Forgive me if this is common knowledge, but when I first found out I was like, “Whaaaaaat?!” Okay…ready?
What!! Again if you knew this, my bad, but I’ve never linked baked goods or bread with boiling in my mind. Wouldn’t that just make it weird and soggy and fall apart? Turns out not.
Being in New York City has given me plenty of time to experience all kinds of bagels and finally learn how they’re made. First you mix the ingredients and form the dough, then you shape the bagel from a long thin piece, proof the dough, boil the bagel, and then bake it. This (counterintuitive) process is actually what gives the bagel the signature a crispy crust and chewiness. According to The Kitchn, when bagels are being boiled, the water doesn’t get far into them because the exterior “gels and makes a barrier,” which means that a crust has set, which is why bagels don’t rise as much, which is what leaves them dense and chewy. The rule goes that the longer you boil, the thicker and chewier the bagels will be. The more you know!
And boy do I love that chewy denseness slathered with creamy cream cheese. I just had to introduce my friend from Texas to a New York bagel, so we stopped by Pick A Bagel in the Upper East Side on the way to Central Park. My friend admitted to me that she wasn’t really into bagels or bready things, but she was really into cream cheese, so I kind of had to force her a little bit to get one…you’re only in New York once!!
Unfortunately, Pick A Bagel is not one of the bagel places that serves up super hefty amounts of cream cheese in a bagel sandwich, so we missed the mark on that one. I mean, sure, it is there in plentiful amounts, especially compared to the ratio of cream cheese to bagel I’ve experienced outside the NYC, but not anywhere near other places like Ess-a-Bagel. Unless I just had one that was on the lighter side? It’s possible.
Overall Pick A Bagel is a convenient place to grab a breakfast or a snack on the way to the park or the Met, but I’m still all about Murray’s. Oh, and remember when I said I kind of forced my friend to eat bagels? Well I didn’t mention that she was also suffering from a wisdom tooth infection and intense pain and had to get it pulled a couple days later…hey, she told me she wanted to eat everything no matter what!! Whoops. 😉
Everything bagel with plain cream cheese, toasted
1101 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10075