I'd always buy a four-pack of bagels, eat one, then toss the rest into the bread bin. That's fine for regular bread, but bagels quickly transform into inedible rocks with no taste if they aren't stored correctly. Thankfully, I was shown the error of my ways by a professional baker. In this article, I'll share with you some of what I learned.
You may be wondering, can bagels be frozen? I'm going to clear this up right now with a resounding yes – they most certainly can be frozen. If you aren't eating them within the next day, get them straight into the freezer for maximum freshness. They'll last up to three months before losing quality.
How to keep bagels fresh
Once you arrive home with your bagels, you need to decide if all the bagels are likely to be eaten in the next day. Store these bagels at room temperature and avoid the temptation to refrigerate. Doing this will cause them to become stale much quicker.
Any bagels that you won't eat in the next 24 hours should be frozen. Now we'll look at how to store bagels so that they remain fresh and tasty.
Steps for storing bagels for one day
- Place bagels in a paper bag, ensuring they're cooled. You'll often buy bagels in paper packaging; if not, make sure you have a stockpile at home for this purpose.
- Once bagged, pop the bagels into a plastic bag. The large ziplock ones are ideal.
- Remove all air and then seal, making sure it is airtight.
- Place bagels in a bread bin and consume them within one day.
Steps to freezing bagels
- Slice the bagels and then place them in a paper bag. You'll often buy bagels in a paper bag; if not, make sure you have a stockpile at home for this occasion.
- Pop the bag of bagels into a plastic bag. For extra protection from freezer burn, using two plastic bags is an even better option.
- Remove all air from the bag then seal, ensuring that it is airtight.
- Use a marker pen to record the date on the bag for easy reference.
- Place the bagels at the back of the freezer. This position is ideal as it avoids temperature fluctuations when the door is opened.
Expert tip: Individually wrap each bagel in plastic wrap then add to a freezer bag. This step makes it easier to remove one bagel at a time. The bagels tend to stick together when they're all frozen in one clump.
How to thaw a bagel
To thaw a bagel, place on a plate and allow it to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. The bagel will then be ready to eat. To further improve the texture, heat in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. Alternatively, pop it in the toaster.
Do you need the bagel now? If time is not your friend, microwave the bagel for 15 seconds on high, then remove and allow it to rest for 30 seconds before slicing in half. Your bagel's interior should feel soft, like the day you bought it.
Once your bagel thaws, you can either eat as is, toast it, or bake it until warm and golden.
How to slice a bagel
The easy option is to use a handy bagel slicer that comes in different designs. My preference is this Bagel Slicer Guillotin, which is easy to use, affordable, and safe.
Prefer to cut manually? You'll need a chopping board and a serrated bread knife or any knife that's sharp.
- Position the bagel on a chopping board vertically (on its side).
- Hold the top of the bagel with your thumb and fingers.
- Begin slicing, with your knife, into the top of the bagel. Take care to keep your fingers out of the way of the blade.
- Slice through the bagel using a back and forwards sawing motion. Avoid pushing straight down with the knife as this will squash the bagel.
Some simple bagel tips
- If your bagels are water-based, then avoid microwaving as this will dehydrate them. Instead, use an oven or toaster to revitalize your baked goods.
- Always use a sharp knife when cutting bagels to avoid injury.
- Pre slice bagels before freezing so that they can be popped into the toaster while frozen.
- Allow your bagels to completely cool before storing in bags – otherwise, they'll turn soggy.
Frequently asked questions
Can I freeze a bagel with cream cheese?
See related article: how long is cream cheese good for?
Can I freeze bagel dough?
It is fine to freeze bagel dough; but, keep in mind that there are several steps to making this dough. So if you decide to freeze the dough after the first rise, be sure to record this on the bag. This way, you'll know what stage the dough has reached when you remove it from the freezer.
Can I freeze bagels twice?
Yes, it is safe to refreeze bagels. But, their quality may suffer. To help revitalize the bagel, pop in a toaster before eating to get a crisper, fresher taste.
Bagels can be frozen without any impact on their quality. Those people who choose not to eat the fresh bagels within a day of buying them are best to freeze them. Bagels become stale much quicker than regular bread at room temperature. Contrary to some advice, refrigerating bagels does not extend their life. It increases the rate at which they become stale.
What is your favorite bagel filling for bagels? Let us know in the comments below.
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