A commercially produced bagel (as evidenced by grate marks used in steaming, rather than boiling)
Alternative namesBajgiel, beigel, beygl
Place of originPoland
Region or stateCentral & Eastern Europe, North America, Israel
Serving temperatureRoom temperature
Main ingredientsWheat dough
VariationsMontreal-style bagel, East Coast Style Bagel, pizza bagel

A bagel (Yiddish: בײגלbaygl; Polish: bajgiel), also spelled beigel,[1] is a bread product originating in the Jewish communities of Poland.It is traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, roughly hand-sized, that is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. Bagels are often topped with seeds baked on the outer crust, with the traditional ones being poppy or sesame seeds. Some may have salt sprinkled on their surface, and there are different dough types, such as whole-grain or rye.[2][3]

Though the origins of bagels are somewhat obscure, it is known that they were widely consumed in Ashkenazi Jewish communities from the 17th century. The first known mention of the bagel, in 1610, was in Jewish community ordinances in Kraków, Poland.

Bagels are now a popular bread product in North America, especially in cities with a large Jewish population, many with alternative ways of making them. Like other bakery products, bagels are available (fresh or frozen, often in many flavors) in many major supermarkets in those cities.

The basic roll-with-a-hole design is hundreds of years old and has other practical advantages besides providing more even cooking and baking of the dough: The hole could be used to thread string or dowels through groups of bagels, allowing easier handling and transportation and more appealing seller displays.[4][5]


A bagel salesman in Poland, 1935

Linguist Leo Rosten wrote in The Joys of Yiddish about the first known mention of the Polish word bajgiel derived from the Yiddish word bagel in the "Community Regulations" of the city of Kraków in 1610, which stated that the food was given as a gift to women in childbirth.[6]

In the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, the bajgiel became a staple of Polish cuisine[7] and a staple of the Slavic diet generally.[8] Its name derives from the Yiddish word beygal from the German dialect word beugel, meaning "ring" or "bracelet".[9]

Variants of the word beugal are used in Yiddish and in Austrian German to refer to a similar form of sweet-filled pastry (Mohnbeugel (with poppy seeds) and Nussbeugel (with ground nuts), or in southern German dialects (where beuge refers to a pile, e.g., holzbeuge "woodpile"). According to the Merriam-Webster 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 bēag "ring" and būgan "to bend, bow".[10] Similarly, another etymology in the Webster's New World College Dictionary says that the Middle High German form was derived from the Austrian German beugel, a kind of croissant, and was similar to the German bügel, a stirrup or ring.[11]

In the Brick Lane district and surrounding area of London, England, bagels (locally spelled "beigels") have been sold since the middle of the 19th century. They were often displayed in the windows of bakeries on vertical wooden dowels, up to a metre in length, on racks.

Bagels with cream cheese and lox (cured salmon) are considered a traditional part of American Jewish cuisine (colloquially known as "lox and a schmear").

Bagels were brought to the United States by immigrant Polish Jews, with a thriving business developing in New York City that was controlled for decades by Bagel Bakers Local 338. They had contracts with nearly all bagel bakeries in and around the city for its workers, who prepared all their bagels by hand.

The bagel came into more general use throughout North America in the last quarter of the 20th century with automation. Daniel Thompson started work on the first commercially viable bagel machine in 1958; bagel baker Harry Lender, his son, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender leased this technology and pioneered automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s.[12][13][14] Murray also invented pre-slicing the bagel.[15]

Around 1900, the "bagel brunch" became popular in New York City.[16] The bagel brunch consists of a bagel topped with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato, and red onion.[16] This and similar combinations of toppings have remained associated with bagels into the 21st century in the US.[17][18][19]

In Japan, the first kosher bagels were brought by BagelK (ja) from New York in 1989. BagelK created green tea, chocolate, maple-nut, and banana-nut flavors for the market in Japan. There are three million bagels exported from the U.S. annually, and it has a 4%-of-duty classification of Japan in 2000. Some Japanese bagels, such as those sold by BAGEL & BAGEL (ja), are soft and sweet; others, such as Einstein Bro. bagels sold by Costco in Japan, are the same as in the U.S.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Bagel
Alemannisch: Bagel
Ænglisc: Bēagel
العربية: بايغل
arpetan: Baguèl
azərbaycanca: Bagel
Boarisch: Beigl
català: Bagel
čeština: Bagel
dansk: Bagel
Deutsch: Bagel
Ελληνικά: Μπέγκελ
español: Bagel
Esperanto: Bagelo
فارسی: بیگل
français: Bagel
galego: Bagel
한국어: 베이글
Bahasa Indonesia: Bagel
íslenska: Beygla
italiano: Bagel
עברית: כעך
lietuvių: Didriestainis
Bahasa Melayu: Bagel
Nederlands: Bagel
日本語: ベーグル
norsk: Bagel
polski: Bajgiel
português: Bagel
română: Bagel
русский: Бейгл
Simple English: Bagel
svenska: Bagel
Tagalog: Beygel
Türkçe: Bagel
українська: Бейгл
Tiếng Việt: Bánh mì vòng
粵語: 比高包
中文: 貝果