Nothing quite beats that warm chewy crunch to a bagel after loading it with spreads for the perfect breakfast, lunch, dinner or late-night snack. But why are they so good?
Bagels are a much-loved treat across the Western world from America and through to Europe all the way over to Asia and down-under. However, despite being around for over 400 years, their popularity as a snack has been on the rise.
From trends such as the black charcoal bagel and the rainbow bagel to more out-there culinary tests with seasoning, fruits, meats, vegetables, herbs and all sorts.
So, with this spike in bready interest, the team here at The Hobby Kraze wanted to bring you the ultimate guide to traditional bagels as well as all the different and random types of bagel you may find at the artisanal high street bakery. Plus, we didn’t quite want to leave you in the dark about enjoying freshly baked bagels at home, so we’ve also stolen a recipe from one of our team members to share with you (you’ll have to keep reading to find it!)
Here’s what we’ll be covering in this introduction to the styles of bagel tastes and more:
- An Introduction to the Types of Bagels Through Their History
- The Etymology Part to the Ultimate Guide to Traditional Bagels
- How the Styles of Bagels are Nothing like the Styles of Breads
- The 26 Types of Bagels You Can Find Around the World
- The Recipe to making Your Very Own Delicious Plain Bagel
Before we get going, we thought we’d clear up one mystery that’s digging a hole in our minds as the article goes on: why do bagels have holes?
Well, there are a couple of reasons that don’t have anything to do with its origin story or any fun mythological reason. Instead, it’s all about the cooking process.
Firstly, the idea is that placing a hole in the middle increases the surface area accessible by the oven’s heat creating a much more even cook whereas without the hole, there’s always going to be the mystery as to whether the middle is cooked or not.
The second reason behind the types of bagels all having their own hole in the centre is so that the crunchy and chewy outer layer is, well, increased. With extra surface area comes extra delicious outside crunch.
An Introduction to the Types of Bagels Through Their History
We can thank our 17th century Jewish community friends in Poland’s city of Krakow for the savoury invention of bagels.
However, while they were considered the modern inventors, there were mentions of a boiled-then-baked bread in the shape of a ring stemming from Arabic writings of the 13th century.
Despite this, the popularity certainly began to rise with the Jewish readings stating that the ringed bread was a suitable gift for women in labour with symbolic meaning. With this, the Ashkenazi Jews (the community who brought us the bagel) have been given the title of ‘inventors’ for this delicious bread.
The Etymology Part to the Ultimate Guide to Traditional Bagels
When it comes to the name, there are actually so many origin stories that are believed to have lined up to get to where we are today with b-a-g-e-l. So, we thought we’d just list them for you:
- “Bajgiel” is the Polish word for bagel.
- “Beygal” is the Yiddish word from which the Polish word derives.
- “Beugel” is the German word for ring.
- “Böugel” was the Middle High German for ring.
- “Bouc” was the Old High German word for ring.
- “Beuge” was the Southern-German word for pile.
- “Bēag” is the Old English word for ring.
- “Būgan” is the Old English word for bend.
- “Beugel” is the Austrian-German word for a type of croissant.
- “Bügel” is the German word for frame.
And we think that pretty much covers the ground. So, there’s no real way of knowing the true etymology of the word ‘bagel’ but we can sure take a try with the list above.
How the Styles of Bagels are Nothing like the Styles of Breads
Before we move on, it’s pretty important for us to say that the bagel is not just bread in the shape of a ring. While it almost is, it also isn’t at all; the bagel is a whole new world for your tastebuds.
This is because, while it very closely resembles bread, there are differences at every stage that sets them apart.
For example, in the first stage where the ingredients are prepped, malt syrup is added to the bagel mixture. As well as this, the bagel mixture is not kneaded for as long and is instead left in the fridge overnight. When it comes to the cooking, the bagels are first boiled with baking soda while bread simply goes straight into the oven. When they go into an oven, they are given a shape and no baking tin. Finally, the bagel should have a distinct crunch when biting into it before a dense, warm and chewy texture kicks in.
So, in reality, while bagels are technically bread in the shape of a ring, they couldn’t be anything less alike!
The 26 Types of Bagels You Can Find Around the World
Now that’s over and we know that bagels are rightfully their own thing in the baker’s aisle, we’re onto the fun bit. It’s time for the 26 different types of bagel you can find walking through the streets of London, the streets of New York (as a classic) and the streets of many other cities around the world.
Which of the types of bagel will tickle your fancy?
First on the list is a rather new addition to the baker’s world of bagels. In fact, it certainly wouldn’t be caught in the ultimate guide to traditional bagels because it has something baked into the dough that isn’t seasoning or spices. As the holes are being made, cooked chunks of bacon are rolled into the bagel dough to add a touch of smoky and crispy flavour. They’re eaten warm and chewy straight from the oven for a perfect crisp Autumn morning breakfast.
Instead of adding the extra zest in the hole-forming stage, blueberries are added with the flour, the yeast and the water in the food processor stage. We’ll touch on the exact recipe later on so don’t forget to keep scrolling to make your own dessert bagels. However, a quick tip for the styles of bagel is to consider condition: frozen blueberries will yield a polka-dot finish while a mushy blueberry will mix to create bagels of indigo!
This has been a very large trend in recent years. If you’ve ever walked past an artisanal bagel stunned and shocked at the black bagels looking through the window, you know it’s the activated charcoal at work. Said to be a source of toxin removal and good gut health, sprinkling some activated charcoal in with your bagel seasoning can bring about the goth of all bagels. However, you won’t see any different bagel tastes to the traditional holy bread.
Cheese Bagels (Asiago Bagels)
Many people may automatically call these types of bagels Asiago Bagels because they’re commonly made with the mild Asiago Italian-Alpine cheese. However, they’re really just cheesy bagels and can be garnished with anything from cheddar and Red Leicester to oddballs like goat’s cheese. To make these delectable bakes, sprinkle some finely grated cheese onto the top of the bagels in the last 5 minutes of baking, you’ll soon get the perfect golden topper.
Chocolate Chip Bagels
For less of a savoury snack and more of the sweeter treat styles of bagel, get some of your favourite chocolate sprinkles and fold them into the batter before they go for their first proof. They can be anything from milk and dark chocolate to white and the rather new ruby chocolate. A top tip from the team would be to slice the bagel in half, pop into the toaster and then enjoy crispy with oozing chocolate in each bite!
Cinnamon Bun Bagels
More of a Winter breakfast for the European platter, the cinnamon bagel is the bread lover’s answer to the cinnamon bun without quite so much icing and sugar, of course (so we guess that makes it a tad less unhealthy). Really, the only noticeable factor would be the different bagel tastes that the cinnamon brings out; when you’re not trying to throw whole sticks in, the cinnamon grounds just add a hint of something good. You could also exchange for ginger!
Incredibly yellow in colour and losing their iconic shine, these types of bagels have the perfect sweet flavour and soft texture brought in by adding a couple of egg yolks to the mix. When you’re making your own styles of bagel at home, you’ll want to mix egg yolk in the food processor with your water, yeast and bread flour. They aren’t usually combined with any other seasonings as they’re typically eaten with a full breakfast but do experiment to your heart’s content!
If you’ve been living under a rock and social media isn’t your jam, it’s likely you haven’t seen the wave of demand for the American Trader Joe’s Everything-But-The-Bagel seasoning. However, this bagel is everything (it’s really in the name). Instead of paying through the roof for the branded seasoning, just mix 2tbsp poppy seeds, 2tbsp flaky salt, 1tbsp white sesame seeds, 1tbsp black sesame seeds, 1tbsp garlic granules, 1tbsp onion powder and a pinch of salt.
French Toast Bagels
French toast bagels don’t just refer to the way these types of bagels are made from the get-go. It actually refers to the bagel seasoning and the serving up of the different bagel tastes, too. Before boiling your bagels, you’ll want to soak them into a sweet custard mix and set into the fridge for an overnight chill. Then, when they’re cooked the next day, slice them in half, toast them and apply a heart-attack serving of salted butter for the perfect French bite.
If you like garlic bread (which, there’s no reason not to), you’ll love garlic bagels. And, luckily for us, there’s two ways to have them. The lazy toast-makers way and the artisanal bread-makers way. Of course, there’s no such thing as too much garlic. So, for these types of bagels, we won’t bother with measurements. Either mix garlic granules in with your bread flour or cut, toast and spread some garlic paste (with herbs, we’re not monsters) right on top.
Also mixed-in with the galaxy trends of 2018 to make the glittery galaxy types of bagels, these pieces of holy bread faction are only for those with sunglasses in hand. The edible-glitter bagel brings out the inner child (plus an extra crunch to each bite and a ‘I’m going to be finding glitter for days’ realisation). And, while they may be a fun twist to the palette, they don’t bring any new and exciting bagel tastes, unless you added fun extracts like orange!
If you’re a spice lover, the jalapeno bagel is for you. Interestingly, there is even a page turner children’s book called Jalapeno Bagels and is set in a Jewish-Mexican-American bakery including a heritage of bringing bagel seasoning with a twist. Of course, if you’re wanting to try these different bagel tastes, you’ll want to add them the same way as with the bacon bagel: simply fold into the dough before shaping and cooling. But a top tip is to keep milk close by!
Marble Rye Bagels
Almost like the pumpernickel (which we’ll mention in a minute; we do like our alphabetical order here at The Hobby Kraze) the marble rye bagel is made with rye. However, it is a fine rye flour that is marbled alongside traditional white bread flour to give a hint of surprise and variety between each bite. In fact, these types of bagels are perfectly matched in a ‘breakfast sandwich’ of sorts with some bacon, egg, tomato, avocado, lettuce and melted cheese, too.
Oats and Honey Bagels
It might sound strange, but it is the perfect way to get a protein fix into your morning bagel. Honey is a natural substance with antioxidants and more while oats are a low-calorie answer for the morning with a protein kick of energy. Mix in as little or as much as you want wherever in the types of bagel making process you are, and you’re done. Which does make this one of the easiest ways to bring a healthy twist to the styles of bagel.
There are a few different ways to tuck into these types of bagels and enjoy every delicious bite. Much like with the garlic bagel, there’s isn’t really such a thing as too much onion. You’ve got a healthy addition to your carbs for a side dish at dinner time which pairs perfectly with pasta and meat dishes. Even the ultimate guide to traditional bagels approves; either mix into dough like the jalapenos and the bacon or cover in the oven with caramelised strips!
There is no way you can say no to this childhood-memory inducing bagel. Once the pinnacle of the dinner hall in school, these savoury types of bagels are also making a comeback in the general household for those looking to add more than just bagel seasoning without having to order-in. Simply take your plain bagel, dollop some tomato puree on top, sprinkle your favourite cheese, place your toppings and bung under the grill for a few minutes.
These types of bagels are the types you’ll be making at home like a baking MasterChef with apron and all right after this article has taken you through the various different bagel tastes and styles of bagel, too. It’s got the classic ingredients, yields a bake of around 250 calories (depending on your ingredients and bagel size) and is beyond delicious with cream cheese and salmon, toasted with butter or however your cravings drive you.
To bring a source of magnesium, calcium and fibre to your bagel, look no further than the poppyseed. It is actually considered to be a superfood over here in the UK. So, atop the different bagel tastes of nuttiness, chewiness and getting stuck in your teeth-iness, you’ve got the benefits of bagel seasoning taking your plain bagel for a dip and a bake. Usually, the poppyseeds aren’t in the bagel but on the top and they’re best with a good spread of cream cheese.
The dark brown types of bagel aren’t actually a chocolate flavouring mixed into the dough, instead it’s the conscious use of a flour type called pumpernickel instead of using generic white bread flour. The origins of pumpernickel reside in the German’s ultimate guide to traditional bagels and other breads with a meaning of ‘hard’. It’s made using a coarser rye than earlier but throw onions into the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty irresistible (and healthy) bagel.
Rainbow bagels just take the bagel into a whole new realm of ‘extra’. They offer new styles of bagel but bring nothing to the table in terms of different bagel tastes or textures. This is because it’s simply a plain bagel with food colouring run through its very veins and then twisted into the bagel shape. It’s not our favourite here at The Hobby Kraze, it’s needs a little extra bagel seasoning such as bacon, cheese, jalapeno or even something new like vanilla.
Often paired with the cinnamon bagel – and unlike the rainbow bagel –, the raisin bagel really does bring a whole new sweetness and texture to our palate. In fact, it’s both good toasted and buttered as well as eaten as is while in a rush to catch the train to work in the morning (been there and done that with these types of bagels). If you’re wanting these bagels with a homemade touch, they’re best made with the raisins folded into the dough before proving.
Salt bagels are a strange answer to the lover of bread, donuts and pretzels; as long as they’re good with everything being a savoury treat. If this is you, hat’s off to you (just be sure to drink a lot of water to help with the salt)! It really does taste good and goes very well as another one of those ‘sandwiches’ like the rye bagel. This time, though, try something simple on the lips such as some ham, cheese and mayo as the right bagel seasoning for the lunchtime rush.
When it comes to the ultimate guide to traditional bagels, look no further than the sesame bagel. The perfect crunch, the perfect nutty taste and the perfect warm flavour that pretty much goes with everything from the cream cheese spread to the toast and butter and even the sandwich filling, too. When baking yourself, sprinkle a mix of white sesame and black sesame so it brings new styles of bagel as well as scrumptious tastes.
The spiced bagel is pretty vague and will be different depending on which artisanal bakery you head to in which country. For example, you might find a cayenne and cumin spiced bagel in India. If you head to Italy, it might be a mix of oregano and garlic. Then, in the Mediterranean, it might be more coriander and ginger. It’s what you make of it. So, for this one (and if you like your spices), we suggest going on a world adventure to find your perfect spiced bagel.
Spinach bagels work unbelievably well with thin slices of raw smoked salmon and cream cheese spread sandwiched in the middle plus a pot of teriyaki dipping sauce (don’t turn your nose up until you’ve tried it, trust The Hobby Kraze team!). However, it does take a little while to get used to the strange and stingy texture of the cooked spinach within the bagel. So, a top tip is to cut the spinach up into small chunks before folding into the dough.
Finally on this list of the 26 different bagel tastes and styles of bagel, too, we have the wholemeal bagel. Different to the rye and the pumpernickel, the wholemeal bagel uses wholemeal (or wholewheat) flour in the mixing stage. The reason for it being such a popular choice (despite being ever so slightly not as delicious as white bread flour) is to do with the health benefits. It’s high in iron, folate, B-complex vitamins, calcium, protein and more!
The Recipe to making Your Very Own Delicious Plain Bagel
Now you know all the different types of bagel you can get your hands on, it’s time to think about enjoying the perfect chew from the fresh-out-of-the oven homemade bagel.
However, one thing we should probably point out is that this process can take a couple of days with the proofing and the leavening, etc. But, as long as you’re set to go and patient enough for an overnight stay in the fridge (for your types of bagels, not you) then, get going!
Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll need to get started with the ultimate guide to traditional bagels made lovingly at home by you:
- 250ml Cold Water
- 2tbsp Malt Syrup
- 400g Bread Flour
- 2tsp Instant Yeast
- 2tsp Salt
- 35g Cornmeal
- 50g Sugar
- 1tbsp Baking Soda
The first step involves getting a food processor and throwing your bread flour in. If you want your bagels to have a bit of extra rise and more of a chewy texture, you can also add 4 teaspoons of dried gluten powder, but this is entirely optional.
Add the yeast to the food processor with the bread flour and pulse to mix. Then, in a separate container, add your malt syrup to your cold water (ice water is best, just be sure to remove any blocks of ice from the mixture) and stir. Then, pour the liquid into the food processor while mixing.
Add in the salt (plus any of those extras you’re wanting to chuck-in to spice things up a little).
Use the food processor to knead the bagel seasoning and dough together for about 2 minutes. When the 2 minutes is up, grab a small piece and check to see if the gluten has activated; to do this, slowly stretch the dough for the windowpane test.
To find out more about the windowpane test, have a look at our other article; “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to bread making”.
Then, divide into small equal pieces of around 100g each. Roll onto a non-floured surface to stick into a ball. Cover with cling film and leave to rest on the side for about 15 minutes.
When ready, line a tray with baking paper and cornmeal. Grab your bagel dough and poke a hole into the centre. With two fingers inside the hole, begin to roll the bagel and enlarge the hole. The hole should be around 5cm in diameter which may sound big, but as these types of bagels are baking, the dough will rise and the hole will seemingly shrink!
Cover the tray with some cling film, leave to relax on the side at room temperature for an hour before putting into the fridge for a cool overnight stay.
With the new day, bring a pot of water to the bowl, add the baking soda and the sugar and give the water a light stir. Then, boil the bagels for 20 seconds on each side (don’t place too many bagels into the pan at once as this will reduce the water temperature and the bagel effect!).
Finally, bake in the oven at 230°C for 20-25 minutes cornmeal-side down. Don’t forget to flip halfway through and you should be taking out some delicious styles of bagel with bagel seasoning homemade by you!
Before you go off making your own bagels and experimenting with all the different bagel tastes you could be creating with random ingredients in your house, don’t forget to share this article with all your friends and family so they can discover all the styles of bagel they’ve been missing out on.
As well as this, don’t forget to save the recipe and tell the team how you did! Even if the first bake didn’t work out (it didn’t with us either) then try again and enjoy bagel breakfasts, lunches and dinners forever. P.S. they can be quite calorific, so maybe don’t enjoy them forever.
If you liked this article as a foodie, we also think you might enjoy these:
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Bread Making
- The 31 Types of Melon Around the World
- 32 Types of Mushrooms, Shrooms, Sprouts, Spores, Ground Fruits and Other Fungi
- A Foodie Guide to the Types of Nuts
- Sprinkle a Little Spice in Your Life with a Fact File of the Types of Spices