for the interesting information I suggested that I hesitate to inform Rosanne that it is not "where" bagels are made that gives them their name, but "how" they are made. Perhaps I will wait for an opportunity to tactfully work it into conversation. God help me, she doesn't even know that I wrote about it. For now, the rest of us will know the real story however.