15 February 2022

A bagel in Paris



Above: home-made whole wheat water bagels; baker's dozen (two missing...); bagel tartines topped w/chicken salad (simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, capers, chopped mint, salt, pepper); another batch, oven ready

Toppings: black sesame and fennel seeds; sumac and fennel seeds; (not shown: coarse salt and za'atar, Middle Eastern mixture of sesame seeds, thyme, oregano - make your own or find at Lebanese market stalls)
Years ago in Spain I taught myself to make bagels. Quite simply, I craved them. I was living in Barcelona and the only thing I could find resembling a bagel was the sweet ensaïmada from Mallorca, not even close. I'd been making my own breads for awhile and found the entire process - measuring, mixing, kneading, letting the dough rise, baking (or, in the case of flatbreads, rolling out and pan grilling), all the way up to the final result - both relaxing and rewarding. And when I discovered a recipe hiding among the pages of a used paperback cookbook in an English-language book shop, I began to experiment until they were to my liking. Making bagels from scratch meant I could control their every aspect: size (I prefer smaller), type and quality of flour, toppings... which changed with every batch depending on what was on hand.

 To make the bagels I'd get up early, and as the weekend morning edged towards brunch time there would be drop-ins, music, gurgling pots of coffee, maybe a glass of something and, in colder weather, a blazing fire - and in no time at all the bagels were ready.
They were water bagels - boiled before baking. As soon as they were finished we'd split them open and grill them, open-faced, in the oven, then pile them alongside a huge platter of smoked salmon, flaked smoked whitefish, flavored (home made) cream cheeses, thinly-sliced tomatoes, red onions, capers, olive oil, lemons and sometimes, sliced avocados. Champagne with a splash of Cointreau, a "French touch" (thank you Ralph), was the accompaniment. And to finish, strong Moroccan spiced espresso in demi-tasse cups.

So where is my favorite bagel in Paris? As of this posting, and as far as I'm concerned, chez moi. - BPJ

[These photos plus a few more were sent to the brother of the late Barry Greenblatt of Barry Bagels of Ohio. I am told they "made his mouth water"... And that's good enough for me.]
Paris has some very good bagel shops and cafés. Look up:
Factory & Co.
Bagels & Brownies
American Corner
Bagel Baget Cafe
Mel, Mich & Martin
Bob’s Kitchen
Bagelstein (franchise)
Bob's Juice Bar
Bagel & Cream
Ari's Bagels
Ô Bubble - Bubble Tea Bar
Ben’s Bagels
[Re-post w/update]

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