Is there anything better than a hot, ready-to-eat bagel? There is no denying that these round, bread-like miracles taste best the day they are baked, whether you want your bagels toasted or plain, topped with a thick coating of cream cheese, or barely touched with a swipe of butter.
If there is one thing that bagels aficionados all around the nation can agree on, it is that stale bagels are bad no matter where they come from. Nothing is more discouraging than trying to bite into a bagel only to fear that your teeth will split in half from the extreme hardness.
The good news is that properly storing bagels is not that difficult. Read more to know how to keep those delicious bagels fresh.
How To Keep Bagels Fresh Longer
Putting the bagels in the freezer
The best way to keep bagels fresh for a long time is to freeze them as soon as it gets home from the store, but if you plan to eat them within 48 hours, putting bagels in a paper bag is an excellent storage option.
Refrigeration keeps them relatively fresh, but freezing is the best option for maximum freshness. Slice before freezing and toast immediately after removing from the freezer.
This is because a fresher bagel will taste when it is thawed out of the freezer. And the bagel will taste like a bagel that was resting on the counter rather than one that just came out of the oven if it sits on the counter for a day or two before putting it in the freezer.
Bagels from the store can keep for up to a week in the pantry. Although it’s preferable to freeze store-bought bagels straight away if you don’t think you’ll be able to consume them within this time frame, they should be okay to go in the freezer at the end of the week.
Putting the bagels in the oven
You can attempt to resurrect a bagel that you unintentionally left on your counter to go bad. It won’t be as good as it was in its original state, but Daoheung says baking it with a little water will make it close.
Just keep in mind that once you defrost a bagel or bake it to bring the moisture back, you won’t be able to re-freeze them, so only take bagels from your frozen stash that you’re planning on eating there and then.
Zingerman’s Bakehouse suggests “reviving them in a 350F oven ’til the crust comes back and they’re warm in the middle.” Naturally, use a lot of cream cheese as well. Although you’ll probably have to toast the bagels before eating them, this will keep the bagels for four to five days—no issue.
- For a few minutes, preheat the oven to 350 °F/177 °C.
- After lightly misting the bagels with water, place them on the middle rack of the oven.
- Check to see if the bagel is toasted to your liking after a few minutes.
- Keep the bagels in the oven for 5 minutes more to crisp up.
Here are a few pointers to remember:
- To add an extra crispy layer to bagels, spray them with cool water before baking or toasting them.
- Before wrapping the sliced bagels in plastic wrap, place a piece of wax paper between them. This will save time if you want to quickly pop them in the toaster straight from the freezer.
- Make sure to toast bagels of different varieties separately to avoid flavor blending.
Invest in a bagel cutter or slicer for faster and easier baguette slicing.
How To Keep Bagels Fresh Overnight
Fresh bagels are best kept at room temperature in a paper bag. While bagels do grow chewier after a day, they are still OK within a day of purchase and suggest storing the paper bag of bagels in a plastic bag as well.
The quickest way to thaw bagels is to leave them out overnight. Remove the desired number of bagels and place them in a tray. Allow them to defrost at room temperature overnight. Make sure they’re kept somewhere dry and cool.
Here are some tips:
- Do not forget to mist the bagel with water as this will help to revive it before baking. It will become fresher and less stale and hard as a result.
- If you don’t want to put the bagels on the rack directly, put them on a baking sheet instead, but don’t use any oil.
- Although a toaster can be used, an oven is the best way to warm up chilled bagels.
How To Store Bagels To Keep Them Fresh
Putting the bagels in a ziplock bag at room temperature
Bagels can be kept for up to three days in a sealed plastic storage bag at room temperature by immediately transferring the fully cooled, whole bagels into the bag. This approach also works well for squeezing out any excess air.
While this technique keeps the bagels soft by sealing in moisture, it is also likely to soften the crunchy crust. However, the crust will reactivate when you slice and toast the bagels. Normally, bagels can be kept out on the counter for 2-4 days at room temperature. However, depending on the brand, many bagels will survive closer to 7 days if stored properly.
Putting the bagels in a zip lock bag inside a freezer
Since they have already been cut in half, frozen bagels can be kept for up to four months and can be used in the toaster oven without having to thaw first.
A technique from The Rachael Ray Show goes even further, preserving freshness by wrapping each half of the bagels in plastic wrap or parchment paper, stacking them, and placing the bagels inside a closed ziplock bag. This technique makes it simple to grab just one-half of a bagel for toasting or reheating.
Wrapped the bagels in foil and froze
Overall, freezing is without a doubt the best option for storing bagels for an extended period of time. Although there are numerous methods for freezing food, it is recommended to wrap the entire, unsliced bagels in aluminum foil because it is more airtight than plastic wrap.
All that remains is to choose the filling for your perfectly toasted bagel! Spread cream cheese on the bagel and top with fruits or make it savory by adding bacon, eggs, and vegetables! Grab a cup of coffee and savor the delectable goodness of your bagel!