What's the difference between a Montreal-style bagel and a NYC-style bagel?
- ipsedixit Aug 18, 2009 08:56 AM
Is there one? If so, what is it?
Not asking which one is better, but just if there is a difference between the two.
If I remember correctly - and it has been years since I've seen anyone make bagels - bagels in Montreal (at least around the Eastern Townships) have some sugar in the dough, then are boiled in water with either sugar or honey, before being baked.
 Ignore my post because (1) I just had it pointed out to me that the only place I've ever seen bagels being made is in Rosemont years ago when I lived with my Grandparents, so the bagels may have been some sort of Polish/Ukrainian recipe/variation, not necessarily a 'true' Montreal-style bagel, and (2) as I've never seen anyone make a bagel in NY, so they may all be boiled with sugar or honey. Basically I don't, as usual, know what I'm typing about.
one is good while the other is not. (depending from where you are).
seriously, the NY style bagel has more of a bread texture than the MTL one; and is a bit less sweet.
Montreal bagels are sweeter and much much smaller. The bagel part itself is very dense, with no salt, and sort of thinner - closer to a pretzel in proportion than what most people expect of a bagel. They are boiled first, then very very heavily coated on both sides with sesame seeds (other toppings are available but they are considered an aberration) and baked in a real honest-to-goodness wood burning oven. They're fantastic when fresh - you can eat them with nothing on them and they're delicious. But the texture quickly deteriorates as they cool. After a day, you only want them toasted.
New York bagels are big, heavy and with a proportionally tiny hole compared to the bagel part itself. They tend to be quite dense, the dough is lightly salted and not at all sweet. A decent NY bagel can easily be sliced into three layers to maximize surface area for the application of cream cheese etc. They come with a multitude of topping options, with the most popular ones being either poppy seeds or "everything" (this is my observation). I'm pretty sure these are also boiled before baking but I doubt a wood oven is used very often.
Does this help?
Yes - I'm thinking exactly of Ess-a-Bagel and H&H. My husband, whose bagel technique gives me the willies, slices all bagels - even Montreal ones occasionally - into three in order to provide an extra layer on which to slather things. I find it especially disturbing when he tops his bagel slices with prosciutto and brie. This just seems wrong, doesn't it?
The boiling water differs too: Montreal - honey is added; NY - malt barley. Sometimes malt barley syrup or powder is added to the dough too (NY that is).