Californians do not know how to make bagels. It’s strictly a New York talent. Unless you’re a transplanted New York bagel baker in California, you will never know what a real bagel tastes like.
It’s all in the method. You must boil the dough first. It’s what gives the bagel its shiny, chewy exterior. Steaming them won’t do it, neither will brushing the tops with egg wash.
Bagels in California omit the boiling method so you end up with bready bagels that taste more like unsweetened donuts than genuine bagels.
Speaking of which, bakeries are now fond of producing chocolate chip, cranberry and walnut, and other sweetened varieties of bagels for the undiscerning public. That’s unheard of in the real bagel world. It’s garlic, onion, poppy-seed, and pumpernickel in the genuine bagel environment.
I’ve noticed that most food stores are now making their own bagels. Don’t even. They’re terrible. So are the kind in those big warehouse food stores. Don’t waste your money.
I even tried importing a dozen bagels from my favorite New York shop except I couldn’t bring myself to pay $50 for the indulgence. It was the shipping costs that killed me.
I’m still on the lookout for a Jewish baker who is quietly boiling his bagels and doing all the right things to bring pleasure to his customers. I haven’t found him yet, but I know he exists somewhere in this vast state of mine.
Calvin says, “You’re dreaming. It’s like me hoping for brisket in my food dish.”