How to Tell the Difference between Boiled and Steamed Bagels
Most bagel shop owners and people who make their own bagels at home follow the traditional process of boiling the bagels before putting them in the oven. This gives the bagels a crispy and shiny crust and a chewy interior.
Some bagel shops break from tradition and steam their bagels instead of boiling before baking them. This can still produce a good bagel, but it will look and taste different. One is not better or worse than the other; it is a matter of personal preference. Here are some ways to figure out whether the bagel you bought was boiled or steamed before it was baked.
Differences in the Crust
Bagels that were boiled before they were put in the oven will have a shiny golden crust. This is caused by being bathed in boiling water. Bagels that have been steamed tend to have a more dull, dry appearance on the outside.
The Shape of the Bagel
You will also notice a difference in shape. A boiled bagel will have a round shape because it is baked on both sides. Steamed bagels usually have a more elliptical shape and are flat on the bottom because they are not turned over in the oven.
Boiling also produces a different appearance in the center of a bagel. When you cut a boiled bagel in half, you will see a crispy crust that is the result of the boiling process and a soft, chewy inside. You should be able to pull the crust away from the crumb on the inside. A steamed bagel will be fluffier. It will have a texture closer to bread or possibly even cake.
Differences in Toppings
Boiled bagels often have toppings on both the top and bottom. When bagels are made by boiling, they are put on aluminum boards covered with wet jute, or burlap, that is covered with seeds. The bagels are laid on the jute and covered with toppings on the other side.
With steamed bagels, toppings are added to the raw dough before the bagels are steamed. The toppings used for steamed bagels are often inexpensive and dehydrated, while boiled bagels are more likely to use fresh toppings.
Where to Go for Breakfast
If you are looking for a new place to get your morning bagel, stop in at Between Rounds. We serve delicious bagels with a variety of flavors and toppings so you can start the day off right.