Monday, March 27, 2017

Field Trip: The Bagelry

A couple of weeks ago due to a cool program called Morning Jam put on by our Downtown Bellingham Partnership I was able to go on a behind the scenes tour of a Bellingham Landmark, The Bagelry

All the deliciousness! 

I've eaten at the Bagelry in all seasons of my life. I discovered it as a student at Western, continued eating there for lunch when I worked downtown, and found bagels made my growing family happy. So getting the chance to go behind the scenes felt a bit like the Wizard of Oz! Ready to see the magic? 

Aaron & Terra Seaton, the Bagelry Owners

First, a little background. The Bagelry has been in Bellingham since 1984. The original owners sold to Aaron & Terra Seaton, longtime Bagelry employees who took ownership in January of 2016. They have kept things as they were, with the understanding that with the shop being such an institution customers would expect things to stay as they are. But they are adding and tweaking here and there. They have introduced seasonal bagels, such as a salt-rosemary one that is amazing! And there are thoughts of a bagel truck down the road. 

Terra introducing the key players

Terra took us on the tour and the first stop was an introduction the main ingredients of bagels. They list is short...flour, salt, sugar & yeast. And then just water. What they make of those humble ingredients is nothing short of magic! 

The ingredient mixer

The ingredients spend time in this huge mixer. Terra said that the main mistake that happens with bagels is loosing track of what has been mixed into the mixture...did they forget the yeast? Too much sugar? Mistakes are rare, and become apparently rather quickly! 

The forming of the bagels

This is the stage where the ingredients take shape. The bagel dough is rolled out on the table, cut into workable bits, then sent thru the machine in the back to start the shaping of the bagels. 

Bagels taking shape

I have to say this is the point where things get exciting! The bagels are formed quickly and it's mesmerizing to watch them being formed. Once they are, they are set on trays, and sit on trays to rise. The time they spend on this step depends on the type of bagel. Needless to say, there are tons of bagel trays happening. 

The many bagels in the oven

Once the bagels have had time to rise, the then go into a quick bath in boiling water, then they get fished out and get their run in the oven. This job looked so stressful, but the baker did it with grace and speed. There are many trays of bagels moving at this point. Being boiled, being set on wood flats with seasoning, or being run thru the oven. We were all shocked to find out that 2,000 plus bagels are sold a day! This amount is managed by 38 employees that are there at various times of the day, doing various jobs. 

Nothing like a warm bagel! 

Of course we left the tour craving bagels, and took we took some back to friends at work. And seeing these photos again, I'm craving one now! The Bagelry sells many different bagels, spreads, and sandwiches and is open seven days a week. Cash only. 

The "Walk-inn" 

I'll leave you with this silly photo from the kitchen...the "walk-inn!" I'm off to see if I can talk my husband into a bagel run! 

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