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To scoop or not?

I saw Midlife's other "bagel" thread and that inspired me. Have you heard of scooping bagels? (Scooping out the inside of a bagel, for reasons of being on a low-carb diet, taste preference, etc.) If you have, do you scoop or not scoop? If you don't scoop, what do you think of "scoopers"?

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  1. When I still ate bagels (one of only two carby foods I ever miss), I always ate everything ones, only less than half, and I always scooped out all the dough I could. Even with cream cheese and smoked salmon, it still spiked my blood glucose after eating, though, so I just gave it up.

    I think all the flavor is in the crust and flavorings, so I think scoopers are turning bagels into a better calorie bargain and avoiding hundreds of worthless calories and carbs. I'd scoop even if I weren't diabetic.

    1. back in my bagel-eating days i was a huge fan of the scoop method. i agree with mcf that most of the flavor is in the crust anyway, and the texture is awesome when you toast it so it's nice & crispy with just a hint of chew. it becomes the perfect "container" for an endless array of fillings.

      my only exception for scooping was a cinnamon-raisin bagel when i was sick - it was one of the only things i could even think of getting (and keeping) down when i didn't feel well. it had to be un-scooped, toasted, and spread with enough butter to soak into the center and make it slightly soggy despite the toasting.

      sigh. i miss bagels :(

      5 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Well, just to give you 1 set of perspectives, here's what SOME New Yorkers think. This topic was recently posted in gothamist.com


        I personally just heard of the practice through this link, although the practice makes perfect sense to me. I've never been a fan/connoisseur of bagels precisely because I don't enjoy the chewy, bready, doughy texture. I like to toast it to give it crunch. A LOT of New Yorkers apparently love precisely the chewy/doughy characteristic and are almost violently against scooping. LOL

        1. re: nooyawka

          well, my dad's family is from Brooklyn and i was born in Manhattan and raised just over the GWB, so even though i live in California i still have a lot of NY in me...and i say it's fine! ;)

          seriously though, i have a much bigger problem with people who take to much creative license with "flavored" bagels. things like blueberry and pumpkin have no business in there!

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            "seriously though, i have a much bigger problem with people who take to much creative license with "flavored" bagels. things like blueberry and pumpkin have no business in there!"


            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I live in California where they have "bagel-like" food. I really miss the NY bagels but I don't scoop. I cut the bagel in 3 and only eat the outside. The dog really likes the rest of it. I really agree that there is just no need for "flavored" bagels. Somehow jalopeno bagels are just odd.

          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Toasting yes, I always toasted bagel shells. I live in NY, which is the center of the universe, and bagel headquarters. I miss them, only because I love smoked salmon but only on them, have never found a sub I like.

          3. If I get a bagel from a place like Tal or Bagel Hole, then no I do not scoop.

            But if I get one of those fluffier bagels from a place like Ess-a-Bagel there is an urge to scoop out all the inner dough. But usually I'm just too lazy.

            1. i grew up with a mom and nanny perennially on diets, so they always scooped. one summer, my nanny and i ate tuna melts every day for lunch... scoop bagel, put on a little fat free cheese (i know); toast. while toasting, mix tuna with mayo. fill bagel top with tomato slices. and salt.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Emme

                Oh, yum. I don't scoop bagels yet, but sounds like a good idea. They are pretty high in calories, etc., so I am scooping my next bagel and trying the above in the middle. Thanks, Emme.

              2. No need to scoop anymore....Thomas has "Bagel Thins"

                17 Replies
                1. re: monku

                  Brilliant! Best thing since sliced bread.

                  I've taken to sometimes cutting a very large bagel into thirds (horizontally)! Top third and bottom third, which I eat separately, then the middle third I throw out. This solves the problem.

                  1. re: nooyawka

                    actually, there's an even better solution...a Kossar's bialy. less bread, more flavor, and no hole for everything to fall through!

                    1. re: nooyawka

                      I did that before scooping them.

                      1. re: nooyawka

                        Heavens, please don't throw out the middle third! Freeze the thirds for future use. Toast them to have with soup instead of yukky plain crackers. Make croutons. Use them as bread for sandwiches. Have them as a low calorie snack with a healthy topping. Top with a one-egg omelet. There is so much to do with that bagel Frisbee - throwing is out is the last thing you should be thinking about!

                      2. re: monku

                        Those aren't real bagels, feh. And too carby for moi, at any rate.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Before the emergence of the H&H big puffy oversized bagel, there was no need to scoop a regular NYC boiled bagel. Now with the "creatures" that are called bagels, i.e. chocolate chip, french toast, sun-dried tomato, apple cinnamon, ham &cheese, blueberry, etc. etc. I would think one would want to get as much of that drek laden dough out of the middle.
                          Call me a traditionalist, but give me a poppy seed or fresh, hours out of the oven plain bagel anyday.

                          1. re: ospreycove

                            I agree 100 percent! (tho I don't know what H & H is) Bagels are supposed to be about 4 inches wide. That's it. And they should not contain fruit salad — or anything else sweet. Follow those rules, no problem. Want it crispy, just toast it (Chicago).

                          2. re: mcf

                            OP didn't mention "real" bagels.

                            1. re: monku


                              should not have to use the adjective "real". that thingy they throw blueberries in ain't a bagel it is a boiled and baked donut. :-))

                              1. re: jfood

                                So what exactly do you define as a 'rreal' bagel?

                              2. re: monku

                                In addition to real, how about the flagel? A modern day bialy, (Bialystoker Kuchen)

                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                    but they had the decency to give it another name

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      FLAGEL=FLAT BAGEL......backlash to the over-inflated bagels invading the marketplace.

                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                        Understood...jfood just brought back a dozen flagels from his favorite bagel-man.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          J---I feel a proprietary right to join in'
                                          Flagels, best from Bagel King on Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield location ONLY. Great for meat sandwiches, no loss through the hole.

                                          I don't like bagels with anything mixed in the dough, seeds on the outside are fine.

                                          I toast 90% of the bagels I eat, so no need to scoop. If I eat an untoasted bagel, I'm likely to scoop. I want a good boiled and then baked crust, I don't like doughy insides.

                                          There is (or should be) a differnce in the consistency of a bagel and street pretzel. The bagel should not be chewy and mushy dough insid an underdone crust.

                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                            jfood brought them back from East Hampton...Goldberg's Famous, same owner as Bagel Chateau in Millburn, NJ. Three dozen assorted in the freezer.

                            2. it depends for jfood

                              if it is a schmear of butter or cream cheese, no scoop. but for a nice whitefish salad or herring salad he would probably scoop.

                              and to the point of flavored bagels, jfood agrees, blech.

                              1. Not a huge bagel fan, I wondered what to do with the leftover ones my husband brought home. He bought 3 dozen from Western Bagel and flavors of cream cheese for work due to it being a weekend, wanted the employees to be at least fed.

                                All I came up with was toast and top for our son as he'd leave for work. Scooping or not, never gave it a thought

                                1 Reply
                                1. Heck, no! I don't like crusts of anything, so the inside part is the only part worth eating, as far as I'm concerned. And where is all this anti-carb stuff coming from all of a sudden? I thought it was pretty well-settled that carbs are NOT the enemy!

                                  1. I don't eat bagels that much anymore, but I scoop a lot of buns - hamburger, hot dog, kaisers, etc. If you're low carbing, it allows you to enjoy at least some of the bun, and while I don't mind eating a naked burger, it's nice to grab an old fashioned cheeseburger and not feel completely guilty about it.

                                    1. No need to scoop if you're eating a Montreal bagel. I've never understood the appeal of NY-style bagels. They've always seemed like dough bombs to me. Montreal bagels are much smaller than the typical NY-style 'bagel'. So the crust to chewy interior ratio is perfect. And they are covered top and bottom with sesame seeds which toast up into this natural nutty, smoky deliciousness. Occasionally you'll get one that's got some of the wood-fired oven char on it. That's good eatin'. Eating one fresh and hot from the shop with a really good cup of coffee? Lawsy.

                                      When I go home to visit family in Canada, on the way to the airport to fly home, we go to the Fairmount, order 13 dozen then come home where the bagels are immediately sliced and placed lovingly in the freezer. Occasionally, when they've been good, I'll grudgingly let my kids have one.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: dgonline

                                        Agreed! Only we go to St-Viateur.

                                      2. Born and raised in Brooklyn, you eat the whole bagel. I love the chewiness of the bagel, but it should be slightly toasted while still maintaining the chewiness. A little real cream cheese with lox and perfect! The problem as some of your readers have stated, many bagels are oversized and God forbid, not even boiled. I live in RI now, and while it has improved somewhat over the past few years, most bagels in RI are just a big lump of bread (and badly made bread at that!). I enjoy a bagel once or twice a month (Bagelz in RI does boil their bagels), and unless you have a serious health issue, that number of carbs will not hurt you(assuming it is not an oversized bagel). Or eat half the bagel, life is too short to eat badly prepared food.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: margie4546

                                          My early memories of "real" bagels were in Portland OregoS in the fifties. After church we would go to Mosler's bakery for hot out of the oven bagels. sometimes we had to wait. Unfortunatelt the entire neighborhood is gone: freeways and fancy shops now.

                                          I have been on a search all these years.

                                        2. Scooping is the only way to go.

                                          As with others, I love the flavor of the toasted crusts plus I can put in more fillings to create unique sandwiches.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: DaveMik

                                            As a Montrealer, the first time I saw a bagel being scooped out was in Miami where a friend and I were having lunch in a deli and she asked for an egg salad sandwich in a scooped out bagel. I asked her what a scooped out bagel and she described it.

                                            I also heard it was what people eat when they are watching their calorie intake i.e. dieting. Huh?

                                            Now, as any food person knows; Montreal bagels cannot be scooped out; because to do so would mean you are eating your fingers.

                                            But the idea is so unique, and the concept so alien.

                                          2. Scoop if you want to, but as a server, pleeease don't ask me to scoop it out for you. The chef isn't going to scoop it out on a brunch/ breakfast rush, so guess who it is that has to do it. The server, that one that is often carrying piles of dirty plates to and from the kitchen. Of course I wash my hands, but those are still my hands...in your bagel. You salt your own food, you spread your own jelly, so scoop your bagel yourself, for both our sakes.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jwalker23

                                              The first time I ever had this request, I had no idea what the woman was talking about. She ordered a 'scooped bagel with hummus', to which I responded, "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" "A scooped bagel," she said, her voice rising, "with h-u-m-m-u-s." I explained that I understood the h-u-m-m-u-s part quite well, but not what she meant by scooped. "Scooped!" she insisted, and then added, as if talking to a child, "You take the *middle* out? It is not difficult!" I refrained from suggesting h-u-m-m-u-s on toast, and set to the task.

                                              When I related the incident to the owner of the cafe, she (a transplant from Florida), started laughing, and said, "Oh god, it's here! The bagel scooping is here." I suggested we add a nail brush to the hand washing station.

                                              So, no, I don't scoop (mostly because the ambassador of such in my corner of the world was so unpleasant). But I don't drink skim milk either. It's a part of my food philosophy: I either do it, or I don't. I do, however, admire those who can find satisfaction in the middle of the road.

                                              1. re: jwalker23

                                                When I worked at a deli, one of our daily customers always said "Gut the roll". One girl that worked there thought it was disgusting and gagged when he said it, but I thought it was a good describer. BTW here you have to wear gloves when making sandwiches: but even not, scooping is no less sanitary than handling the bread itself, no? Not that we were bagel oriented.

                                              2. I have never heard of scooping bagels out until now. This is such a strange concept to me, and it frankly seems like such a waste. Although maybe it may be because I grew up with a mother that was obsessed with not wasting things.

                                                If you're on a diet, why would you even eat a bagel in the first place? I don't get it.

                                                Honestly, I think bagel scoopers may actually be weirder than those people who drain their Top Ramen.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: untitled

                                                  Untitled....How about those who pat their bacon between several paper napkins. Nice mess when they are finished; or the person who removes the hamburger from the bun, pats it dry and returns it to the roll.
                                                  Hey "You do not want the fat....Don't eat BACON!!!!"

                                                2. I cut them into three pieces and toast the two exterior pieces, saving the middle for the next time I eat one exterior third. (Yes, I freeze them.) This way, the thinner pieces toast up crunchy, the way I like it.

                                                  I didn't have to do this years and years ago when bagels were made "properly." In other words, they were made with less dough, were boiled before baking, and had a greater ratio of chewy exterior to interior. When sliced, the halves weren't particularly thick, maybe 1/2 inch at most, often thinner. They toasted up really crunchy. These sort of bagels are practically impossible to find anymore. These days it's more bread in bagel form, and bleh, I wouldn't enjoy a whole one.

                                                  1. In Toronto at Bagel World, they have these wonderful flat bagels. Totally shmushed no doughy inards. So wonderful and crunchy when you toast them! I bring them back to the US and stash them in my freezer.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sueshop

                                                      I agree!!! I used to go to Bagel World years ago. When I saw the Restaraunt Makeover on the food network I decided to go there when i was in the area. Wow...flat bagels. Such a simple idea and soooooo good!!

                                                    2. In the bygone days of the first Atkins diet my mom was a scooper. This was in the days of reasonable sized old school bagels, too. She did so with constant ridicule. Fast forward to the present: I have become my mother. However, if presented with a wonderful NY old school bagel I will not. I need to save those 200 plus calories in those fluffy bagels. Locally in LA you can find decent bagels at Brooklyn Bagel Factory on Alvarado near Rampart. The new-fangled bagel thins are not bagels, but they work in a pinch. There's a company that makes just the everything bagel spice. I have not used the product, but have wished for it check out www.BagelSpice.com

                                                      1. I have lived in New York since birth; there NEVER USED to be these horrible doughy monstrosities loaded with carbs. I always scoop. I love the crispy crunchy outside; if bialies came in whole wheat or multi-grain, I'd be thrilled. I live part-time in Montreal and they don't have these violent frauds for bagels. Until then, I will scoop, scoop, scoop and get rid of the excess dough. Is there any wonder Americans are so generally obese?

                                                        1. Sesame bagel, well toasted with less than 1T cream cheese, nova, to gild the lily add chives or red onion and a few capers and a Snapple cran-raspberry with that. I can't get bagels here and miss them! I once knew a politician who said he didn't like all the fat in the bread. So he scooped it down to a shell and filled it all with full-fat cream cheese!

                                                          1. I have scooped for years...don't need all the dough-y calories!
                                                            Luckily I found a Bruegger's Bagles in Boca Raton...
                                                            Crisp delicious crust, even the soft foamy inside is soo delicious and easy to scoop....even better than the old New York bagels from long ago

                                                            1. When I was growing up in the Bronx In the "olden day"s , bagels were hand-made, therefore, the inside was not puffy and doughy, and the crust was chewy and delicious. Some of the best bagels today can be found at the Bagel Hole, on Seventh Avenue and 14th Street in Park Slope Brooklyn. f you're worried about calories, they are smaller than those puffed up monstrosities that pass for bagels, such as you find at H and H. You'll never scoop a bagel from Bagel Hole. Arthur Schwartz discussed bagels and where to get the best on his blog. Check it out to find other good sources.

                                                              Another alternative is to buy flagels, which are slightly different, but are tasty and have that bagel crunch. As for cinnamon, pumpkin or whatever, don't call them bagels!

                                                              Lois, the Bagel Maven

                                                              1. Real bagels are the ones you buy near the el in Brooklyn and they come right out of the oven. They must be held with the paper bag in order to eat them. They have steam pouring out of them when broken in two and the crust is perfectly browned. The inside is wonderfully chewy. The bagel is best eaten while watching the trains go by and motioning to the conductor to toot the horn and giving a smile full of bagel when he does so. One must also have a bag of bialys to take home and feast on later. Ahhh, my days as a kid with my grandmother! I will never forget.

                                                                1. I can't believe so many people are pro-scoop! Firstly, I think it's an incredible waste of food, and secondly, why eat a bagel if you're not going to eat the bagel? Do you order a pizza and throw away most of the pizza so you can enjoy the crispy crust? If you're worried about carbs, stop being so wasteful and eat something else.

                                                                  (and yes i do like the chewy doughy inside of bagels as much as the outside :) )

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: xibo14

                                                                    No, I throw away the crust and eat the pizza toppings, silly! :-) It's this simple; if I didn't scoop, I'd never have anything I like under my smoked salmon. I'm a long time diabetic controlling my blood sugar into the normal range with diet alone, so starches are no good for me. The flavor is on the outside, and everything bagels are my favorites. Scooping leaves more room for the cream cheese and capers before the salmon goes on.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      I eat one whole slice of pizza and the toppings from the rest..
                                                                      Most pizza dough/crust isn't worth filling up on.

                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                        True, though two places near my former home had the goods, corn meal crispy bottoms, sesame seeds on the crust.. I nibble a bit of the browned edge if it's excellent, but no whole slices for moi. My husband (not diabetic, just low carbs for health) does it your way.

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          hey guys, let's be careful here. Those crust are MINE!!! jfood eats the interior and leaves the edges for me. And please do not place this in the food waste category, I love it.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            The outer crust is saved and then toasted with margarine for brekfast. The underlayment is useless. The dogs in the bagelman household want meat and cheese, they reject bread.

                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                              What, what...............Outer crust, underlayment, margarine, What is going on here??!!?? What is underlayment, and margarine is bad for you!

                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                Outer crust-->the circle of dough with no toppings
                                                                                Underlayment-->the bready stuff that keeps the toppings from sticking to the oven floor
                                                                                Imperial margarine-->the flavor I like on toast, I like butter in cooking or baking, but not the flavor when spred on toast
                                                                                If I only ate what is good for me, I'd die of bordom

                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                  Bagelman.....You and me both!!!!!!!

                                                                    2. Scoop? Ok, perhaps the idea just offends my frugal nature but has no one heard of slicing? An average bagel in Montreal (where we make damn good bagels I might add) can generate 4 or five slices easily and thus feed 2, 3 or even five "carbophobes". Seriously if you fear the bagel so much, why not just walk on by? When I feel like eating a bagel, I eat a bagel. The fresh and hot, right out of the brick oven kind with a smear of cream cheese and a grinding of fresh black pepper. Scooping can remain at the dog park as far as I am concerned. No offense but I like to take life by the....teeth.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: soredsue

                                                                        I actually do walk on by almost all the time, bagels are maybe an annual event in my life. As to waste, its my health or the bagel that gets trashed, no contest. I've found that even a scooped out third of a bagel spikes my blood sugar into unhealthy territory. So I walk on by mostly, when I have a bagel, I scoop it mercilessly. Better to waste some flour and water than my health. By all means, it's fine with *me* if you eat all of yours. :-)