Bagels arrived in the UK via Eastern European Jewish immigrants and have become a breakfast staple. The doughnut-shaped rolls are garnished to make a light breakfast, lunch sandwich and even a sweet dessert. The possibilities for bagel toppings depends only on personal taste and imagination.
Bagels are made by forming dough into a bagel ring, boiling it and then baking it. The double cook process makes the bagel soft on the inside and hard on the outside. Bagels and bagel thins, a thin bagel cut in half that is perfect for making sandwiches, are commercially available frozen and fresh at most bakeries. Bagels themselves come in many different flavours using spices and ingredients added to the bagel dough and sprinkled on top before baking. Popular bagel flavours include plain, poppy seed, raisin, salt, onion, sesame, cheese, jalapeño and cheddar, blueberry and cinnamon.
The classic bagel combination is a toasted bagel topped with cream cheese, butter or jam. Bagels are also topped with different flavours of cream cheese like chive and onion, veggie, salmon, red pepper, blueberry and strawberry. Combining cream cheese and jam or butter and jam makes for a simple and quick breakfast bagel.
Bagels make good savoury sandwiches for lunch or breakfast. Savoury toppings that can be paired or used with cream cheese include lox, deli meats, cheese, cucumber, sausage patties, tomato and egg. You can also use different kinds of spreads like avocado, pesto, hummus, baba ghanoush or tzatziki to build a sandwich. You can make an Italian pizza bagel with tomato sauce and mozzarella or a Greek bagel with tzatziki, olives, cucumber and feta.
Bagel flavours like cinnamon, raisin and blueberry can be topped with sweet spreads to make an even sweeter dessert. Spreadable sweets like Nutella, syrup and apple butter make for a breakfast bagel for people with a sweet tooth. You can top a bagel with almond or any nut butter and honey or melted butter sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The combination of peanut butter and sliced bananas also makes a good bagel topping.