Amy & Blake
In 2009, we moved to Oakland from Philadelphia on a whim, in search of a new city to call home. We fell in love immediately with the friendly people, beautiful landscape and amazing food. There was just one thing we found ourselves longing for (aside from warm summer nights): amazing bagels! Armed with our culinary experience, love of food and desire to work together, we decided to open our own bagel shop and bring old-school, traditional bagels to the Bay Area.
Our inspiration came from the bagel shops of Montreal, where bagels are rolled by hand, boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood-fired oven. We loved the artisan process and the bagel it created. We have made a few tweaks and adjustments to create bagels that are truly our own and just how we like them: chewy on the inside with a nice crust and tons of seeds on the outside. Prepared with organic ingredients and baked in small batches throughout the day, there will always be a fresh, warm bagel waiting for you.
XO– AMY & BLAKE
Montreal Style Bagels
No one knows the exact origin of bagels, but they were probably first baked in Poland in the early 1600s. They became popular and spread throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. In the late 1800s, many Jews emigrated to North America to escape anti-Jewish pogroms and economic problems. Most came to the United States, but a sizable number went to Canada, primarily Montreal. Along with their rich culture and traditions, they brought their bagel-making skills with them.
Who baked the first Montreal bagel is still a matter of debate. Some claim it was Myer Lewkowicz, founder of St. Viateur Bagel, while others say it was Isadore Shlafman, founder of Fairmount Bagels. Joe King, a Montreal Jewry historian, believes bagels were introduced by Chaim Seligman, who once was a partner of both Lewkowicz and Shlafman. Jon Seligman, Chaim’s great grandson, gives an excellent description of Montreal bagels and how they differ from those made in New York on his website www.seligman.org.
According to Seligman, “Montreal Bagels…are a different breed, chewy and tinged with a tantalizing sweetness. The real thing is still baked in wood ovens, which give the bagels an irregularly charred outer surface. With no chemical additives or dough conditioners, these bagels stand out in gastronomic genius, velvety texture, and shiny good looks.”
He continues: “In contrast to the machine-made New York-style bagel, Montreal bagels are hand prepared from a strip of dough that has been formed into a circle and rolled on the seam, producing a bagel that is smaller, sweeter, denser, and with a larger hole. The bagel…is boiled in honey-sweetened water and then dipped in poppy-seed (mohn) or sesame before being baked in a wood-fired oven. The irregular flames of the wood give it a dappled light-and-dark surface colour with a gloss imparted by their swim
in a bath of honey water.”