New Jersey is known for many things: the Shore, the Sopranos, Bruce Springsteen, but more importantly, bagels! While our New York neighbors may think they have a monopoly on bagel greatness, we here at Fast Bagel know otherwise. So what is it about Jersey bagels that make them so unique and delicious? Let’s take a closer look.
In order to give you the full picture of what’s involved, we’ll be talking about OUR process throughout this article. While every bagel shop has a different baking strategy, our team has been pumping out Jersey bagels the same way for nearly 50 years, so we consider ourselves experts on the topic!
And while our name is Fast Bagel, the “Fast” refers to the speed at which we get orders out the door, not how quickly we make bagels. In fact, there’s nothing quick about our process. We do it the old-fashioned way, which takes time. Not to give away the ending here, but it takes nearly 2 days to make our bagels. (yep, we bake slow & serve fast)
First, we make the dough. At Fast Bagel, our bakers use only the highest-quality ingredients available– flour, salt, sugar, yeast and more. These ingredients are mixed with Jersey water.
Why is the water in New Jersey so important to the end product? Jersey has soft water that contains a low concentration of minerals. This allows for the perfect baking chemistry when mixed with the flour’s high concentration of proteins. It’s a marriage made in heaven, and the result is a magical dough that is dense and chewy in texture, and not dry and spongy like bagels from other parts of the country.
Once the dough is made, we chop it into 4-ounce bricks to ensure each bagel is roughly the same size upon completion. These bricks are then rolled into bagel form and placed onto wood boards that are covered in corn meal to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface. The bagel boards are then placed into baking racks and covered for proofing, which is the process of letting the dough rise naturally at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour.
After proofing, the racks of bagels are then placed into the walk-in freezer for cold fermentation. This is a critical step and one that cannot be skipped. The freezing temperatures allow for the release of the natural flavors contained within the bagel dough. Without this step, the bagels would come out bland and flavorless. Our bagels stay in the freezer for a minimum of 24 hours to allow for full-flavor fermentation before we pull them out for thawing and baking.
Now that our bagels are ready for the oven, this next step is where things get really interesting. To give our bagels that distinct chewy texture, we drop them in a kettle of boiling Jersey water for a minute or two before baking. This process creates a gelatinous exterior and sets the outside crust. While boiling is one of the shortest steps we take in the bagel’s journey to completion, it’s probably the most important. It’s what sets our bagels apart from the rest of the country.
After boiling, the bagels are then moved from the kettle to cedar plank boards, and then sprinkled with the various seeds for flavoring. The boards are then placed in a revolving-tray oven for nearly 20 minutes. The resulting bagels have a crunchy, golden brown exterior and a consistently dense interior packed with deliciousness – the unmistakable hallmark of a Jersey Bagel.
Once the bagels are fully baked, we place them into metal bins to let them cool for 10-15 minutes before serving to customers. The end product is a delicious, savory Jersey bagel ready for your enjoyment!
So now that you’re familiar with the many steps we take to form, boil, and bake the perfect bagel, we’ll fill you in on a little secret ingredient no one else can duplicate– our LOVE for what we do!
At Fast Bagel, we take great care to ensure that every bagel is made to our exact standards. We’ve been doing it this way for nearly 50 years, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. We don’t cut corners and we don’t rush our baking processes, because we know that the best things in life take time. So that’s why we bake ‘em slow, and serve ‘em fast!
Just because we take a long time to make bagels doesn’t mean you have to wait a long time to enjoy them! Download the app, order now, and your food will be ready in 15 minutes or less. Fast Bagel is proof that you can enjoy amazing Jersey bagels without having to wait in long lines. See you at the nearest Fast Bagel Store soon!