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.


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