Bagel is a yeast raised doughnut which is shaped to look like a ring. This toroidal bread roll is boiled for some time before baking that’s why its interior appears more chewy, dense and doughy than other doughnuts. After baking the doughnut is decorated with sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
The earlier name of bagel was “beugal”, which was an Anglicization of Bügel which meant bow, or bale. The etymologists say that Bügel may refer to the earlier shape of these doughnuts which were not perfectly circular but largely stirrup shaped. The Austrian German and Yiddish call their bread rolls as beugal. Beuge is the word used to refer pile in some southern German dialects. The bagel is a transliteration of Yiddish word beygl which in turn was inspired by German word 'böugel' or ring. The Webster’s New World College Dictionary says that German word beugal was inspired from Austrain German word 'beugel’ which referred to a croissant which was similar to the German 'bügel'.
Some food experts call it the Jewish yeast roll because these doughnuts are mostly consumed by the Jews during Sabbath. The Jews vouch go for these chewy doughnuts because it does not interfere with the work rule of Sabbath. The basic bagel recipe calls for the use of yeasted wheat flour but today one can choose various types of bagels, which are prepared using different types of dough’s. The shapes of these doughnuts have consistently varied since last many years but the ring design or to say the roll-with-a hole design has remained popular since last hundred years. For easy storage and transportation the bagels are tied together with the help of a string that is drawn through their holes.
History of Bagel
It is commonly believed that bagel was first prepared by a Vienna based baker in 1683 to honor Polish King Jan Sobieski over his victory on Ottoman Turks. The king nursed the hobby of horseback riding, so the baker honored the king by shaping the bagels like stirrups. But the food historians suggest that bagel was invented in Kraków, Poland much earlier than 1683. It was developed as a feisty competitor of bulbik, which is a lean bread of wheat flour. During the 16th and 17 centuries bajgiel became a staple of the Polish National diet. Many orthodox Jews used bagels on Saturday evenings to conclude their Sabbath. These bagels were usually cooked after Sabbath.
The now popular bagel recipe was introduced to United States by Immigrant Jews who came to New York for business. The bagel business in New York was controlled by Bagel Bakers Local 338, who joined hands with all bagel bakeries around New York and utilized their labor skills. The bagels became more popular in US towards the last quarter of 20th century.
In 2008 bagels were taken to space for the first time by Canadian-born astronaut Gregory Chamitoff and his shipment consisted of 18 sesame seed bagels.
Bagel Recipe- Commonly Suggested Ingredients
The traditional bagel recipe calls for the usage of wheat flour (bran or germ), water, salt and yeast. Normally bread flour is preferred for preparing the bagel because it helps to retain the firmness, and sponginess of the doughnuts. Most bagel recipes call for the addition of sweetener to the dough, other than that honey, butter; sugar and milk are also preferred as per ones taste preference. Normally the sourdough or yeast is used as the leavening agent.
Popular Method of Preparation of Bagel
Normally bagel is prepared by mixing and kneading the ingredients, shaping and proofing the dough. Each of these shaped doughnuts is boiled in the water and is baked between 175 °C and 315 °C.
Nowadays most of the bakeries employ the steam method for bagel preparation and the resultant bagel is called steam bagels. In steaming method - the boiling process is skipped and the doughnuts, which are baked in oven, are fitted with steam injection system. Today the steam production method of bagel is preferred over the traditional production method because it requires less labor and is less clumsy. But some food experts argue that the steam bagels are not the real bagels because they are fluffy and less chewy than their traditional counterparts.
Popular Bagel Recipes
• Hawaiian Bagel: This simple Hawaiian bagel recipe calls for the use of fruits such as pineapple, and coconut extract along with regular ingredients, and malt powder. Wheat gluten can be used for enhanced appearance and taste.
• Real Honest Jewish Purist's Bagel: These delicious bagels are served after a generous sprinkling of caraway seeds, sea salt and stuffed with homemade wild garlic cream cheese.
• Passover Bagel: The Passover bagel recipe differs from the regular bagel. Matzo meal and Passover cake flour is combined with the regular ingredients while preparing these bagels.
• Water Bagel: As the name suggests this popular bagel recipe calls for the use of warm water with flour and granulated sweetener.
• Crazay Bagels: This bagel recipe is kid – friendly because it suggests the usage of low fat ingredients.