This week I've been sharing the wonder that is Bagelsaurus, Boston's mini bagel bakery run by Mary Ting Hyatt. So far we've seen her bagel-making process and learned about a great, non-scary home alternative to lye. Today we're going back to basics with a simple question: what makes a great bagel?
When I asked Mary this question, she responded:
Chewiness, for sure. I like a really thin, crisp crust and a flavorful dough, but not necessarily dense.
She's tried a lot of bagels and finds most of them a little bland, with "an even cross-section, no holes, pretty flavorless." (The exception to this, she says, is Scratch Baking Co. in Portland, which has amazing bagels. They, too, use a sourdough starter in their dough.)
Great bagels don't skimp on the mix-ins and toppings, either. Mary's favorite bagel from her lineup, the Black Olive, is made with cured black olives. "They're already juicy," she says, "but they plump up even more in the oven." You won't find wimpy sprinkled toppings on her bagels, either: her Sesame, Poppy Seed, and Everything bagels are dipped into their seasonings.
But while she herself doesn't like a dense bagel, she knows many people do —which is pretty much how it goes with bagels! Everyone has their preferences. Personally, I'm totally on the "chewy but not dense" bagel train, but I'd like to know: what qualities do you look for in the perfect bagel?