Here’s the whole schmeer on bagels at Max & Louie’s New York Diner and deli. You’ll learn why our bagels are so darned delicious, and enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek at how they’re made. You can also see a video version of this blog on Max & Louie’s TV, our YouTube channel, by clicking on the link to Max & Louie’s TV link at the end of this blog.
Let’s Cut to the Chase
Bagels are at the top of the list of foods associated with New York – right up there with pizza.
Why? They’re versatile and delicious! Bagels are perfect toasted with a plate of eggs for breakfast, or used as a hearty sandwich bread. The bagels at Max & Louie’s are also a satisfying snack with a cup of coffee any time of day.
Before we dive into why the bagels we serve at Max & Louie’s New York Diner are so good, let’s consider the history of bagels.
Bagels are an old-world food that originated in Poland in the 1600s. They came to the United States with Eastern European Jewish immigrants who settled primarily in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the mid to late 1800s.
Soon after their introduction in New York, bagels surged in popularity. For 50 years, a union of bagel-makers enforced strict rules on how the dough was made, how big bagels could be, and declared that all bagels had to be 100% hand made. When bagel-making machines were invented in the 1970s, mass-produced bagels grew into fluffy, soft things I call “a roll with a hole.”
Although it’s great that mass-produced bagels introduced bagels to people across America, machine-made bagels are no match for traditional hand-made bagels.
Here’s why: We love the old-school exterior crunch and dense interior chew of authentic New York bagels. That wonderful contrast of crunch and chew is the signature of all craft-made breads and simply can’t be duplicated with bagel machines. That’s why we only sell real-deal, handmade bagels at Max & Louie’s.
Another important difference between Max & Louie’s bagels and industrial bagels is our bagel dough is actually made for us with New York water and hand rolled for us by bagel experts in Brooklyn. A lot of people say that it’s the water that makes New York bagels taste better.
Once we receive the dough, we complete the process here in San Antonio – boiling them, adding all the seeds and onions and garlic and other flavorings to each batch – and then baking them in our unique bagel oven. We make and bake dozens and dozens of bagels every day, and each bagel at Max & Louie’s is 100% handmade. We’re pretty sure you can taste that, and we challenge you to come over and do your own taste test.
So, what about a bialy – the bagel’s cousin?
Bialys start with the same chewy yeast dough as a bagel, but they’re not boiled before being baked. The dough is flattened into a round shape with an indent in the center instead of a hole.
That little indent is the flavor center, and is filled with chopped onion, garlic, poppy seeds, and many other savory seasonings. You can treat a bialy like a bagel: Just cut it in half and schmeer it with butter or cream cheese. I like mine sliced, toasted and slathered in butter, ready to be dipped into egg yolks.
But to me, nothing is more delicious or more of an icon of New York than an everything bagel, schmeered with cream cheese and layered with plenty of smoked salmon. It transforms any day a joyous occasion.
Everything we serve here at Max & Louie’s New York Diner has a backstory and a place in our heart. I hope you’ll come in soon and try something new, something nostalgic, or something steeped in tradition.
And while you’re here, ask for me and let me know what you thought of the Max & Louie’s TV show about bagels, available in the link below.
See you soon,