Twice this week I’ve been asked, “Who makes the best bagels in Austin?” It’s time to make my recommendation official. But first it’s important to discuss what makes a good bagel. There are three things by which a bagel should be judged: the outer crust, the doughy inside, and the overall flavor and toppings.
The crust of a bagel should be crispy and browned, not doughy. Back East, bagels are often so crispy that they even crack when you cut them or take a bite. The soft doughy outside of bagels found at chain stores are a prime example of what a bagel crust should not be. The inside should be soft and chewy but not too dense; I want to eat a bagel, not a brick. While some places serve flavors such as jalapeño and cheddar, I’m more of a purist when it comes to toppings. If I had to choose only one bagel for the rest of my life it would be an everything bagel with sesame running a close second. The topping should be plentiful and toasted. A sesame bagel is a great way to tell if a bagel is cooked enough too. If the bagel has rich toasted sesame smell and the seeds are browned, odds are you’re in for a treat.
It’s not around the corner from where I live, but Wholy Bagel is the closest I’ve found to an authentic New York bagel here in Austin.