Bagels Are No Longer Limited To Brooklyn Or The Br...

Bagels Are No Longer Limited To Brooklyn Or The Bronx

Consumers are quickly becoming familiar with the many varieties of bagels now available. What’s more, they are purchasing them as breakfast, lunch and snack food options.

Editor’s note: An increasing number of bagel bakeries are popping up around Australia, particularly at farmers’ markets. Some independent grocery retailers have even added bagels to their bakery sections, with excellent results. Now, it is up to local bakers to make the most of the burgeoning boiled bread trend. Here, Lu Ann Williams takes a look at just some of the bagel varieties being offered by prominent food brands in the US.

Once the product of union bakers in New York City, the manufacture of bagels was not only labour intensive, but it also required great skill. Young apprentices, usually sons of bakers, studied for months to learn the trade. Then, they would join a team, where two men would mix and roll the dough, while one boiled the bagels and another baked.

However, with the invention of bagel making machines and the introduction of frozen bagels, the boiled bread now enjoys broad, international appeal. As a result, among the bagels’ biggest attributes is its versatility. Possibilities for bagel toppings, as well as the type of bagels themselves, are endless. They can be sweet, savoury, complex or plain.

Sweetening the category:

Muffin giant Thomas’ began as a small New York City bakery. English Muffins is the brand’s cornerstone, but their line of bagels is impressive. Limited Edition Banana Bread Bagel brings a classic, sweet flavour to the bagel aisle. New Limited Edition Apple Pie Bagel plays on the favourite dessert of North Americans. Launched in time for Independence Day celebrations, it is both a vacation and a beach house morning staple for many consumers. Smaller sized Mini Bagels are about 150 calories per serving and, unique to this line is Mini Pretz-a-bagels and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Mini Bagels.

The sweet bagels from long running brand Lenders Bagels have a recognisable aroma and sweetness thanks to their licensing agreement with the popular Cinnabon cinnamon roll chain. Using brown sugar, the blend is rich and aromatic. To boost its marketing power, Lenders Bagels also offer a mini category in their line of refrigerated bagels. Little Lender’s, in Plain and Cinnabon Cinnamon Swirl, have just 70 calories each.

Meanwhile, Crystal Farms’ Chocolate Chip Bagel boasts baked-in chocolate morsels. According to the brand, the combination of chocolate and chewy, boiled bread, is, “your dream come true”.

Savoury additions:

New Tuscan Herb Bagels by Crystal Farms contains popular herbs and spices, sun-dried tomato, garlic and onion. The Everything Bagel is topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion and garlic flakes. The savoury Multigrain Bagels are also the brand’s most nutritious bagel product. In fact, Crystal Farms claims the product is “a wonderful source of fibre,” because it is made with sunflower seeds, millet, flax and cracked wheat.

Convenient breakfast bread:

Crystal Farms has expanded its cheese and dairy business with a line of breakfast breads. Besides English Muffins, it offers an extensive variety of David’s Deli Bagels. Traditional products include plain, sesame, onion, garlic, and honey wheat bagels. Apple cinnamon, blueberry, and cinnamon raisin bagels are more fruitful flavours. The Egg Bagel or new French Toast Bagels are very breakfast appropriate. French Toast incorporates pure maple syrup and vanilla and, according to the brand, is “just like homemade French toast with all the convenience of a bagel.”

Capturing the health conscious market:

Bread maker, Nature’s Own, cuts calories with its 100% Whole Wheat Thin-Sliced Bagels. This healthy choice claims half the calories of a regular bagel, 5g of fibre, no artificial colours or flavours and no high fructose corn syrup.

Udi’s Gluten-Free also promotes nutrition and offers to give consumers a boost to get the morning off to the right start. The Everything Inside bagel boosts flavour and texture with the addition of millet seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, onion and garlic. While traditional bagels are made from high protein wheat flour, these gluten-free bagels are made from brown rice flour. Water and tapioca starch are the first two ingredients listed on the ingredient declaration.

The brand’s The Mighty Bagel is also, according to Udi’s Gluten-Free, “filled with healthy ingredients that are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.” Each bagel delivers 8g protein and 3g fibre, along with cranberry, quinoa flour, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to add flavour.

Healthy Grain has come to the refrigerated bagel category with Multi Grain, made with seven grains including flax, oats, wheat and barley. “Lender’s Multi Grain bagels are high in dietary fibre (6g per serving) and an excellent source of protein (11g per serving),” according to the brand’s website. Healthy Grain Oat bagels are made with real rolled oats and contain as much fibre as a bowl of oatmeal (4g per serving) and are a good source of protein (8g per serving).

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