There are several local franchise operations that sell bagels. They are quite good. But here are a few things that we think make our bagels a better choice:
1) Most franchise bagels (Dunkin', Einstein Bros., etc.) get frozen bagels from a corporate factory. In the store, they spritz the frozen bagels with water and put them in an oven to thaw and finish baking. We make our bagels fresh and entirely from scratch.
2) The franchise bagels contain dough conditioners, foaming agents, emulsifiers, preservatives, enzymes, flavors, sugars, and other unnecessary ingredients. Bagels are supposed to be simple! Our bagels have top-quality flour, water, yeast, barley malt syrup, and salt. That's it. That's how real bagels are made.
3) Bagel Boy bagels are made to order and handed to you at your door, still warm from the oven. Your purchase supports the character development and education of our 6- and 12-year-old boys and profits go 100% to their college savings. We love our neighbors and we love baking for you!
4) Our prices are quite low compared to what you pay at most shops. As of this writing, Einstein Bros. bagels are $1.79 each at Publix. That's a LOT more than we charge. Our goal is to keep the prices as low as we can while still paying for supplies and providing some savings for the boys (Daddy works for free).
5) Our bagels are made the "old-school" way, meaning they are hand-rolled. This is the traditional method. There are franchises that make the bagels on-site, but they use machines to shape the bagels. Hand rolling is only found nowadays in high-end bagel "boutiques," and these bagels are PRICEY.
We currently do not charge for delivery. We rely on your generous tips to cover our time and expenses. When we were still delivering with a red wagon, we calculated our prices to be not much above our costs for ingredients, bags, labels, etc. Your tips make it possible for us to keep our little business running with the prices at the bare minimum.
No problem! We have several customers who leave a cooler on the porch and an envelope with payment. This seems to work very well.
If you are not going to eat all of the bagels on the first day, you should transfer them to sealed plastic bags and store at room temperature. Make sure they are at room temperature before putting them in the plastic bags or they will get soggy.
The bagels will stay soft for a couple of days. If they start to get hard, that's okay! Just dampen them slightly with a wet paper towel before reheating in the oven or microwave. Also, a pizza bagel is an awesome way to use a bagel that is a bit "past its prime". The toaster also makes for a delicious breakfast alternative for a delivered delectable.
If you aren't going to eat them within a couple of days, you can put them (still in the paper bag) into a larger plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Or you can freeze them the same day you get them (the sooner the better). It's best to slice them and individually wrap them in plastic wrap. You can take them directly from the freezer to the toaster!
Yes! The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services allows for what is called a "Cottage Food Operation." Florida law allows individuals to use their home kitchens to produce for sale certain foods, including bagels.
Not all foods can be legally sold by a cottage food operation. We wish we could sell our beef jerky, fresh mozzarella, yogurt, pizza dough, etc. What a shame!
We wish we could sell cream cheese! We would sell the best strawberry and blueberry cream cheese you've ever had!
But the same law that lets us sell bagels prohibits us from selling anything that requires heating or refrigeration, or that otherwise presents a risk of spoilage. Bagels are a perfect example of what the law is intended to allow.
We are "sticklers" for rules, laws, and regulations, and we follow the Department of Agriculture restrictions to the letter. But we're glad they let us do what we do.
We do make asiago bagels, but the cheese is finely-grated and fully baked until dry and crisp. When the moisture is removed from asiago cheese it is safe at room temperature and is not considered a "potentially hazardous food". In fact, you can buy asiago chips commercially which are made of 100% baked asiago cheese, and they are shelf-stable at room temperature.
Here's a link that explains this in more detail: https://extension.illinois.edu/sites/default/files/idph_cottage_food_guide-_2022.pdf
That's a very common MYTH, and a certain bagel franchise is even founded on this claim. But my wife and I are scientists, and we are very familiar with the research on this topic. Lots of people have done experiments and taste tests, leading some to file lawsuits against a certain bagel franchise... Researchers have controlled for pH and mineral concentrations, compared identical recipes made with water from different cities, and they have found that the water does NOT make a difference. Sure, bad water will harm the product... but if the water is good, it doesn't matter where it's from.
So why are NY bagels so good? Because that's where you find generational family bakers using the best traditional recipes, ingredients, techniques, and skills, baking one single product. A good NY bagel shop is essentially a large-scale cottage industry selling mostly a single product--even today. NY bagels use barley malt syrup, and that makes a tremendous difference in the distinctive taste and texture. NY bagels are boiled before they are baked, allowing for a different crust, bite, and mouth feel. We do the same for our product.
By contrast, most big store, franchise, and commercial bagels are sweetened with corn syrup or other cheap sugar sources. These companies use inferior ingredients and cut corners in the steps--including the rolling methods and preparation. They are dosed with preservatives and stabilizers, formed on a machine, and pre-sliced. They are treated similar to how a cheap hot dog roll is produced. This is why they are often derided as "rolls with holes." These products simply are not bagels.
Our bagels are boiled in Clermont water, formed by hand, and made with barley malt syrup. We think our water does a fine job! If you are one of the people who have spent exorbitant sums to order bagels from NY, we challenge you to try our product!
Out of morbid curiosity, I once inspected a bag of Thomas' "Bagels" that was on sale. I picked up the bag and knew immediately that they were not real bagels. They were fluffy and soft, like hamburger buns, with a hole in the middle. The outer texture and color were so uniform, it looked like it had been airbrushed on. The "cinnamon raisin bagels" had raisin particles... not raisins. Then I looked at the ingredients: cellulose gum, monoglycerides, xanthan something-or-other--- a chemistry-set-in-a-bag! They have a lot of nerve calling these bagels!
The chew of a real bagel comes partly from the type of flour used. Bagels typically use flour with high protein content and more gluten, which is a molecule that becomes a sticky "glue" when mixed with water. Basically, higher gluten content yields tougher, chewier dough. That's why we use proffesional-grade high-gluten flour.
Bagels are also not allowed to rise before baking to the extent or with the vigor of most bread doughs. Timing is critical--they must be cooked while still fairly dense.
Finally (and arguably most importantly), the outer texture is sealed and flavored by a special boiling technique. This super-heats and hydrates the outer layer of uncooked dough, activating the starch/water combination, making a tough outer "jacket" surrounding the uncooked dough inside. When the bagel is baked, the tough outer layer stays dense and inelastic. It gets tough, brown, chewy, and a little crispy, and it prevents the inside of the bagel from expanding and getting too soft and fluffy.
So, if you've bitten into a "bagel" and didn't have to work at it a little, you were likely eating a bread product that was steamed or skipped the boil, was rolled by a robot and overly fluffed through poor ingredients, and had the texture of sandwich bread. Steam and tons of sugar give a shiny veneer... but it's not authentic. It's a sham. A sad, dry, fluffy "roll with a hole."
It probably didn't have much flavor either.
A true bagel is fantastic with cream cheese, butter, or jam--toasted or not.
But the best bagels are delicious entirely plain, straight from the oven. It's not a good bagel unless it's awesome with nothing on it!