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The bagel originated in 1610 Poland and was designed for Lent.

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.  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.

  • One tale points 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.
  • 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 century it would be found being sold in London on long wooden dowels.
  • The first known mention of the bagel, was in 1610, in the Jewish community ordinances in Krakow, Poland.
  • 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.
  • Maria Balinska, the author of The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread, points out that bagels look a lot like obwarzanek, a Polish bread that dates back to the late 1300s.
  • Bagels are the only bread that is boiled before being baked.
  • That little hole in the center isn’t just for looks. The bagel hole comes in handy to thread multiple bagels onto a dowel, making transport easy, 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.
  • It has to be round to be considered a bagel. The word Bagel comes from the German word “bougel,” meaning “bracelet,” and by way of the Yiddish “beygl” which means “ring.” So, if it is not in the shape of a ring or bracelet, it is NOT a bagel.
  • Astronaut Gregory Chamitoff brought 18 sesame bagels from Fairmount Bagels in Montreal, Canada with him on his journey to space in 2008!
  • What sets Montreal’s bagels apart from others is that they are poached in honey water before baking in a wood-fire burning oven. The result is a chewy, golden bagel that folks in Montreal boast about.
  • Bagel-makers in the early 1900s worked in teams of four. Two people would make the dough, giving bagels their shape; one person boiled them, and the fourth person baked them.
  • In honor of National Bagel Day, in early 2018 Thomas Bagels released an emoji keyboard. Forty breakfast-centric emojis were on it, including an avocado-topped bagel.  Later that year, Apple finally released the bagel emoji on its own platform—but not without controversy. After people complained that the plain bagel had nothing on it, it got redesigned with cream cheese during the iOS 12.1 beta 4 cycle release.
  • Bagels have a close cousin: the bialy.  If you want to switch things up one morning, try ordering one of these doughy delights. Instead of a hole in the middle, a bialy has an indent in its dough that’s usually filled with cooked onions (and sometimes topped with poppy seeds). Also unlike a bagel, a bialy is baked.
  • Daniel Thompson started work on the first commercially viable bagel machine in 1958.  Bagel baker Garry Lender, his son, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender leased Daniel Thompson’s bagel making technology and pioneered automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s.
  • In Japan, the first kosher bagels were brought by BagelK from New York in 1989.
  • There are 3 million bagels exported from the United States annually
  • Thomas’ is the largest producer of grocery store bagels in the United States. In 2014, Thomas’ sold more than 160 million bagels.
  • It would take 2,231 bagels to go once around Grand Central Station Main concourse’s inside perimeter, which is 790 feet.
  • It would take 37,271 bagels to cover the length of Boston’s historic Freedom Trail, 2.5 miles long!
  • The bagel originated in Poland and was designed for Lent.

Sources:

Days of the Year

Mobile-Cuisine

Bagel Bakery Gainesville

Eat This

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