No breakfast spread is complete without bagels. Whether you buy from the grocery store or a bakery, a toasted, warm bagel can help you begin your day with a full stomach. Their familiar shape is actually an intentional design, from hundreds of years ago, to cook and bake evenly. The shape also made them easy to string together for transport and sales.
It is thought that bagels originated in the Jewish towns of Poland. The exact origin is difficult to pin down, however it is known that bagels were commonly eaten in the 17th century in eastern Europe. It is thought that as Polish Jews travelled into Europe and the United States, they brought bagels and the tradition of making bagels with them.
They were originally made from yeasty wheat dough, and boiled in water before baking. This created a crisp shell and thick, chewy centre. Topping included salt, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds. Today, it is common to see many available flavours (either baked with the bagel or added on top) like blueberry, cheese, cinnamon, and hearty multigrain.
The specialness of a bagel lies in its cooking process. Traditionally, wheat flour, salt, water, yeast leavening, and some sort of sweetener combine to form the dough. Flours with a higher amount of gluten give bagels their chewy texture. The dough is mixed, kneaded, and shaped into the characteristic ring. They’re proofed at a low temperature for twelve hours or longer. After that, bagels are boiled in a water bath of that consists of water and an additive like baking soda or lye. Finally, they’re baked in an oven. A new process of bagel-making involves eschewing the boiling process and instead, they’re baked in a special oven that injects steam into the baking chamber.
Bagels are broadly popular in the United States, United Kingdom, and around the world. They are commonly eaten with a healthy spread of cream cheese or with the ingredients of a proper sandwich. Here, it is imperative to slice bagels cleanly to produce two halves. Restaurants and commercial entities may benefit from using a commercial capacity slicer to quickly slice multiple bagels quickly. This type of slicer is best for places that serve a lot of bagels to justify the significant cost of these high-capacity slicers, usually several thousand pounds. For home use, there are multiple types of slicers. The guillotine slicer requires you to push down a flat, wide blade onto the sideways positioned bagel. Other slicers resemble saws or two half “cups” with a channel in the middle to allow a knife to pass through. Another popular model includes a blade surrounded by a plastic rim and an attached handle. Its shape is suitable for more than just bagels, and can properly cut soft and hard breads, rolls, biscuits, English muffins, and buns. Electric bagel slicers usually replicate the action of a saw moving back and forth through the bagel.
Cutting bagels, without any protection, can cause injury. The reason for this is because the bagel is not completely stable at the angle necessary to cut, so it can easily slip. Combine that with a large serrated blade (the best type of knife to use for breads and bagels) and the required force needed to cut through the bagel’s dense shell, it is quite possible to get hurt doing such a small kitchen task. Fortunately, bagel slicers represent safer ways to cut through bagels. The low cost and myriad of designs that are available suggest that you’d be readily able to find one that fits your particular needs and comfort level.