The One Thing No Real New Yorker Ever Does With a Bagel

If you’re getting a fresh bagel from a bagel shop, don’t make this mistake
Toasting a Bagel


If a bagel is right out of the oven, there's no reason to toast it. 

There are two types of bagels in this world: Real, honest-to-goodness bagels, and round bread. Round bread is what you find in the bread aisle at your local supermarket; real bagels are sold at bagel shops and are usually made on premises. If you’re buying a bagel at a real New York bagel shop, you better not asked for it toasted.

Here’s why: A fresh bagel is prefect as it is. The outside is slightly crunchy and chewy thanks to it being boiled, and the inside is soft and bready, ready for toppings. A fresh bagel doesn’t need to be cooked again; doing so ruins the integrity that the bagel-maker worked so hard to perfect.

The Daily Meal’s former executive editor Arthur Bovino feels very strongly about this, and has penned several articles on the matter. We’ll let him take it from here:

“A good bagel in its perfect form — that is to say, fresh from the oven — does not require toasting. It does not benefit from toasting. Toasting a good bagel is bastardizing a beautiful thing. If you’re toasting a good bagel, you’re toasting something that’s already warm and crusty — that’s redundant. You’re not going to get anything better than peak form — oven-fresh. The outside is already crisp yet pliable. The inside, willing and giving, accepting and forgiving, still able to transform through its residual heat, its breath — your spread, from its natural state into something just slightly different, while keeping its integrity. If you’re taking this level of craftsmanship and toasting it you either have hubris or a lack of experience with quality product.

There is nothing wrong with toasting an average bagel, a day-old bagel. Go ahead, freeze your bagels and then toast them. By all means. But a fresh bagel? … No. And here’s the thing, those bagels, those bagels acceptable for toasting? The frozen ones, the hours-old bagels, the day-olds, the second-time rounders? You keep them. They’re not worth eating if you have to toast. If you’re toasting a bagel worth eating, you’re not just painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa, you're spitting in Da Vinci's face.”

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