The Store-Bought Bagel Brand That Tastes Just Like The Ones From New York

new york style bagel cream cheese
new york style bagel cream cheese - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

On par with pizza and deli sandwiches, bagels are undoubtedly one of New York's most iconic foods. They set the gold standard for taste and texture that store-bought bagel brands outside of New York all try to emulate. While store-bought bagels are often a last resort for bagel lovers, the countless options lining grocery store aisles are a testament to their popularity as a quick, convenient staple.

Food reporters, bloggers, and Redditors have all entered the debate as to which store-bought bagel comes the closest to the hard, shiny exterior and chewy, soft interior of a great New York bagel. It's fitting, then, that the one that tastes just like the ones from New York, comes from a New York-based bagel company: Ray's New York Bagels. They're so good that we voted them the winner in our taste test of 14 store-bought bagel brands.

Opening in 1999, Ray's New York Bagels prepares their bagels out of a New York factory, with New York-based ingredients, using authentic New York-style cooking methods. In case you've never been to the back of a bagel shop, the cooking method that accounts for a bagel's textural contrast is boiling. While many store-bought brands opt for steaming their bagels, Ray's boils bagels in New York's uniquely mineral-light water, which according to Ray's owners and most proud New Yorkers, is the reason the crumb is so soft and chewy.

Read more: 30 Popular Frozen Pizzas, Ranked Worst To Best

Ray's New York Bagel: Frozen For Freshness

Rays New York Bagels
Rays New York Bagels - Sarah Klimek/Tasting Table

Ray's New York Bagels' motto is: "The freshest New York bagel is actually frozen." Therefore, you'll find Ray's in the freezer section of any major grocery store, including Walmart, Safeway, Kroger's, Publix, and HEB. Just as freezing blanched vegetables locks in their freshness and vibrance, Ray's claims that freezing their freshly baked bagels is key to preserving that fresh-out-of-the-oven taste and texture. Plus, frozen bagels will have a much longer shelf-life and often fewer chemical preservatives than bagels found in the packaged bread aisle.

To maximize the crispy outer layer of a bagel, baking it in the oven is more effective than using a toaster. While some argue that you should let frozen bagels thaw before toasting them, others argue to toast frozen halves, letting the icy layer steam the crumb to maintain chewiness. If you want a whole bagel, dipping it in hot water or running it under a faucet before baking will keep the crumb from drying out, and will also help the crust to crisp up.

Read the original article on Tasting Table