The New York Post raises the question today of whether New York is in the midst of a bagel crisis, now that H&H has shuttered and the city’s old-time bagel makers have long been replaced by the automatic bagel machine. The paper’s intent on calling it a crisis, although all the experts seem to refute the idea that it’s a “crisis” — more just a slow, painful death.
What caused the doughy demise? Back in the 1970s, bagels were apparently bigger, puffier, and more bread-like. Once the machines came into the picture, bagel makers had to add water to the dough so the machines wouldn’t burn out, making a decidedly less tasty bagel. And the process of poaching, boiling, and baking takes time and effort, which most producers don’t want to commit to these days.
But the Post helps refute its own idea of a crisis by highlighting Vic’s Bagel Bar ( 544 Third Avenue, 212-213-3900) and B&B Empire, two bakeries making old-school bagels that have opened in the past two years. Certainly, as with almost any trade, yes, the numbers have dwindled, but you can still find artisan craftsmanship if you look for it. Hey, just look at Domino’s.