A bagel is a bread product, traditionally made of yeasted wheat dough in the form of a roughly hand-sized ring which is first boiled in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. Bagels are often topped with seeds baked onto the outer crust, with the most traditional being poppy or sesame seeds. Some even have salt sprinkled on the surface of the bagel.
Bagels have become a popular bread product in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom especially in cities with large Jewish populations, such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, London and Manchester, each with different ways of making the bagel. In Yiddish, it is spelled beigel.
Bagels were derived from the similarly shaped doughnuts and from the similarly textured bialys, primarily because of the cooking method amongst other differences. Russian bubliks are very similar to bagels, but are somewhat bigger, have a wider hole, and are drier and chewier. Pretzels, especially the large soft ones, are also very much like bagels, the main exceptions being the shape and the alkaline water bath that makes the surface dark and glossy.
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