This morning I ate a bagel that was so plump and swollen that it didn’t even have a discernible hole. It was more like a crack or an opening. I’m not trying to be gross. I’m actually appalled. Since the bagel is a quintessentially Jewish thing – bagel comes from the Yiddish beygl, which means “ring, bracelet – I can say that what they have in Israel, the bageleh, or in Russia/Belarus/Ukraine, the bublik , are probably way closer to the original than our familiar dough balls. They have big holes in the middle, a nice, hard outer crust, and are soft and chewy inside.
Recently, the closing of H&H bagels inspired a brief tirade in NYMag on the same topic – the traditionalist’s versus the revisionist’s predilection for the contemporary bagel. What we have now, according to the article, while still well kneaded and boiled before being baked, contains excessive corn syrup rather than a bit of malt syrup and is not, therefore, the old school bagel worth lamenting with the end of H&H.
I’m not interested in joining the Big Bagel Debate. I just want to see the hole back.