Everyone in NY knows that New York City bagels are the best around. We have all heard a theory it is the water in NY that make them good. I can now confirm this possibility. Water contributes to flavor in the bagels since it is a key component of the dough. They are also poached in water briefly before baking. And all water is not created equal. Depending on where you are or what you buy, water you drink may be treated, chlorinated, from a well, from a natural spring, from glaciers, or from the mountains. They have different compounds added by man and/or minerals present from the ground. All of these things can contribute to flavor development in a dough. As a general rule – you should never use water for dough or baking that you wouldn’t drink.
“Everything” and seasame bagels
Our bagels we made in class were not wimpy Lender’s bagels. But real, 5 oz, large, dense, chewy, NYC bagels. What made them authentic? We followed a traditional NY bagel recipe and used the tap water in preparing and poaching the bagels. Delicious! Especially fresh out of the oven. Warm, golden on the outside and white densely packed on the inside. They were perfectly soft and chewy without being dry (like a day old or frozen bagel can be). They tasted authentic. We made them using a kitchen aid mixer and they took only about 1 hour from scratch to finished product. If you have never had a fresh bagel in NY – I highly recommend you try one next time you are here. Lender’s frozen bagels? Not the same.
Nutrition Facts: One NYC Bagel (5 oz)
- Calories: 360
- Total Fat: 2 grams
- Cholesterol: O mg
- Sodium: 625 mg
- Carbs: 70 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 15 grams
The Good: Like all bread products made with enriched flour, bagels are a good source of folate, thiamin, iron and selenium. They are low in fat and cholesterol (that is – before butter, cream cheese, or other toppings are added).
The Bad: Bagels are high in carbohydrates and diabetics or those on carb-controlled diets should watch portion sizes. Bagels are also high in sodium.
Recommendations: Bagels can fit into most diets safely. I have even had some really delicious whole grain bagels. While the NYC bagel is 5 ounces – and therefore high in carbohydrates and sodium – most bagels bought at the grocery store are only about 3 ounces. A 3 ounce bagel in lower in carbs and sodium because of the portion size. The thing to watch is bagel toppings. Alone the bagel is benign. Unfortunately bagels are vessels for saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and lots of calories. Try low-fat toppings like a slice of reduced fat cheese and tomato. Low-fat cream cheese or jelly can cut back on fat and calories. You can make a pizza bagel with low-fat mozzarella, basil leaves and a tablespoon of marinara sauce. Bagel sandwiches can be healthy if you choose lean cuts of meat, fresh lettuce and tomato, and mustard (hold the mayo).
These are just a few healthy ways to enjoy a bagel. The next time you are in NYC – you can consider indulging in a 5 oz NY bagel with a flavored cream cheese. My favorite combinations are whole wheat with raisin walnut cream cheese, everything with vegetable cream cheese, and cinnamon raisin with plain whiped cream cheese. Buyer beware – extra time at the gym may be necessary.