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What's the Best Bagel You've Ever Tasted?

So. The Consumer Report has decided to play with fire. It has sent "trained tasters" to review and rate various brands of New York bagels - from fresh to frozen.

And in the decision that will surely live in infamy, they have declared bagels from Dunkin' Donuts, Lender's original (frozen!), and Costco as the best:

Our trained tasters tried eight plain bagels and four with “everything”: onion, garlic, sesame seed, poppy seed, and other toppings. They also tried Thomas’ Bagel Thins, which cut calories and let you eat a bagel sandwich without unhinging your jaw. Per bagel, prices ranged from 31 cents to $1.44 (for a gluten-free bagel). [...]

Bottom line. Dunkin’ Donuts, Lender’s Original, and Costco are the best choices, but be careful which Lender’s you choose: Its refrigerated Bagel Shop version was just so-so. Thomas’ Bagel Thins are a decent option if you’re watching your weight, though they taste more like rolls than bagels.

Needless to say, New Yorkers howled in disagreement. Kevin Fasick and Bill Sanderson of the New York Post wrote:

It’s a schmear job.

Everyone knows the best bagels come fresh from their local bagel shop — except the “experts” at Consumer Reports magazine, who actually prefer the frozen kind.

In a study that must be aimed at out-of-towners who don’t know their lox from their gefilte fish, Consumer Reports rated as “very good” the rock-hard Lender’s bagels sold from supermarket freezers.

“Tastes freshly baked,” the venerable consumer mag’s tasting panel gushed of Lender’s Original frozen bagels.

You’d think a magazine based in Yonkers — just a hop, skip and jump from the world’s greatest bagels — would know better.

What do you think? Which bagels deserve top billing?


Sorry to all you southern neighbours, but it seems to me that the best bagels are to be found slightly further North in Montréal. Try Fairmount or St-Viateur Bagels to have your minds changed ;-)
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The best bagels are the ones you make yourself(!) or that you have actually seen being boiled. I do give DD kudos for their mass-produced rolls-with-a-holes, but all other store-bought, factory-made "bagels" are bread rolls with holes. Sara Lee and Thomas' are the WORST offenders. I won't even let me gentile children eat one of those, ick!
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My wife's homemade ones are the best - boiled and baked, but I suppose the ones from a national chain would more or less suck equally. . .
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Honestly I am not sure how CR rates things any more, stopped paying attention after they would always rate the most expensive option as the "best buy". Also got annoyed with the car reviews when I found out how the get the "quality" numbers and when the quick glance charts were obviously created by people not doing the write ups.
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Also notice the list. NY bagels of any sort were not part of the evaluation. ONLY national brands were tested. So Why did you write a Neatorama story when you didn't really read the Consumer Reports report?
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My sister sent me a dozen Brooklyn bagels last Christmas. They were delicious in the extreme and unlike every other bagel in the world they lasted 5 days at room temp without a single hint of chewy or hard.
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Are any of those even technically bagels? Based on the consistency those brands don't boil and then bake their bagels. As long as I can get a good bagel from the bagel shop I will never buy grocery store bagels. gross.
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There's no indication that Consumer Reports was testing local shop-made bagels -- nor that they were trying to.

I personally like the bagels made at my local bakery/bagel shop, but I can't buy them in stores across the country.

I haven't tried all the ones on the list of ones they did test, but I would have to agree with their top two choices: Dunkin' Donuts and Lenders Original are good bagels, for nationally available bagels.
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I really like Safeway's bagels. They're "freshly baked," though since they're the same nationwide, I'm pretty sure it's the same dough. Delicious, though.
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Well, I've always believed that New Yorkers believe more of their own hype than any other collection of people in the world, but the Consumer Reports article opens with, "There’s nothing quite like a New York bagel—or is there? Although a bagel from a shop near our headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y., set the bar high, a few big brands came close." So they didn't claim chain-store bagels were the best.

But then the NYP says, "Science and stats are for rubes when it comes to bagel eating, New Yorkers said yesterday as they chewed on the real thing." So science and statistics doesn't apply to New Yorkers? Oh, the hubris.

But it gets better. The NYP says, "Everyone knows the best bagels come fresh from their local bagel shop-" then just a few sentences later they say, "It was hard to find anyone who’d ever tried a frozen bagel." So which is it? "Everyone" or those "hard to find"?
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Honestly I'm not surprised they claim Dunkin' Donuts, Lender's original (frozen!), and Costco as the best. These are likely companies that research how to pump their products full of things that are bad for you but extend shelf life, make the product more addictive or give a more desirable texture. Man what an amazing bagel... but hey... there goes 5 years off my life.

I LOVE my local co-op bakery. I know the bagels I get there are delicious, fresh (no anti-mold additives), and I don't have to feel guilty about the occasional treat. I know that the money I spend stays local, and goes to the people that deserve it instead of going to megacorp conglomo. They are made in small batches from quality ingredients by artisans who care about their craft. I guess if anything we should pity the taste testers because they fell for the trap.
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