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Wired: The Perfect Bagel Is Engineered in California

Bagels from Beauty’s Bagel Shop

In July, Wired released an article entitled “The Perfect Bagel is Engineered in California.” The URL slug includes “bagel-blasphemy.” I tend to agree. That said, the article was enlightening — lots of suggestions for bagels to try in the Bay Area.

The article focuses on Dan Graf, who runs Baron Baking. On making bagels:

“There’s a whole wealth of technology and applied science out there that is not being used in the culinary field,” Graf says.”It’s slowly working its way in… As people start to realize that you don’t need to be rooted as deeply in tradition, that there are other ways of doing things, there will be more people who are trying to kind of push the boundaries of what a specific food product is — that change it and tweak it.”

Graf knows this all too well: He’s competing locally with a raft of fellow bagel insurgents like Beauty’s Bagel Shop (“Montreal style”), Authentic Bagel Co. (a California-New York hybrid), and, perhaps Graf’s most respected competitor, Brooklyn-style Schmendricks. Like Graf and Baron Baking, Schmendricks uses a two-stage fermentation involving a slower “retardation” stage inside the refrigerator. Or at least that’s what Graf believes, based on his well-informed tasting of the competition.

Had a delicious bagel sandwich this morning at Beauty’s Bagels in Oakland (and bought six to eat for the rest of the week). Best bagel I’ve had in the Bay Area. Can’t speak to the others, but the bar has been set.