When we were in the initial planning stages for the Bāgery, we made some hard lines in the sand that we refused to cross. We wanted to serve food with integrity, not just rest on trendy buzzwords and catchphrases. The four corners of that foundation are that:

  • We must be honest about our ingredients
  • We will use high-quality ingredients
  • We would use organic and natural products when possible
  • All ingredients would be necessary to produce our offerings

Being that we are a bagel shop, it was crucial that our bagels represented this philosophy. Before large-scale industrialization took over how most of our food is produced, the food we ate used simple ingredients. The link between industrialized cheap foods and our health is just starting to be understood. We don’t eat that way at our home and certainly wouldn’t feed it to others. To profit off that would be immoral.

So we went old-school. Most breads are made with flour, water, yeast, sugar and a bit of salt. Our plain bagels also include diastatic malt which is a sprouted grain that is dried and ground. This process is done to activate the enzymes in the grain which aids in rise, crumb and crust development.

That’s it. That’s all you need to make a plain bagel. That’s what we use and are proud of that fact. We do take it a step further and use organic flours. Again, it’s how we choose to eat at home. It is more important now since glyphosate (Roundup) has been turning up in grain products as of late. Some of our customers may not care about organic products and that’s ok, we’ve still got your back.

So today I was in a local store, which I’ll be kind enough not to name, and noticed a cheap bag of plain “bagels” (see If It’s Not Boiled, It’s Not a Bagel) that they allegedly make in the store. I stress that they were allegedly made there because I looked all over their bakery and they don’t have the equipment to produce the product they were selling. Maybe the equipment was hidden somewhere or more likely, it was produced somewhere else, par-baked (partially baked) and shipped frozen to be finished off in the store. This is done very often in chain restaurants and grocery stores and promoted as made in-house. My grandmother would have called phooey while in the military we had another term for it… Bravo Sierra.

Debate about provenance aside, I flipped over the bag to look at the ingredients. I can’t say I was surprised but they were as follows:

Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Wheat Flour, Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, Degerminated Yellow Corn Meal, Yeast, Wheat Flour, Inactive Yeast, Enzymes, Vinegar, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Malted Barley Flour, Soybean Oil, Ascorbic Acid.

We had another term in the military for how I felt after reading that… Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

So I asked myself, what is included in all the other fake bagels in town? I drove around to several venues and discovered ingredients such as:

Exhibit #2
Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Brown Sugar, Salt, Dough Improver (Malted Wheat Flour, Wheat Flour, Inactivated Yeast, Acerola Extract, Fungal Enzymes), Yeast (Yeast, Sorbitan Monostearate, Ascorbic Acid).

Exhibit #3
Hi Gluten Enriched Unbleached Unbromated Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Enzyme), Water, Granulated Sugar, Salt, Dough Conditioner (Wheat Flour, Salt, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (Ssl), Soybean Oil, Ascorbic Acid, L-Cysteine, Enzymes), Yeast, Cornmeal.

Exhibit #4
Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Sugar, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Cornmeal, Calcium Propionate & Sorbic Acid (To Preserve Freshness), Monoglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Citric Acid, Xantham Gum, Soy Lecithin.

About half of those ingredients I’m not sure anyone would call food. Hungry? How about a big serving of Calcium Propionate? It’s a toxic mold inhibitor. Umm, no thanks.

While we are the only organic bagel shop within, oh, 300 miles or so, we don’t want to freak you out and say that you must only eat our product. We only ask that you stop eating that other stuff because it isn’t food.