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Are Bagels Jewish Food? Legend Has It…

I always wondered what makes bagels Jewish. In Haaretz, Doram Gaunt writes Getting a Rise Out of Bagels: When people talk about Jewish food they think of tcholent, kneidlach or gefilte fish, but the Jewish food that has won the greatest popularity among non-Jews in the world is in fact one that many don’t even know is ours. Legend has it that in 1683 a Jewish Viennese baker wanted to thank the king of Poland for protecting the people of his country from an invasion by the Turkish army. In honor of the king, who was fond of horsemanship, the baker prepared a round roll with a hole in the middle to suggest the shape of a stirrup (Buegel in German). However, the uniqueness of the roll was not in its shape but rather in the way it was made: cooking in boiling water before baking gave the dough that had risen slowly a particularly dense texture and the moisture protected the surface from scorching at the high baking temperature and created a shiny, brown and moderately crisp crust.
The bagel spread rapidly among the Jews of Poland, and then migrated and captured hearts in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. At the end of the 19th century Jewish immigrants brought the bagel to New York, and transformed it into one the city’s culinary symbols. Read on


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