The bagel, bread of Jewish origin sanctified in New York makes its way to Spain Gastronomy: recipes, restaurants and drinks

There are few places where they are made, but they are increasingly on the menus of specialty coffees and wherever they are served. brunch, They can be seen wrapped in plastic on supermarket shelves, begging way between hamburger buns and hot dogs. The ones stuffed with cream cheese and salmon are classic; more gastric pulled pork Shredded Pork with Pickles and Barbecue Sauce; or sweet, with peanut butter and jelly. They also exist in colours. There is no one recipe for bagels and their versatility invites a thousand and one accompaniments, but whatever they are, they have in recent years gone from a nearly non-existent presence in Spain to satisfying the nostalgia of expatriates and serving themselves and Have gone to know more. More. among the local people. “There’s a queue on the weekend,” says Tamara Cohen, 31, and one of the partners of Mazal Bagels of three years in Madrid.

In addition to being a cafeteria, Mazal is also a workshop, turning out 300 bagels daily, Monday through Friday, and 600 on the weekend. Cohen and his team, made up of 20 people, also sell to other establishments throughout Spain that serve this product, but do not have the capacity to produce it. “Before that there were emergency bagels, but not real ones, but ones that tell their story in perfect Spanish,” says Cohen, who was born in Philadelphia. He moved to Madrid eight years ago to become a conversational assistant, but the confectionary turned his life around. and what began as a monetized hobby – he made and sold American sweets at home – became a well-rounded business, better never said, for Holy Bagels. The Jewish-born entrepreneur recalls, “My Someone in Spanish class put up in a Facebook group that the one I made at home was ‘the best bagel I’ve ever had in Europe.'” Bread’s

Tamara Cohen works to make bagels at Mazal Workshop in Madrid. John Barbosa

Mazal—luck, in Hebrew—are New York style. Compared to Montreal’s ones—sweetened due to honey in water and cooked in a wood oven—the American variety is “larger, crispier on the outside and fluffy on the inside,” explains Cohen. In his shop they are made from flour, water, salt, sugar, malt and yeast, leavened and then baked. “It is very important that we do it the traditional way,” he stresses, making sure that those that are not sold that day are not thrown out the next day. To dispose of the surplus, they use the Too Good To Go application, and in total, on store shelves, they offer 10 different types that cost 1.50 euros per unit – Natural, Sesame and Poppy – But they range from the most traditional to others. Innovative ones, such as cheddar cheese with jalapeños and cinnamon and raisins (1.70 euros each). “We also create flavors according to the season,” he says. Before serving, they are lightly toasted and can then be eaten with a savory filling – pastrami, salmon, eggs and bacon – or sweet – with “natural” peanut butter, calca, jam or chocolate cream.

Unlike the bagels Cohen serves at Mazal, Nick Sullivan and Paloma Tejada are sourdough and “slow-fermented”. The owner of Nopa Bagels (Meléndez Valdés, 51, Madrid), a New Yorker and Asturian, makes several references to this formula, which, in his words, makes this product “healthy and easy to digest”. “Good things take time,” says Sullivan, who, after setting up a human rights school, has embodied his dream for “49 Tacos: Unifying Music”—for which he has worked since the age of 13. Has dedicated itself to – Coffee specialties and good food under one roof. Everything is made by hand at Nopa, which opened in January, he assures, as if it “could be a workshop from 200 years ago”, with raw materials chosen with great care. The flour, for example, comes from Zamora and the smoked salmon they use as a filling is from Pescaderias Coruñas. The same goes for the rest of the products served on the premises: coffee from Hola Coffee and Puchero, and also chocolate, from the latter.

Paloma Tejada and Nick Sullivan, owners of Nopa Bagels in Madrid.Samuel Sanchez

Nopa—an acronym for the couple’s family names: Nick, Paloma, Olaya, and Andrea, their daughters—isn’t an oddly designed specialty coffee shop, but Sullivan and Tejada’s mission to “bring back a little piece of New York.” Keeping in mind the goal of For his “New Brooklyn”. That’s what they call this area of ​​the Chambery neighborhood in Madrid, where in just four months, with the bagel as their flag, they’ve managed to attract a heterogeneous audience, ranging from expatriate Americans to 70- and 80-year-olds. are of age. The women are converted to good coffee and for which Tejada shows a weakness. “The team knows that you have to give them special treatment and, for example, serve them at the table,” he says. And it is that among the objectives of this wedding is not only to honor one of the products that they consumed most during their stay in the North American city, but also to build a community and be as sustainable as possible is also. “We want to have a social impact and we work with the team in a different way. We listen and they listen to us,” says Tejada, who quit her position at a large bank to start the project and at the same time devoted himself to teach and team management,

Nopa Bagels’ hipster bagel is vegetarian and includes hummus, avocado, tomato, arugula, pickled onions, and vinaigrette. Samuel Sanchez
Mustafa Kamal, baker, and Nick Sullivan, owner of Nopa Bagels, divide up the bagel batter. Samuel Sanchez
Kamal and Sullivan work at a local bakery kneading dough. Samuel Sanchez
The round shape that is characteristic of bagels is made by hand. Samuel Sanchez
100 to 200 bagels come out of the Nopa Bagels Workshop daily.Samuel Sanchez
Nick Sullivan spreading hummus on a bagel. Samuel Sanchez
‘Hipster’ bagel topped with vinaigrette sauce. Samuel Sanchez

When asked what a good bagel should be like, Sullivan is certain: “It should have a thin crust on the outside that should be crispy, have resistance in the mouth. Inside, a consistent mass, but not heavy. This is one such bread.” There must be one that can withstand everything: sauce, meat or cream cheese”. Depending on the day of the week, between 100 and 200 a day come out of the oven in his workshop, and he always has eight fixed varieties on his menu: normal, henna, Jatar – a typical Middle Eastern blend of spices “for the most adventurous palate” – poppy seeds, black and white sesame seeds, cinnamon and raisins, Everything – with all kinds of seeds – and cheddar cheese, “Americans’ favorite”. Prices range from 1.75 Euro for the simplest to 2.75 for the unit Everything, “Many people take them home because they can also be frozen,” she qualifies.

The second city that concentrates the largest number of places dedicated to the bagel is Barcelona. A Google search is sufficient to turn up, first of all, at least five places in whose names the word appears and several cafes in which, at least, it is part of the menu. A walk around one also leads to Bones Foxes (Carrer del Segal XX, 43), formerly a workshop, now a school, where Mónica de la Asuncion Hernández teaches a workshop specifically dedicated to this type of bread. . “I tried them in Germany and there was none here. There was only one site in Barcelona and they were very industrial. The first course we did bagels And pretzel Because the cooking is the same, except the other is with caustic soda and the bagel with baking soda,” says Hernandez on the other end of the phone.

Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon Bagel from Pescaderías Coruñesas, made at Nopa Bagels. Samuel Sanchez

Bons Focs was born 14 years ago as a school, then it was a workshop, after all, and after increasing prices in recent months, returns to its original place as a place where classes are taught Are. “We paid a lot for electricity and we didn’t want to reduce the quality of the bread,” he explains. As a (self-taught) baker, she admits she always wanted to go “beyond the loaf” and thus, together with her team, she began making colorful bagels for her own consumption: Green, with Spirulina; Violet, with beetroot. “People were hooked, we launched them and they worked,” he says of the product, which he only makes for a few trusted customers at the moment. For the specialty coffee brand Café de finca, they produce, for example, in a black and yellow, the firm’s tones. “I sell them in packs of ten. In weekly orders, about 60. It is very small and they are places that have asked me for it as a favor,” he adds.

The bagel workshops taught by Hernandez began about five years ago, and since the pandemic, due to the restrictions at the time, they’ve practically become individual classes of about four people. The price is 80 euros and the duration is three and a half hours, in which you learn “how to work these poorly hydrated doughs and how to cook them to perfection”, says the website. “To me a bagel is a dough that should be like a car tire. Dense crusty dough. I understand that the client may ask for them soft (abriochados), but that is not a bagel,” Fernandez says.

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