How Are New York and Montreal Bagels Different?
Bagels are made around the world, but in many cases they are not true bagels. In some places, what is called a bagel is more like a roll with a hole. Two cities are widely considered to have some of the best bagels in the world: New York and Montreal. There are several differences in the ways each city makes its bagels.
True bagels are boiled before they are baked, but in many places outside New York and Montreal that step is omitted. Bagels made in New York are boiled in water with malt and baked in a traditional oven. Montreal bagels are boiled in water with honey for a sweeter taste and baked in wood-fired ovens. This gives them a crunchier crust with a deeper and richer flavor. Bagel shops in Montreal use long, thin wooden paddles called peels to remove bagels from the oven. They are then dumped into gravity-fed chutes.
The dough used to make Montreal bagels is rolled thinner than it is in New York, so Montreal bagels have a significantly bigger hole. The diameter is larger than other bagels, but they are flatter and not as dense. Montreal bagels taste good with spreads, but the larger hole makes it difficult to use them for sandwiches.
The Montreal bagel was invented by three bakers who sold them from a horse-drawn cart. They eventually went their separate ways and founded two well-known bagel shops that are still in operation to this day.
Bagel shops in Montreal often have fewer bagel flavors than shops in New York. Both cities have many of the same varieties, including plain, sesame, poppy, cinnamon raisin, whole wheat, and everything, which is called “all dressed” in Montreal.