It’s clear doughnuts are having a bit of a moment in Sydney, but what about their savoury cousin? Bagels are a polarising, sometimes controversial item in the bread world. Preference comes down to their baking, boiling and even what country the water used to make them comes from. Technical differences aside, we’ve put together a round up of the city’s tastiest.
Since opening in 2013, Matthew Forsdike says he’s sold at least 25,000 bagels at Brooklyn Hide. He thinks that 12,500 of these were the Hell's Kitchen alone, which is its most popular offering. It has prosciutto, avocado, feta, rocket and lime. Other signature bagels are all named after New York areas, such as the classic Manhattan with house-cured lox, cream cheese and honey vinegar. Or, choose your own bagel and spread, from sourdough rye to cinnamon raison and the “unbelievably popular” gluten-free. There are many worthy non-bagel options on the menu, too. But Forsdike says that unequivocally, “We are a bagel-oriented cafe.”
The Bagel Shop
The Bagel Shop’s founder, Alex Curtis, grew up on the East Coast of America, in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. “I spent a lot of time eating bagels, so really my research started there,” she says. Before starting The Bagel Shop in Sydney, she travelled back to NYC to learn from a friend who ran bagel bakeries. “I watched, listened and practised. Then brought it all back to Sydney,” Curtis says. She spent months adapting her recipe and technique to a new climate before selling her first bagel at Bondi Markets, where they’re still sold; you can also find them at the Kings Cross, Bondi Junction and French’s Forest markets. Or get them delivered on Saturday mornings. Curtis says she still loves going back to New York, “For a proper NYC bagel. There’s nothing like it.”
Brooklyn Boy Bagels
Michael Shafran started selling Brooklyn Boy Bagels at pop-ups, where lines stretched out the door and around the corner of whichever space he’d taken over. Recently he opened a standalone store, where his bagel dough is cold fermented for two days before being boiled to exacting New York standards. The result is a shiny, chewy crust and soft, yielding interior. Schmears are generous in the American style, spread inch-thick. Cream cheese flavours include jalapeno, raspberry and maple, bacon, bourbon. Also worth trying is the babka bread, covered in Nutella or salted caramel and sesame.
Bondi Road’s Wellington bakery is a Sydney stalwart of traditional Jewish baked goods. It’s been open and busy for decades. The family business is run by Leslie Brull with his sons Tom and David. The bakery has sold bagels since 1971, using a recipe identical to one Brull used in his native Hungary. Along with its pretzels, the bagels are boiled, proved and then baked, giving a distinct, dense-chewy texture. Wellington bagels are also sold at Harris Farm supermarkets.
Famous for its sourdough loaves, Iggy’s also makes a mean bagel, using the same carefully looked after starter to create a fermented tang and dark bronze crust. They are unashamedly untraditional, baked, not boiled, in a hearth oven. Seeded varieties are absolutely smothered; the “multi” includes, flax, poppy, sesame and course sea salt. Other varieties include onion, garlic and raisin. Find them at their new Bronte location.