National Bagelfest Day is observed annually on July 26th.
This crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle bread is very popular in the USA and Canada. Served with a variety of toppings as well as produced in a variety of flavors, bagel shops are a staple in most communities across the country.
Introduced to the United States by immigrant Polish-Jews, bagels were a thriving business that developed in New York City. Controlled for decades by Bagel Bakers Local 338, the union held contracts with nearly all bagel bakeries in and around the city for its workers. It was founded in 1907 under the name International Bagel Bakers’ Union.
Handmade bagels were the norm until the 1960s when Daniel Thompson invented the bagel maker. The heated debate over man vs. machine, handcrafted bagels vs. manufactured bagels began.
The bagel came into more general use throughout North America in the last quarter of the 20th century, which was due at least partly to the efforts of bagel baker Harry Lender, his son, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender, who pioneered automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s. Murray also invented pre-slicing the bagel.
The day is credited to Murray Lender, owner of Lenders Bagels. In 1986, Murray started the festival in Mattoon, Illinois, home of the world’s largest bagel factory.
- Bagel history dates back to 1783, according to popular belief. They were created to honor King John III Sobieski of Poland, after he protected Austria’s people from an attack by Turkish invaders. Rumor has it a local Austrian baker created the bagel in the shape of a stirrup to honor the renowned horseman, and named it a “beugel” (the Austrian word for stirrup).
- Bagels are the only bread that are boiled before baked. Once the bagel dough is shaped into a circle, they are dipped in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. After that, they are drained and baked for about 10 minutes.
- That little hole in the center isn’t just for looks. Rumor has it the age old “role with the hole” design is rather efficient! The bagel hole comes in handy to thread multiple bagels onto a dowel, making transport easily, especially for street vendors selling the doughy delights.
- Prepackaged bagels first became available in grocery stores in the 1950’s. Frozen bagels were introduced in 1960.
- North Carolina molecular scientist Robert Bohannon developed Buzz Donuts and Buzzed Bagels – caffeinated donuts and bagels in 2007. They contain the caffeine equivalent of 2 cups of coffee.
- Despite the myriad bagel flavors available from blueberry to the “everything” bagel, the most popular choice is plain, followed closely by sesame.
- Bruegger’s owns the title of World’s Largest Bagel; They baked an 868-pound bagel August 27, 2004 at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y. The previous record was set in 1998 at 714 pounds.
1979 Making bagels by hand in Brooklyn, NY