A brief history of bagels

More than you could possibly want to know about bagels.

Ah, the glorious bagel! Who among us does not love it, crave it, fantasize about it? Sorry, that was creepy, wasn’t it? I guess I won’t tell you how I feel about brisket.

Bagel History

As did you, dear readers, I always believed the common legend about the bagel having been created in the shape of a stirrup to commemorate the victory of Poland’s King Jan Sobieski over the Ottoman Turks in 1683. So I realize that what I am about to reveal may be traumatic for you – but that legend is completely false. I know, I know. Just take a few deep breaths and you’ll be fine.

The bagel was invented in Krakow, Poland, in the 16th Century as a competitor to the Bublik. The bagel was actually invented much earlier in Krakow, Poland, as a competitor to the Bublik, a lean bread of wheat flour designed for Lent. In the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, the bajgiel, as it was known, became a staple of the Polish national diet, replacing the previous staple – actual staples.

There was a tradition among many observant Jewish families to make bagels on Saturday evenings at the conclusion of the Sabbath. Due to Jewish Sabbath restrictions, they were not permitted to cook during the period of the Sabbath and, compared with other types of bread, bagels could be baked very quickly as soon as it ended.

Variations of the word beugal are used in Yiddish and Austrian German to refer to a round loaf of bread. According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ‘bagel’ derives from the transliteration of the Yiddish ‘beygl’, which came from the Middle High German ‘böugel’ or ring, which itself came from ‘bouc’ (ring) in Old High German, similar to the Old English ‘be-ag’ ‘(ring), and ‘bu-gan’ (to bend or bow). But enough about how I impress my dates with bagel trivia.

Read Entire Story in Aish Torah

Sabbath, Yiddish

1 comment for “A brief history of bagels

  1. April 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I am a huge fan of your site and I read it regularly. Keep up the excellent work!

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