It’s commonly believed that New York water is required to make a good bagel. Jewish folklore is filled with stories of magic water and talking fishes. They sound ridiculous to a modern audience. Yet some still believe. The New York Times covered a story about a 20-pound carp that spoke Hebrew in a fish market. You won’t find that type of hocus-pocus in this column — at least not this week.
Making a true New York-style bagel with its crisp, shiny exterior and chewy interior does require water, because bagels are traditionally boiled and then baked. As long as it’s boiled, that water can come from the Hudson River or the Columbia River. Cedar Street Bagel Co. in downtown Camas makes New York-style bagels using age-old techniques without any kind of magical New York water.
The bagels start with frozen dough pucks from Seattle Bagel Bakery at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Like most bagel shops in the area, the kitchen at Cedar Street doesn’t have space for dough making. Amber Owens, manager of Cedar Street Bagel Co., searched for places to get bagel dough. When she met with Seattle Bagel Bakery owner A.J. Ghambari and toured his bakery, she knew she’d found her dough as well as a bagel mentor.
The bagels sitting in bins in the glass case are the type found at shops in New York or any Jewish community in the United States, but with some updates.
At very old-school bagel places, you’ll find plain, everything, salt, egg, pumpernickel, onion, poppy seed and maybe cinnamon raisin bagels. Cedar Street includes these flavors along with less traditional options: pizza, jalapeno, French toast and wild everything (everything bagel with cheddar cheese). All bagels are $2 each.