How To Keep The Bagels Fresh And Make The Magic Last A Bit Longer

If it was up to my boys, we would eat bagels every morning! They cannot do without this round, soft, tasty buns, and to be quite honest, my hubby and I grew to love them as well.

We have tried numerous bagels, and finally found a shop that makes them just as we like them - crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. Unfortunately, the shop that sales our favorite bagels is not anywhere near our house and we need to drive quite a distance to get them.

It can be quite tiring to get up in the morning and have to go out for a half an hour drive in order to get your fresh morning bagels. And we all know how quickly bagels go stale and lose that something that makes them so magical in the first place.

Therefore, my mission today is to discover how to keep the bagels fresh and make the magic last even a bit longer. Join me! 🙂

A Little Bit About Bagels

Who doesn't know what a bagel is, right? Well, you might know how it looks and tastes but it does not hurt to learn a bit more about this all-American breakfast bun.

Although most people connect bagels with Jewish food in America, these rolls with a hole are actually centuries old. From the Egyptians to the Romans and the Chinese, most ancient people had some kind of a bagel-like treat. Even the Egyptian hieroglyphics at the Louvre in Paris depict the rolls with a hole.

At first, bagels were not boiled as we Americans do it today. It is speculated that first boiled bagel came to be in Krakow after the 1683 Battle of Vienna. It was supposedly baked in honor of Jan Sobieski and his victory over the invading Turkish Empire.

No matter how and when bagels came to be, their popularity spread quickly due to the fact that they stayed fresh longer than regular baked bread. Bagels had the crispy, shiny protective crust that kept the inside softer for longer. People also liked the practical side of the bagel as it was easy to transport and could be dunked in tea or milk when a bit stale and still be enjoyed almost as when fresh.

When bagels reached the American ground, the bagel mania spread like crazy. The first International Beigel Bakers' Union was founded in New York, but these unusual buns soon became popular all over the USA. Their advantage was the neutral taste, and the fact that they did not look or taste ethnic, so everyone liked them.


How to Keep Bagels Fresh

If you are anything like my boys and me, and you want to enjoy bagels almost every day of the week, you will surely appreciate the tips I have gathered regarding how to keep them fresh for longer.

The most important rule is: More air and sun exposure = more stale bagels!

1. Keeping Bagels Fresh Overnight

  • You can take the bagels home packed in a plastic or paper bag and simply leave them that way. There should be no air left in the bag though, so try to press it out and seal the bag before you place it in a pantry or your cupboard.
  • Try to place the bag with bagels in a dark spot as direct sunlight can make them soggy, especially when they are in a plastic bag. Paper bag is a better solution in any case, so if you have one available, use!

2. Keeping Bagels Fresh for Up to Three Days

  • If you want your bagels to stay fresh for up to three days (some say up to five, but I do not agree), you have to refrigerate them. You can use the plastic bag once again, but an airtight container would be a much better solution.
  • Make sure that bagels are not warm before you put them in the fridge or they will become soggy. Avoid crowding warm bagels altogether as that will crush and deform them. 

3. Keeping Bagels Fresh For up to Three Months

  • If you want to have fresh bagels available at all times and cannot run to get them whenever you need them, freezing them is a perfect solution. Frozen bagels keep their initial quality for up to three months, although I personally feel that the sooner you eat them, the better they will taste. As far as your health is concerned, you can leave the bagels frozen even longer.
  • It is best to slice the bagels in half before freezing. You will need an airtight, freezer-safe plastic bag too, or, alternatively, you can wrap each bagel in aluminum foil. For maximum freshness, freeze fresh bagels. 

How to Warm Up Your Bagels the Right Way

If you have refrigerated or frozen the bagels, you will need to warm them up before serving:

1. Refrigerated Bagels

  • OVENThey can be warmed in the oven. Simply sprinkle them with some water and wrap them in an aluminum foil (if you do not have foil, you can use a damp paper bag)
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the bagels in. Take them out after 10 to 15 minutes. As an alternative, you can dip each bagel in water for a few seconds and then place them on a baking sheet. Leave them uncovered and heat them in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  • MICROWAVEI personally try to avoid this method as much as possible, as the microwave can alter the texture of the bagels. If you still want to try it or have no alternative, put the bagels in the microwave as soon as you take them out of the refrigerator or freezer. The microwave should be on medium settings, and you should run it for about 30 seconds. If you heat them for longer, you will make them softer, and their crispness will be completely gone. 

2. Frozen Bagels

  • TOAST: Warm up the toaster and place the bagels in it directly out of the freezer. No thawing necessary!
  • OVEN: Frozen bagels can go directly into a preheated oven as well. They can be wrapped in foil first or placed directly on a baking sheet as well.
  • MICROWAVE: The process is the same as with the refrigerated bagels, the only difference being the time needed. Namely, you will have to set your microwave to at least one minute or so.

Extra Tips:

  1. If you do not eat the bagels right away - freeze them! Leaving them out will make the bagels stale in no time, and then there is nothing you can do to make them taste as fresh again!
  2. If you plan to eat the bagels the next morning, put them in a pantry rather than your fridge. The fridge will inevitably dry them up a bit and make them chewy.
  3. I said this once, and I’ll say it again - avoid the microwave as much as possible! If you are on the go and have no alternative - it is ok, but in any other case DO NOT DO IT! It will make the bagels rubbery, moist and steamy and that simply should not be the case!
  4. Toast the bagels as often as possible - they are meant to be eaten hot and toasty!
  5. Consider getting a bagel slicers for quick and easy cutting of the bagels in halves.
  6. Toast different varieties separately as to avoid flavor transfers.

Conclusion

We all now know how to keep our favorite bagels fresh and can run to our favorite store and buy a dozen or a two! Having them around at all times is sure to come in handy…

I do not know about you, but I am mouth watering after mentioning bagels so much.

I go set up my toaster now! 😉

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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