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Are you a bagel scooper?

As I really don't eat bagels anymore (haven't had one in years), I've never heard about this bagel scooping business until I read this on Grub Street. Essentially, it's eating the bagel with the innards removed. I understand if you do it because you like the taste of the chewy exterior. But it seems that a lot of people do that to save on calories. I'm wondering -- why don't you eat just half a bagel instead of scooping? Is it because you can't control yourself to eat just half? I'm really curious.


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  1. It probably has something to do with the fact that bagels have gotten so big. According to the classic article by Ed Levine, bagels have grown fron 3 oz. in 1960 to 6 or 7 oz. today.


    Actually, I count myself lucky when I can even find a bagel with a chewey exterior.

    1. when i used to be able to eat them, we'd scoop em, sprinkle with a little low fat cheese, toast til melty and fill w/ salsa and/or cottage cheese.

      a scooped bagel allows for filling... we also used to scoop bagels and toast, then fill w/ tuna salad, sliced tomato, and a cheese slice.

      1. This is hilarious. My brother Lurker W who lives in New York is a bagel scooper. He gets his bagels at Ess-A-Bagel. Ess-A has massive bagels. He fills the crust with cottage cheese, which would just fall off half a bagel.

        He does do his own scooping, in the privacy of his kitchen, unlike the people in the article.

        1. Like the other posts on here, it's about the filling! for breakfast I'll spread a little hummus after scooping and fill with egg whites. A scooped out bagel is a great 'vehicle.' All the dough in today's bagels can leave you feeling so full and heavy too. At least with an everything bagel, all the good stuff (flavor) is on the outside so you don't lose taste!

          1. My best friend's sister has been scooping for years. Don't know whether it's a coincidence or not, but she buys her bagels at Ess-a-Bagel. I know that for her it's strictly a calorie/carbs issue not a better-to-hold-the-filling issue. And she eats half of a scooped bagel so it's not a question of control issue in that sense. But it is definitely is a question of control.

            1. It's not that I can't control myself, but why have half when I can have whole? Plus it makes more room for lox and cream cheese (which pretty much negates the calorie saving) while maintaining the garlicky, salty exterior. Never knew that I could do such a thing until visiting Ess-a-bagel myself.

              1. I'm a bagel scooper if I'm eating a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter or some other kind of sandwich. I makes a nice little reservoir that holds everything in the bagel, no smooshing out the sides getting messy when you bit into it. I scoop more for cream cheese or peanut butter less if it is a meat /cheese type, just enough to keep mayo/ mustard in place. I never scoop if I toast the bagel and put butter or if i plan on eating only one side at a time, no smooshing that way.

                1. I haven't been keeping up with the latest bagel scene either, although I used to make my own 3-oz bagels to bring to work for lunch 10 years ago. However I do understand the urge to save on carbs by "scooping" the bagels, them being so big these days. There is simply too much dough in comparison to the golden, chewy crust (i.e. the dough-to-crust ratio.) It's just like how I typically scoop my bread roll/baguette to lighten up that ratio when making a sandwich, because I prefer a certain crust-to-dough-to-filling ratio. And in case anyone wonders, I save the doughy insides for a snack to go with butter at a later time.

                  One jarring question that doesn't seem to have been addressed anywhere but nonetheless of important. In the stores where they scoop the bagels behind the counter for their customers -- do they collect the insides and, and the end of the day, ship them to places where starving people can use more food?

                  1. oh, how i miss bagels!

                    yep, when i used to eat them, i scooped. started doing it about 12 years ago, and turned so many people on to the method. scoop out most of the interior, toast the remaining shell until nice & crispy, and fill with your favorite toppings: cottage cheese; tuna salad; egg salad; cream cheese, nova, capers, tomato & onion; cream cheese, turkey & tomato [hey, don't knock it 'til you've tried it]...

                    when i worked at a PR firm in jersey for a brief period of time, the local bagel shop would do it for me and fill it with their excellent tuna salad. definitely cuts down on the messiness/drippiness factor.

                    1. Omg. I have never heard of this trend before. It sounds absurd, b/c people often don't eat bread ends (whereas that is my favorite part! Unless I'm making a sandwich), so it sounds absurd that with bagels, people prefer eating just the ends, which is essentially what scooping sounds like.

                      I only have bagels when I'm in NY, b/c the ones here are so lousy. Also, I can never eat a whole one, so that is also another reason I hardly ever eat them. On the rare occasion that I have bagels, I usually slice into 3 or 4 pieces and have 1 or 2 pieces.

                      Actually, when I was growing up and my mom occasionally got bagels, this is always how we ate them. She'd slice them up into 4 or 5 smaller pieces, and we'd toast them. Then I found out either in high school or college that you're actually supposed to eat the whole thing!

                      1. I do it cause I only like the crispiness of the outside. Not a fan of the soft inside. I do the same with Bertucci's rolls. Plus it saves calories.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: carey24

                          Why would anyone scoop when they can smash down the insides and load up with anything they wish?

                          What a waste of money.

                          1. re: dolores

                            dolores...it's only a waste if you discard the innards. i used to break the dough into small pieces, toast in a sheet pan, and either munch as a separate crunchy snack or use as croutons for my salad.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Hah....good idea, goodhealthgourmet. You're correct, I was thinking of those in a bagel shop who probably aren't as smart!

                        2. I do this, but I call scooping "pulling out the guts"!

                          I can save a few un-need bread calories and use it for delicious toppings or spreads.

                          I also get too full on a huge bagel, so the innards are not necessary to my appetite. And I do perfer the crusty outer part (especially if it's a everything bagel) to the doughy insides.

                          I could have just half, but why would I when I can have a whole!

                          1. Its criminal and should not be allowed. If the bagel is too big just eat less of it. A bagel, esp an Ess-a-Bagel, is the balance of chewy crust to tender inside.

                            1. I love bagel crust. That is why *I* scoop (and the dog is quite happy with the "innards"). What I miss are flagels. Thoses were the perfect solution for me---more crust, less dough. I am thinking I will never find them in Buffalo, NY

                              1. I'm curious. Do the people who scoop b/c they prefer the crust eat bread ends? It seems inconsistent for people who scoop to get more crust to also not like bread ends.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: anzu

                                  Yes, I also fight for the ends of the bread :) And NO, I did NOT want the crusts cut off my bread when I was a child!

                                  1. re: anzu

                                    bread crust & the outside of a bagel aren't necessarily the same thing...particularly considering that the flavor & texture of crust varies widely among different types of bread. i was a habitual bagel scooper, but i'd never want to eat the heel from a loaf of basic wheat bread...however, give me the end of a loaf of rye or a challah - both of which are more similar to a bagel exterior - and i'd be all over it. [not for making a sandwich, just for eating on its own.]

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I agree. It depends on the type of bread. Some have a crust which has a lot of flavor/texture, while some are a bit bitter.

                                  2. I am fortunate to live in Montreal, where the Montreal-style bagel rules. This is not a scooping bagel. No scoops allowed! I think it would be very hard to scoop one of these bagels without destroying it.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: moh

                                      How does a Montreal-style bagel differ from NY bagels?

                                      1. re: anzu

                                        Oh, they are so much better than NY bagels (IMO). They're smaller, denser and not as fluffy. They're sweeter as well. I think the standard comes studded with sesame seeds. Sadly, I haven't been able to find a Montreal bagel outside of Montreal. Toronto claims to have them, but they're lying.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          Anzu, Miss Needle's summary is very accurate. Because they are smaller and denser, it would be very hard to scoop out the inside. Also, the width of the ring of bagel can be variable in spots, and if you try to scoop out the center, it would be very easy to tear the bagel at the thinnest parts.

                                          The sweetness comes from the initial process of making the bagel. They make the dough, then form the rings, and boil the bagel in honey water. Then they dip it in sesame seeds (or poppy seeds, or whatever) and then bake them in a wood-fired oven.

                                          1. re: moh

                                            Wow. As a former NJer (I know NYers would object if I call myself a NYer, but here, I lump them together geographically), I'm shocked to hear that there are bagels that are actually better than NY ones.

                                            I grew up on them, and they are far superior to the things they sell here on the left coast that they call bagels, but are so not!

                                            The Montreal ones sound yummy. So there are no everything, or blueberry or asiago cheese or choco chip Montreal bagels, huh?

                                            I'm now going to add Montreal bagels to the list of "things I need to try before I die"! Thanks for the explanation. :)

                                            1. re: anzu

                                              "So there are no everything, or blueberry or asiago cheese or choco chip Montreal bagels, huh?"

                                              Well, there are some variations on the Montreal bagel. Onion, cinnamon and raisin, whole wheat, things like that. But the purists stick to sesame, or rarely, poppyseed. I tend to buy sesame because they are the biggest sellers, and it is the flavour most likely to still be hot from the oven. They are really amazing when still hot... at 3:00 am after a long cold winter night, they are killer...

                                              The whole NY vs. Montreal bagel war is a long, heated one. I personally prefer Montreal bagels, but it does come down to personal preference. There are even debates about who makes the best Montreal bagel, Fairmount vs. St. Viateur. All good, I say. But you do have to be careful, we have had some "montreal-style" bagels in other cities, and they are at best poor impostors. So wait until you are in Montreal, and search out the original. It is well worth holding out for the real thing.

                                          2. re: Miss Needle

                                            "Toronto claims to have them, but they're lying."
                                            i'm not sure why, but that cracked me up :)

                                      2. I haven't done it but like the idea. I haven't had a bagel sandwich or a bagel stuffed in years but the stuffing falls out the back side. If it were scooped, the stuffing would stay nicely inside. As to throwing out the edge pieces of bread, I fight for it, if it's nice crusty bread but if it's just a plain loaf of bread, I don't. But, for people worried about wasting the innards, if I did it, I'd probably eat the innards separately. I think because it's been a long time since I've had a good bagel, I'd hate to waste any of it.

                                        1. I scoop sub rolls too. Learned that watching subs (hoagies) being made at my favorite mom&pop sandwich shop years ago in my teens. They still grill up fine and everything sits nicely on the inside and the bread doesn't mush or roll off to the sides. Now, like others, I save the insides and turn them into bread crumbs. Never thought about the saving carbs/cals aspect but hey, that's a good thing too!

                                          1. I'm definitely NOT a scooper...the dough is the best part! I don't even understand the concept either...what's left of the bagel?! This makes me frustrated. Haha.

                                            1. This sounds a lot like the "diet Coke and dessert" rationalizing act... But I'm all in favor of tweaking food construction for easier eating (except for soup in bread bowls, just say no).

                                              HOWEVER- from experience on the opposite side of the kitchen line - know that your bagel sandwich makers are gnashing their teeth and cursing at your scooping requests. (It takes more time than you'd think to scoop without tearing through, throws off a line's rhythm, and has a twinge of... elitism? attitude? insult? there's something emotional there, being asked to gouge and toss out part of your meal before you'll touch it).