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Bagels Are The Only Bread That is Boiled Before Baking

bagel day

They are a solid favorite of breakfast in the Western World, especially the UK, America, and Canada. Round and dense and best served with a rich luxuriant topping of cream cheese, the bagel found its origins among the Jewish population of the 1600’s. From there it has become incredibly popular and spread throughout the world, and even into outer space! Have a Bagel Day encourages you to enjoy this delicious doughy delight in your favorite configuration, and remember the long history of this bread and the people that made it famous.

[Note: The origin of the bagel is a mystery. Below you will see various origins]

As mentioned earlier, the bagel found its origins in the Jewish population of Europe sometime in the 1600’s, but the specifics of its origin remain subject to hot dispute. Some origin stories have it coming out of Krakow, Poland where it was said to be given to women who were going through childbirth. This may be the first historical record of this dense ring of delight, but it is likely that it existed for some time before that.

Other tales point to a baker from Vienna developing it to celebrate the defeat of the Turks by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland in 1683, its shape supposedly meant to be reminiscent of a stirrup. The stirrup, known as buegel, was selected due to the folklore saying that the freed people of Austria reached out to grasp the stirrup of King Sobieski as he rode by. What is known is that the bajgiel (an earlier spelling of bagel) would become a central part of the Polish and Slavic diets by the 17th century, and by the 19th it would be found being sold in London on long wooden dowels.

In the 19th century, it found its way to the Big Apple by way of the Polish Jewish immigrants and was quickly brought under the control of the Bagel Bakers Local 338, a bakers union that held all of the local bagel bakeries under its sway. It eventually began spreading throughout the US in the years following 1975 thanks to the automation of production that became possible.

  • The bagel originated in Poland and it was designed for Lent.
  • Bagels were first created in 1683 to honor King John III Sobieski1 of Poland, after he protected Austria’s people from an attack by Turkish invaders.
  • Its name derives from the Yiddish word ‘bengal’, meaning ‘ring’ or ‘bracelet’.
  • Immigrant Polish-Jews brought the bagel to the United States.
  • The hole in the center of the bagel is for multiple bagels to be threaded onto a dowel, which allows bakers to transport the bagel more easily.
  • 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.
  • Prepackaged bagels first became available in grocery stores in the 1950’s.  Frozen bagels were introduced in 1960.
  • Automated production and distribution of frozen bagels started in the 1960s with bagel baker Harry Lender, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender.
  • 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.


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