Toasted and topped with butter, covered in lox, or used as the bread for a chicken salad sandwich — there's no stopping the deliciousness that bagels bring to a meal. But this Tuesday, Feb. 9, it doesn't matter how you like to eat your bagel as long as you eat one to celebrate National Bagel Day. And while you're chowing on that yummy round treat, take a moment to reflect on what makes this day so special with some facts about bagels that may help you win the next trivia night.
When it comes to bagel knowledge, who better than a long time bagel baker to provide some expert facts? Thomas' Bagels provided me with tons of fun information on bagels and why we can't seem to stop wanting more flavors. In fact, to celebrate National Bagel Day, Thomas' is giving away 10,000 packs of bagels via its Facebook page and releasing its new fan-picked flavor, lemon blueberry. (So start thinking of what toppings you'd like to schmear on that one.)
Whether you are a bagel aficionado or just a bread lover who fancies a bagel now and then, help celebrate the bagel's official day with these facts about bagels to make you smarter while you're noshing.
1. The Hole Has A Purpose
The hole in the middle of your bagel is no mistake. In fact, this bread was baked with a hole so vendors could slide them on to dowel rods, making it easy to transport them to wherever they would be selling their bagel that day.
2. Americans Love Bagels
It's no surprise this breakfast staple is loved by many. In 2015, Thomas' Bagels alone sold 162 million bagels to U.S. consumers.
3. Bagels Are Boiled First
Because one trip through the cooking process just wouldn't do — bagels are boiled before being baked, making them the only bread to go through a double cooking.
4. Bagels Could Be Named For Riding Gear
When it comes to the origin of the bagel, the jury is out. But one of the most accepted stories is that of a Polish general named Jan Sobieski. When the good general saved Vienna from a Turkish invasion in 1683, the townspeople clung to his stirrups and he road through town. As a tribute to his heroism, the king commissioned a baker to make a bread in the shape of his stirrup, called a breugel.
5. Every Second, A Bagel Is Born
Large commercial producers of bagels have the operation down to a science. Once the dough is made, a forming machine shapes one bagel every second.
6. It Takes 4 People To Make A Bagel
Well, at least it used to. Before machinery and technology gave bakers the power to produce more bagels, it used to take a team of four. Two people would make the dough and shape the bagels, one boiled the bagels, and the fourth baked them.
7. Bagels Have Roundness In Their Roots
Due to their round shape, in German, the word "bagel" shares some variation with some other round items such as ring (beigel) and bracelet (bugel).
8. Standard Toppings Never Go Out Of Style
When it comes to how you like to top your bagel, the sky's the limit. But according to Thomas' research, the most popular bagel toppings are cream cheese, butter, fruit spreads, eggs, deli meat, peanut butter, and bacon.
9. There's No Boarders For Bagels
Proving their popularity spans the country, the top five cities for pre-packaged bagel eating are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit.
10. Bagels Are A Healthy Choice
Carbs can get a bad rep, but the average bagel boasts no cholesterol and no fat (when plain), making it a smarter choice than a muffin or pastry for people who like something with a bready texture in the morning.
11. Bagels Make Great Dinner
I'm not just talking about a single bagel on a night you don't feel like cooking (although that has hit the spot for me, many times). Get creative with dinner ideas like Chicken Lasagna Bagel Bake and find new way to use your favorite flavors.
12. Montreal Has It's Own Bagel
With the addition eggs and honey, Montreal style bagels are more tender and sweet than the traditional style bagel.
13. 2016 — The Year Of The Avocado?
No one knows exactly what new toppings people will love on their bagels, but Thomas' is making some predictions. According to their projections, bagel lovers will be loading their bagels with fruit and honey, spinach and artichoke dip, and avocado.
14. Bagels Were A Push Present
Adding to the mystery of the bagel's history, is a printed mention that dates back to 1610, when the Community Regulations of Kracow, Poland declared bagels to be given as a gift to women who had just delivered a child.
15. Bagel's Shape Is Symbolic
Forget diamonds, bagels make great gifts. Due to it's round shape, bagels were considered a thoughtful gift to symbolize a full year and a long life. Looks like your next gift-giving occasion just got a lot easier.