Bagels have been associated with Polish culinary traditions for centuries. However, in historical sources, the first mention of bagels comes from an Arabic cookbook, where it is referred to as ka’ak. Only from 1610, mention were made of the bakers of the Jewish settlements in Kraków, who baked bagels ( bajgiel in Polish) as a gift for lucky childbirth.
There is no specific written document about the creation of bagels, only a beautiful legend remains of a Viennese baker, who baked the very first bagel in honour of III. John Sobieski, King of Poland, for his brilliant victory in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. He formed the bagel based on the shape of the saddle stirrup, thus glorifying the riding abilities of the King of Poland. III. John loved the bagels so much, he made them popular in the whole country.
Although we have no credible evidence of the origin of bagels, no one doubts that this type of “holed bun” was extremely popular in Poland and ruled the Polish tables for almost 300 years, until the early 1900s, when the recipe and baking tradition of bagels emigrated overseas along with Jewish bakers.
In the United States and Canada, the bagel began a whole new life and career, as in a Hollywood film, however in Poland, it was almost completely forgotten, and only its distant cousin, the Krakovian obwarzansurvived in the minds of Poles.
Bagels have won the hearts of Americans and Canadians so much that not only thousands of small bakery businesses have emerged that specialized in making them, but also the first industrial production lines, capable of producing thousands of bagels and satisfying consumers growing appetites in local delicatessens.
Bagels have become an essential part of New York and North American gastronomy as their choice of breakfast. According to a famous anecdote, on Sundays, the doctors on duty had mostly cases of cut injuries, as a result of people halving bagels.
New York and Montreal have become the cradle of the bagel renaissance, these two cities represent the two schools of bagel making, and the third, freshly appeared California-style bagels are spreading at a very fast pace.
At Best Bagel Basilica, we bake our bagels in New York style, but all experts in the subject know, that every country and every city create a specific bagel flavour, that is influenced by the type of flour used (its properties also depend on local grain and grinding techniques), the hardness and properties of the water and yeast used. If bagels are not produced industrially, but exactly like ours, by hand, with traditional recipes, without preservatives and flavour enhancers, then the flavours must be so distinctive, that it certainly cannot be confused with anything else.
Bagels are slowly conquering Budapest as well, thanks to small, handcrafted bakeries such as Best Bagel Basilica, where passion for the best quality bagels, respect for authentic and domestic ingredients and heartfelt kindness awaits everyone, which you can taste from all the Bagels we make — every day.