A favorite but episodic weekend ritual for me is to wake up early and buy bagels and challah for the family. So, breakfast is ready to go by the time everyone wakes up.
I don’t know when I started to get into bagels, but I went through a phase in middle school during which I really wanted to learn to make them. You mix the dough, boil the bagels and then bake them. You start with a basic “plain” and then try to master different flavors. It was messy and fun.
I don’t make bagels any more, since I discovered “real” bagels when I lived twice in Manhattan. It’s hard to know why NYC bagels are so good. Some theorize that it’s the water (and, others claim the water also makes for awesome pizza there). Others disagree and claim it’s about fermentation (more here). Hard to know for sure.
Since moving to Boston, I’ve been on an informal quest to find the “perfect” NYC-style bagel. Fortunately, there are quite a few options around. I used to make the drive (or bike ride) to Kupel’s a few towns over. I’m OK with the chains, like Bruegger’s.
It’s tough to pick one spot, but I really like Rosenfeld’s. It’s a hole-in-the wall shop (see photo above of the front door). Hard to find. No web site. No frills. You’re in, you’re out. Cash only.
When you walk into Rosenfeld’s, you’re immediately surrounded by the fragrance of challah and bagels. You smell eggs, yeast, sugar, salt. Depending on what’s just come out of the oven, you can also detect sesame, garlic, blueberry and cinnamon. It’s warm and cozy. Like entering your grandmother’s kitchen.
I think that savoring is a key to happiness. For me, a still-warm bagel with some cream cheese and a strong cup of George Howell coffee is tough to beat.
Rosenfeld’s opens in 15 minutes, and I better get going. A peaceful Saturday to all!