Saturday, August 23, 2014

A true Jewish Bakery

One would think if any place is going to have a great bagel, its got to be a traditional, authentic Jewish Bakery.  So, I decided to make my first official destination [on my mission to find the best bagels in Philly] to Kaplan's Bakery in Northern Liberties.

A couple of notes on the bakery:
1- It is certainly unpretentious for being located in Northern Liberties.
2- They had a large range of baked goods to choose from besides their breads and bagels.
3- Their prices were pretty reasonable.

It doesn't seem like they have a website, but here is the link to their facebook page: Kaplan's New Model Bakery.

Back to the bagels; they were not really displayed so you couldn't see the different flavors or really them at all.  They were in plastic bags tied with twist ties in the case behind the counter.  So, it was sort of hard to tell how fresh they were.  Well, I decided to go for a poppy seed.  I take it to-go of course since this is a true bakery.

Here is how I would rate it, using my 1 - 5 poppy seed rating:

The Look - { 5 } It definitely had a deep honey color and beautiful sheen.  From my first look I could tell that it was a boiled bagel.

The Crust -  { 2 } Although it looked like it would have had a nice crunch, the crust was lacking the crisp I expected.  From personal experience with baking my own bagels, if they weren't kept in a plastic bag, it may have had a better crust.  Also, the fresher the better, I'm not quite sure if they were baked that day.

Inside Texture and Taste - { 3 } The inside was not too doughy, if anything a little on the dry side.  It did have nice crumb and the taste had a pleasant hint of salt.  However, this fell a little short on overall texture.  Again, it may have been best right out of the oven.

I made an egg and cheese sandwich with my poppy seed bagel.  In short, I would rate this bagel a 3.3 = above average.  So, the bagels were not "Out of this World", but they beat most grocery or convenience stores'.  And, if you're in the area and in the mood for a sweet treat, it would be worth the stop at Kaplan's.  I did pick up a yummy almond pastry, which was delicious.

Till next time...


Friday, August 15, 2014

So, where to begin?

I've come up with 3 main points of criteria for a great bagel, which you can find by clicking on the page entitled Criteria & Rating Scale.  I am working on my rating scale.
So, once I have that down, I will be off to my first location to let you all know what I find.
Here are a list of a few places I intend on going to over the next couple of weeks:
  • South Street Philly Bagels
  • Spread Bagelry
  • Kermit's Bakery 
Check back with my first official critic of what Philadelphia has to offer in bagels.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How's that for timing...

I was having a few guests over for lunch today and went to check (which I tend to often do) for some inspiration on what to make... and what do I find...
today's post entitled "Because Life Is Just Better with Bagels".  It had two interesting stories attached; one about a bagel institute in Detroit "Motor City Moments"  and another on a New York original "The Story of Russ and Daughters".

I then speak with my husband on my way home from work several hours later and he tells me about the newest Zagat must try list featuring, wouldn't you know, bagels.  Here is the link if you would like to read their list on the 5 New Places to Get Bagels.  I incidentally read about two of them just yesterday on  The only criticism I would have to say about this list is that two of the places are not even open yet, including Chestnut Street Philly Bagels [which will essentially be the same bagels that you'll find at their South Street location].  Never the less, I will be sure to check out the suggestions and post what I think.

Till then...  take care,


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Defines a Great Bagel?

It occurred to me that in order to discover great bagels in Philadelphia and/or produce a great bagel.  As with any experiment, I must first define what in-fact makes a bagel great.  Believing that there is an art to baking, I found this article from the Artisan Bakers website that defines what the difference is between hand-made and a true artisan bread.  According to this source the fermentation is really important in determining the taste of the end product.

Here are the basic qualities to look for:

1- Love at first sight- A true NY style bagel will have a rich, medium-brown glow.  A nice sheen or shiny crust, not a pale dull surface.

2- Tough-skinned- The crust should always be firm and crunchy.  Of course, the best way to get this is when they are fresh out of the oven.

3- What's on the inside is what really matters- Look for a chewy center, not too dry and not too doughy.  When you bite into a bagel the inside should be a dense crumb.  And you should taste a hint of salt, not sugar.

I will be testing the bagels I find throughout the city, as well as, near-by areas to see how close they meet the above criteria.

Check back often to hear about what I find.