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Boiled or baked? A bagel investigationby harry • May 18 2008
The bagel: arguably the most Jewish of foods. So much do Jews associate with bagels that the iconic round victuals have been employed as symbols for religious outreach almost as often as they've been used for anti-Semitic schmear - er, I mean smear.
One would expect the Jewish state to be bountiful with the most hole-y of breads, but alas, most of our Ashkenazi forefathers chose the land of America as their homeland and brought with them the bagel. There were many quiet bagel-less years in Jerusalem, unless you count of course the salty ring of baked dough available at your neighborhood grocery store or the ka'ek (known in Hebrew as a beigele), an oval shaped sweet Arabic bread served with a small packet of za'atar spices.
No bread product was actively marketed as an American bagel until the Jerusalem-based Bonkers Bagel empire came along in 1994, drawing lines of customers that ran around Zion Square and down Yoel Solomon St. But one can argue that the Bonkers wares were not real bagels at all. Any bagel purist will tell you that bagels must be boiled, not steamed like Bonkers did, before baking. But disgust with steamed bagels is not why Bonkers crumbled. Like all great empires, they made some bad decisions and just expanded too quickly, left today with just one branch in the Old City.
Next came Holy Bagel in 1999. Opened by the original owners of Bonkers, Holy Bagel's bagels became the only bagel in town. That is, until Eitan Saati, the co-owner of a bagel store in Albany, NY, opened Bagel Bite in Baka. Soon came Nina's Bagel Cafe and Tal Bagels expanded from Tel Aviv.
Sam Bagel's: Will they sell proper punctuation?
The opening of yet another Jerusalem bagel store has been the impetus for Jerusalemite's first hard hitting piece of online journalism. Believing that a non-boiled bagel is nothing more than circular white bread with a hole in it, Jerusalemite conducted an investigation into Jerusalem's bagel shops and whether they boil their bagels or not.
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