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The Bagel Originated In 1683 Poland And Was Designed For Lent

Toast up your favorite flavor on National Bagel Day. On January 15th, don’t forget to pick your favorite schmear, too. Make it for breakfast, lunch, a snack or all of the above!

  •  Bagels were first created in 1683 to honor King John III Sobieski of Poland after he protected Austria’s people from an attack by Turkish invaders.
  • The bagel originated in Poland and was designed for Lent.
  • The earliest known mention of a boiled-then-baked ring-shaped bread can be found in a 13th-century Arabic cookbook, where they are referred to as ka’ak.
  • Polish-Jewish immigrants introduced the bagel to the United States.
  • It didn’t take long for the bakers to organize. In 1907, they created the International Beigel Bakers’ Union. For decades, Bagel Bakers Local 338 held contracts with nearly all bagel bakeries in and around the city for its workers.
  • Until the 1960s, bakeries made bagels by hand. Then Daniel Thompson invented the bagel maker, and along came a heated debate of man versus the machine.
  • Credit for the bagels spread across the country goes in part to the efforts of bagel baker Harry Lender, his son, Murray Lender and Florence Sender. Their pioneering efforts led to the automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s. Murray also invented pre-slicing the bagel.
  • Its name derives from the Yiddish word ‘bengal’, meaning ‘ring’ or ‘bracelet’.
  • Image: Eastdale Avenue Bagels, Poughkeepsie, NY

    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 is boiled before being baked.
  • Pre-packaged bagels first became available in grocery stores in the 1950s.  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.
  • Astronaut Gregory Chamitoff brought 18 sesame bagels from a bakery 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
  • In August 2004, Bruegger’s Bagels produced a gigantic 868-pound bagel and displayed it at the New York State Fair, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The larger-than-life creation required 11,00 pounds of dough, 900 gallons of water, and took 10 hours to bake. It holds the record for the biggest bagel to date.
  • 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.
  • Image: Eastdale Avenue Bagels, Poughkeepsie, NY

    Linguist Leo Rosten wrote in “The Joys of Yiddish” about the first known mention of the Polish word “bajgiel” derived from the Yiddish word “bagel” in the “Community Regulations” of the city of Krakow in 1610, which stated that the item was given as a gift to women in childbirth.

  • Around 1900, the “bagel brunch” became popular in New York City. The bagel brunch consisted of a bagel topped with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato and red onion.
  • In Japan, the first kosher bagels were brought by BagelK from New York in 1989.
  • Thomas’ is the largest producer of grocery store bagels in the United States. In 2019, Tomas’ sold more than 160 million bagels.
  •  To make Thomas’ popular Limited-Edition Pumpkin Bagels, it takes 133,500 pounds of pumpkin puree.
  • It would take 2,231 bagels to go once around Grand Central Station Main concourse’s inside perimeter, which is 790 feet.
  • The 10 most popular bagel toppings nationwide are cream cheese, butter, flavored cream cheese, cheese, jelly/jam, eggs, deli meat, margarine, peanut butter or other nut butter, and bacon.
  • The average person eats more than 11 bagels per year.


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