These days, bagels can be found almost anywhere. But where and when was the bagel first created?

Bagels were first seen in the Jewish communities of Poland in the 16th and 17th centuries. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the first mention of the bagel was in 1610, in the Jewish community within Krakow, Poland. Today, bagels are commonplace throughout North America, in bagel shops, bakeries, and supermarkets throughout the country. While boiling followed by baking is still the traditional cooking choice for bagels, a modern steam bagel baking process is gaining popularity.

Traditionally, formed into the shape of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, bagels are boiled in water for a short time, and then baked. Bagels are usually hand-sized. The hole-in-the middle design is not an accident. Centuries ago, this shape was practical for transporting many bagels at a time, by threading a string through them.

bagels & loxToday, bagels are topped with various toppings, including sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onions, garlic or salt, or the famous “everything bagel,” which as the name implies includes everything. For those with a sweet tooth, many bagel shops and bakeries now offer chocolate chip, blueberry or cinnamon raisin bagels. And don’t forget those “trendy” bagels that come and go, like the Tie Dye, French Toast and Sundried Tomato bagels.

While the traditional choice of bagel topping is cream cheese, or cream cheese and lox, there are many ways people enjoy bagels. Add some melted mozzarella cheese and a touch of tomato sauce, and you can easily have the perfect “pizza bagel.” Or why limit yourself to your favorite sandwich to being created on two slices of bread? A toasted bagel can be filled with turkey slices, lettuce and tomato, or with a scoop of delicious tuna, egg or chicken salad. The choices are unlimited. And with all of the options out there, the bagel isn’t only breakfast anymore. With the right topping, bagels can make the perfect lunch or dinner meal, too.


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