bagel by any other label
about New York City, you can get great fresh-made bagels right ’round
John “jaQ” Andrews
Some may say it’s
pointless to look for premium bagels in New Hampshire — indeed, anywhere
outside of New York City itself.
One writer on
Citidex.com claims that it is in fact the unique properties of NYC tap
water that makes the Gotham bagel so uniquely delish.
Marcia McAuliffe and
Melissa Martin work at Bagel Alley, 1 Eldridge St., Nashua. (It really
is in an alley. Just north of 111 on the east side of Main Street.)
McAuliffe is the owner’s stepdaughter, while Martin “lives there,” the
Forming rings of dough
all day apparently makes you a bit goofy.
“We make everything
from scratch,” McAuliffe said. The two claimed they were the “only place
in the state” to take such care in making their bagels. Unfortunately,
the Hippo has few resources in the farthest reaches of the state such as
Dixville Notch and Berlin, so that couldn’t be definitively
substantiated. What can be confirmed is the near-fanatical passion
that’s poured into the giant bagel-forming machine at Bagel Alley. Along
with yeast and flour and stuff.
The bagel former pushes
out rings of dough that are then put in a box to sit for a day while
they “proof,” or rise. Some need to have their center holes reinforced
and re-made as they close in on themselves.
In the old days, bagels
were boiled and then baked. Now, Bagel Alley is equipped with a special
oven that treats each bagel to a 30-second spritz of steam, infusing and
coating it at the beginning of the baking process. This makes the most
fortunate bagels gleam with unabashed tastiness. Others, perhaps getting
bogarted out of their steam bath by more pushy bagels, have less of a
The whole shebang is
repeated several times daily. Bagel Alley has some wholesale customers,
but most of their sales are to walk-in traffic. Breakfast and lunch
intermingle, so there’s no one rush. Their offerings range from a simple
toasted bagel to hot open-faced melt sandwiches complete with decorative
sprouts and peppers on top. Very stylish.
process is part of what makes real fresh bagel shops unusual.
“It’s not a dying
breed,” McAuliffe opined, “but you can’t have one on every corner.”
Indeed, many doughnut
and breakfast shops, not to mention supermarkets, don’t make bagels from
scratch. At best, a shop might have a baker who pre-bakes bagels
nightly. Then a few minutes in the oven creates a “fresh” batch several
times a day. Panera follows this strategy, and while it works to create
the volume of bagels they sell daily, the personal touch is undeniably
To top your bagel, the
classic schmear is cream cheese. Add some lox (smoked salmon) for an
even more authentically New York taste.
Other spreads can be
whipped up quickly. Ronda Carnicelli of Seasoned Cooking magazine has
come up with several over the years, which all start with an 8-ounce
package of cream cheese and end with “mix until well blended.”
Her suggestions on what
to mix with that cream cheese to get luscious flavors:
3 tbsp. orange
2 tbsp. finely chopped
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. golden raisins
¼ cup finely chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. finely chopped
She also recommends
using spreads within one week for best quality.
Same goes for your
bagels, though the usual “the fresher the better” rule of thumb applies.
Once your jaw starts clicking when you bite into a bagel, time to throw
the bagels out. Or at least give them to someone less susceptible to TMJ.
Sabatier Grand Chef 5”
Fifty bucks for a
knife? It’s hand-crafted in France, man, and the blade material? A
single piece of “Full-tang high-carbon steel.” Full-tang.
A staple of cafeterias
everywhere, this baby is just as at home on your kitchen counter. Throw
a bagel in there and its fate is sealed. And by “sealed” I mean “cleft
through as by Excalibur itself.” The blade and handle come right out for
simple cleaning, though disappointingly, clear acrylic blade guards
prevent you from easily using this tool against any bagel snatchers.
Villaware UNO 4-Slice
Baked goods like style
too. Above and beyond its retro-future chic, it features four
self-adjusting slots to snugly accommodate bread or bagels. Or thick
bread. Plus “electronic browning control” and a defrost setting for
Basically a storage
case for your stash, this little gem doubles as a display and serving
tray. The clear top lets your pride and joy half dozen peek out and
impress the guests. Open it up and stuff another six into the now
upside-down lid. It’s ingenious! It’s extraordinary! It’s sometimes
included free with more expensive products on TV!
yourself a bagel
373 Hanover St
2075 S Willow St.
Big Easy Bagel & Deli
2626 Brown Ave
25 Stark St.