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When Were Bagels Invented and by Whom? Unveiling History

Quick question: What do you prefer for breakfast – a full-spread meal or something handy to have on the go? We would say bagels on the go!

Did you know that around 202.07 million Americans consumed bagels solely in 2020, and the figure is projected to increase to 205.34 million by 2024? These whopping figures make it one of the most preferred food items for breakfast.

The popularity of this humble food has made us curious to learn more about its origin, including when were bagels invented and what is the history of bagels.

If you are also interested in knowing the bagel history, join the clan and scroll down, as we have compiled a lot of information on this for you!

When Were Bagels Invented?


Today’s bagel was introduced in 1683 as a tribute to King Jan Sobieski, who had made  Poland win over Turkish invaders, riding on the back of his beloved horse. In remembrance of the well-known horse lover, a Polish baker formed his obwarzanek into rings that resembled boot stirrups, called “beugel” in German.

Over the ensuing century, bagels gained national attention and became the subject of numerous songs. Every day, one could find Polish people of all ages eating the Sobieski-honored snack—including babies, who were frequently handed bagels to use as teething rings.

Complete History of Bagels – Who Invented the Bagel?

Let’s begin with the story that has been told the most. One day, a humble Vienna baker decided to honor Poland’s late 17th-century King Jan Sobieski III with a bread creation. It is reasonable that the Austrian people would wish to keep the hero as King Jan had saved them from Turkish invaders. Aware of the king’s intense passion for horses, the baker created a yeast dough featuring a circle in the center, which he named the beugel (the Austrian word for “stirrup”). King Jan loved the bagel so much that it became his and his people’s preferred breakfast food.

Naturally, we don’t want to ruin a nice tale, but the presence of the bagel dates back to a time before King Jan was even a passing thought in his father’s mind. According to researchers, pretzel dough was initially used to make bagel dough sometime in the 1200s. Pretzels were carried to Poland by German immigrants. The Jewish Poles rapidly took up this novel bread, who then gave it a hole in the middle and called it obwarzanek.

Back in the 1200s Jews were prohibited from baking bread which was due to the connections between the sacrament and bread. Regarding the Jewish population in the country, Poland was considered relatively progressive, and Jews were permitted to work with bread. But since it got a lot of backlash, Jews either invented or embraced bagels (historians disagree).

Later, in the late 1300s, Polish people elected their 10-year-old Queen Jadwiga to become the first female ruler of Poland. She was intelligent and compassionate. Jadwiga was well-liked by her people and well-known for her selfless deeds and compassion toward peasants. One time for Lent, the Queen Jadwiga chose to forgo sweet breads and pastries and instead opted for obwarzanek. Even though obwarzanek wasn’t an inexpensive bread that the people would readily eat,  it presented her positively. In fact, some people even tried to buy the white flour needed for the recipe.

How Bagels Arrived in the US?


How Bagels Arrived in the US
Source: nycbageltours.com

For the first time, Bagels came to America with the European Jews who started residing there in the 1800s. However, decades would pass before they were widely consumed outside of neighborhoods populated by Jewish immigrants. It is noted by historian Matthew Goodman that “bagels existed in America for decades as a purely ethnic phenomenon, virtually unknown to society at large.”

However, the humble food remained significant to Jewish immigrants and was crucial to the American labor movement. New York bagel bakers founded the International Beigel Bakers Union in 1907 to discourage customers from supporting bakeries that forced their immigrant workers to work long hours for little pay in hot, vermin-infested bakeries.

The union, which was exclusively Jewish, took great care to preserve the recipe for its bread and encouraged Jews to patronize other union-owned stores rather than surrendering their business to proprietors who took advantage of recently arrived immigrants. Throughout the 20th century, members organized multiple successful strikes, earning the union a reputation as one of the most prosperous in the rapidly expanding American labor movement.

However, the broad use of the bagel-making machine and the abundance of adoption of the “bagel-making machine” marked the end of the dominance of the bagel unions.

The bagel machine was first created in 1918 by Canadian baker Meyer Thompson and made available in the United States in the 1960s. Daniel, the son of Thompson, licensed the technology to Murray Lender to increase sales at his bakery in New Haven, Connecticut. Lender then used the new equipment to invent pre-sliced, frozen bagels and bagel varieties other than plain and salt ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lox and bagels are one of the best Jewish deli classics is bagels and lox, which is often made up of an open-faced or ring-shaped piece of bread called a bagel topped with lox, cream cheese, briny capers, and thinly sliced red onions. A lox bagel is a breakfast dish that usually consists of both bagel and lox.

The fundamental shape dates back hundreds of years and has several useful uses in addition to ensuring that the bread bakes and cooks evenly. Additionally, the hole made it possible to thread or stack them high on a dowel, making them simpler to ship and display.

If you reside in New York and are wondering where to order freshly prepared bagels from, check out New York Bagels, the world’s largest bakers mastered in delivering bagels all across the city.

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