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Where did the Montreal style bagel come from?



Bagels are the perfect grab and go meals for breakfast. And there is something about these items that whenever we see them, we feel hungry. They can be consumed after toasting or plain. The origins of a normal bagel are a little obscure and it is just known that Ashkenazi Jews consumed it widely in the 17th century. Bagels were first mentioned in 1610, in Jewish ordinances in Poland. Today it is a popular bread product all over the world, but the origins are disputed.

A popular theory is that bagels were invented by a Jewish-Viennese baker. He had designed a small roll that was shaped like a riding stirrup. This was a gift for John III Sobieski - the King of Poland. The king had staved off an attack from Ottoman forces and stopped them for conquering the Viennese in 1683, in the Battle of Vienna. The gift was called Beugel and it entered the mainstream Polish food. This then became a gift that was traditionally given to new mothers. Then it found its way east, to Russia, where it became known as bubliki.

One of the variants of the popular bagel is the Montreal style bagel. It is slightly different from other bagels and yet similar to the Polish bagels that had been made historically. The Montreal style bagels are quite popular in Canada and they have a very loyal fan following. One fan was an astronaut and he took these bagels with him to space! Which bagel has this legendary story to their name? It is the Montreal bagel!


If you are wondering how this bagel came to be about, here is a quick note on the history of Montreal style bagel.


Bagel in Montreal

It is believed that the Montreal style bagel arrived with Jewish settlers who had come from Eastern Europe in the 1900s. Many settled in the neighbourhood known as Mile End, in Montreal. There are varying accounts about who brought the Montreal style bagel to Montreal. Some believe it was a person named Isadore Schlafman, whose father operated a bakery in Kiev. He made and sold bagels in a shop near Saint-Laurent Boulevard.

Others believe that a man from Russia - Hyman Seligman, who brought the bagel recipe and established it while selling bagels from a carriage in the Mile End area.

Isadore Schlafman then opened the Fairmount Bagels in 1949. It was later renamed as The Original Fairmount Bagel Factory. Then in 1957, Myer Lewkowicz and Hyman Seligman opened the St. Viateur Bagel. Both are in the Fairmont street area and both claim to be having the most authentic Montreal style bagel.



Where to find the authentic Montreal Bagel in Toronto?

If you are looking for the authentic taste of Montreal style Bagel in Toronto, then head to Bagel Time on Danforth Avenue or Bloor Street West. Bagel Time is the latest shop for Montreal style bagels. We bake the bagels in front of your eyes and serve them fresh.

The owner of Bagel Time had worked in Fairmount Bagels, which was started by Isadore Schlafman. Fairmount is one bakery from which, Canada got the first taste of Montreal bagels. Irfan Khan started Bagel Time in Toronto to ensure that folks here got the real taste of Montreal style bagels.

These bagels are made with poppy and sesame seeds. The bagel dough has yeast, malt and egg in it. The shaped dough is boiled in a mixture of honey and water and then baked in a wood-fired oven.

Montreal style bagels are also quite healthy as they have lesser calories than other variants like a New York style bagel.


How to store bagels properly?

Now that you know how Montreal bagels are made, you may want to store them after you have bought them or made them.

You can freeze these bagels for more than three months.

Here are the things you need to think about to store them properly.

· Bagels can be stored in a pantry from 5 to 7 days, so if you plan to eat them within that timeline, you can leave them in the pantry.

· You can put the bagels in a paper bag and then seal them in an airtight container or bag.

· If you are freezing extra bagels, then you may want to slice them first in half. Freezing them and then slicing them after is a hard task. So, do it earlier.

· Then wrap the sliced pieces in plastic wrap to protect against freezer burn and put them in a freezer bag.

· If you freeze those pieces that you know you aren’t going to eat immediately after buying them, then they will remain fresher.


You can toast a frozen bagel without thawing them and they will taste good. That is the easiest part about this. With other foods, you need to thaw or defrost and then heat. But with frozen bagels, you can immediately pop it into the oven and toast them.

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