Behind the Scenes at Beauty's Bagels in Oakland
When we heard about the hand-rolled, freshly baked bagels coming out of Beauty's Bagel Shop, we jumped at the chance to pay a behind-the-scenes visit. So, waking before sunrise and venturing across the Bay Bridge, we slipped into the kitchen with the Oakland store's early morning bakers for a look at their step-by-step process (and some bonus lessons in bagel classification).
It was an extended period of "longing for amazing [Bay Area] bagels" that led co-owners and Pennsylvania natives Blake Joffe and Amy Remsen to set up shop back in 2012. And it would seem their customers were in the same boat; in the years since opening, Beauty's unique take on Montreal-style bagels has garnered a following of its own.
The key traits of Montreal-style bagels? They're hand-rolled, boiled in honey-sweetened water, and baked in a wood-fired oven. But things aren't quite so straightforward at Beauty's, where the bagels get two non-traditional treatments: the dough is seasoned with salt, and, once rolled, is left to proof in the fridge for 24 hours before the final steps of boiling and baking. "It's like a hybrid between Montreal bagels and New York bagels," Joffe explained. "These are Oakland bagels."
The final result is perfectly thick crust with a hint of sweet honey—dusted with your seasoning of choice (their seedy-meets-flavorful 'Everything' is the best seller)—that gives way to a dense, chewy interior. And, while the bagels are perfectly good come afternoon, we'd suggest getting there nice and early to nosh on a warm one straight out of the oven.
About the author: Tory Putnam lives in San Francisco where she can frequently be found tasting and photographing food and drinks.