When it comes to breakfast options, it does seem like the sky’s the limit. You can go with some toast, with eggs, bacon, and hotdogs. A full English breakfast is great. Others love fried rice, fried eggs, and some fried pork (or even fish). Or you can just go with some Wheaties or pancakes.
There are even those who just want their coffee, thanks. But with or without coffee, plenty of folks appreciate a breakfast of nicely crusty but doughy bruegger’s bagels, with a “schmear” of a thick layer of cream cheese on top.
Of course, it depends on the quality of the bagels. To get that breakfast bagel, you want that huge and fluffy New-York style bagels, and not those pitifully dry and bland bagels you might encounter in a grocery store.
The good news is that New York-style bagels aren’t really all that hard to come by. Not if you’re anywhere near to a Bruegger’s Bagels location. Chances are good, since they’re famous for being the largest bakery of genuine, kettle-boiled New York-style bagels.
They run almost 200 locations spread across 22 states from California to Florida, and that includes D.C. You’re lucky if you live in Minnesota (27 locations), North Carolina (24), and California (19). Bruegger’s makes about 70 million bagels each year.
How Bruegger’s Makes Their Bagels
It’s the bagel-making process of Bruegger’s that accounts for a large part of the brand’s success. It’s not as if it’s overly complicated, since it only involves 5 ingredients to start with. They’re water, flour, yeast, salt, and malt. This recipe hasn’t changed sine Bruegger’s started out back in 1983.
This simple list of ingredients immediately makes Bruegger’s bagels a lot different than many others. There aren’t any oils or preservatives used here. You can’t say the same about the bagels you’ll find in a grocery store, or even in lots of other fast-food breakfast chain restaurants out there.
With some other bagel shops, the makers might then just steam the bagels or bake them right away. Not so with Bruegger’s, as they first ferment the dough for days. Then they boil the bagels in a kettle before baking them. The kettle-boiling step is responsible for getting those bagels that crusty outside that these bagels are famous for. Also, the crusty exterior keeps the doughy interior as fluffy as can be.
And they’re never frozen. Bruegger’s insists on baking them fresh for their customers. The makers make them in just small batches, so these bagels are always truly fresh.
The World’s Largest Bagel
Admittedly, a regular New York-style bagel is already massive compared to your standard bagel. They weigh in at a quarter of a pound. They also load you up with about 300 to 450 calories for each bagel. Since it’s hard to stick to just one bagel, these bagels aren’t exactly the darling food choices of strict nutritionists.
But then Bruegger’s really went all out back in 2004, during the New York state fair. That’s when they set the new Guinness Book record for the largest bagel in the world. That record still stands today.
They used 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of dough and 900 gallons of water While boiling took just 30 minutes, the whole baking process required more than 10 hours.
All that effort resulted in a bagel that was 6 feet in diameter and almost 20 inches thick. That’s the size of about 4,000 Bruegger’s bagels combined. It weighed about 394 kilograms (about 868 pounds).
They did serve slices of the bagel to onlookers, who were also encouraged to make some donations to local food banks. It wasn’t recorded as to how many people were required to finish off this bagel. You’d probably need about a thousand people, eating the equivalent of 4 bagels each!
The Bruegger’s Bagel Burger
Sure, you can always rely on Bruegger’s to offer their famous 14 different bagel flavors in each location. You can also expect that all the bagel prices will be reasonable. But Bruegger’s doesn’t just rest on their laurels, as they also like to innovate.
Which brings us to their bagel burger. This rather unusual item was listed on the Bruegger’s menu all across the US, although it was only for a limited time. Bruegger’s first introduced the bagel burger in a few locations in France, and it featured a quarter-pound beef patty set in between the 2 halves of a bagel. The French patrons liked it enough that it was brought to the US.
In the US, 2 versions of the bagel burger were offered. There was the Bistro bagel burger, with the classic cheeseburger combination on the bagel (the bagel flavor was up to you). And there was also the Barnyard bagel burger, with a fried egg on top of the patty.
These aren’t available anymore, but who knows? There’s always the chance that Bruegger’s Bagels may bring it back!