A Jewish Tradition Hits the Mainstream
St-Viateur Bagel is Montreal’s longest-running bagel bakery, with several business outlets and customers across North America. But for most of bagel history, the baking and eating of bagels were almost totally Jewish pastimes. In the world of Jewish bread, bagels checked in somewhat low on the ladder (on special occasions, people bought challah, not bagels).
That began to change in the 1970s, as people from all kinds of backgrounds discovered a taste for the humble bagel. By the 1990s, bagels had become thoroughly mainstream, as trade publications like Bakers’ Journal described the bagel as the fastest-growing market in baked goods. Bagel shops began opening up all over North America.
Montreal Bagels Are Best!
To anyone who’s tried them, it’s obvious that Montreal’s bagels are the best. Bagel makers elsewhere make them by machine and bake them in electric ovens. By comparison, traditional Montreal bagels are made with malt and boiled in a honey-water mixture, which gives them their distinctive golden-brown color. Finally, they are baked in wood-fired ovens.
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