Bagels have a murky history. Although they’re believed to be related to the kaak, a ring-shaped Arabic biscuit, most agree that bagels as we know them originated in Poland in the 16th century – a byproduct of the prominent Jewish population there.
A couple of hundred years later, they headed westward – first to the beigel shops of London, then onwards to the bakeries and delis of New York City. And that’s where these boiled, baked beauties really took off. But it took a little while for the NYC-style bagel (and its smaller and sweeter cousin, the Montreal-style bagel) to reach our shores in large quantities.
But thanks to the persistence of bagel aficionados such as Michael Shafran in Marrickville, who’s been running Brooklyn Boy Bagels since 2013, and the hard work of bakers in the eastern suburbs (which is still the heartland of Sydney’s Jewish diaspora), we’ve seen an explosion of excellent bagel-based businesses in recent years. And they’re selling every style and topping imaginable.