Get your fix of East Coast bagels with a Midwest twist in the Chicago area

Sunday, July 5, 2020
Get your fix of East Coast bagels with a Midwest twist at Chicago's Gotham and Oak Park's Daly
EMBED <>More Videos

Hand-rolling, boiling and baking are the keys to good bagels. Joe Gaglio should know.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bagels have been a constant at shops like New York Bagel and Bialy in Lincolnwood, or N-Y-C Bagel Deli in the city, but every now and then, another bagel maker comes onto the scene.

Hand-rolling, boiling and baking are the keys to good bagels. Joe Gaglio should know. The New York native opened Gotham Bagels in Madison, Wisconsin 14 years ago, after years of lamenting the local options. More recently, he opened a small satellite tucked away in the kitchen of Eduardo's Enoteca, on the cusp of Gold Coast and Old Town, for online ordering only.

"Nobody rolls bagels by hand anymore. Nobody does it. And in New York they don't do it a lot," said Gaglio.

His dough consists of unbleached flour, malted barley and brewer's yeast, plus charcoal-filtered water.

"We don't really want every bagel to be exactly perfect. We're not making widgets here. A lot of these chains have perfectly round bagels. We want our bagels to have a little bit of character, like people," he said.

After a 24-hour rest, to "cure" the dough, he boils them for less than a minute.

"You want to have a hole inside of a bagel, so when you take a bagel and boil it, you actually arrest the yeast fermentation process on the outside. You create a hole," said Gaglio.

Baking on burlap-covered wooden boards is crucial, to help dry out the surface and promote browning at 600 degrees.

"And then when it goes into the oven, the heat goes through the hole, it licks around and makes that brown, nice mosaic, contoured browning you get on a bagel," he said.

Amanda Daly and her friends have been making bagels for two years as a pop-up in Oak Park, and more recently, opened a brick-and-mortar store - The Daly Bagel - on a leafy stretch of Chicago Avenue just two months ago. Dough is made on-site, rolled by machine, proofed overnight, then boiled first, in hot water, for just a minute or so, before baking.

"They go into the oven on super-hot pizza stones, and then they go on a little Ferris wheel ride once, and then they get flipped off the board and they finish cooking on the super-hot stones, so you get that nice texture on the outside, that little bit of bite on the outside, but then the chewiness on the inside," said Daly.

Their mantra is East Coast bagels with a Midwest twist, which means in addition to the usual suspects like onion, plain, poppyseed, sesame and everything, they get creative with bagel flavors, as well as cream cheese.

"We do the asiago, cinnamon sugar, and then we have a bunch of our own creations to push the boundaries just a little bit but to still always stay true to those really traditional flavors and things that people expect from a good bagel," she said.

Daly Bagel is open every day but they don't start their sandwich program technically until Wednesday. However, you can, of course, get bagels and cream cheese up until then.

Gotham plans to open a more permanent spot in Chicago once the pandemic is over.

Gotham Bagels

1212 N. Dearborn St.
pickup and delivery only, Wed. - Sun. 9 am - 1 pm

In Madison:
112 E. Mifflin St.

The Daly Bagel

130 Chicago Ave., Oak Park


Also mentioned:

New York Bagel & Bialy

4714 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood

NYC Bagel Deli

1001 W. North Ave., 312-274-1278
515 N. Dearborn, 312-923-9999