This piece was written in 2005. Since then, Michael and Nick Zukin have written an excellent book, The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home. For Jewish deli devotees and DIY food fanatics alike, the book is a collection of over 100 recipes for creating timeless deli classics, modern twists on old ideas and innovations to shock your Old Country elder. I recommend it highly. FD
Back when most of the Jews here in town lived clustered in and around Old South Portland, through the mid-20th century, there were plenty of good bagels around. Find an older Jewish person who grew up in South Portland and you will hear:
Older Jewish Person (actually my dad): When I was young, I sold newspapers downtown on the corner of 5th and Morrison. . .
Me: No, no, dad. That’s a great story, but what about the bagels?
OJP: You know, you and your brother hardly ever come over to visit any more.
Me: OK, I promise to stop by more often, just tell me about bagels.
OJP: Did I mention I sold newspapers on the corner of 5th and Morrison when I was a kid?
Me: Yeah, sure dad. A couple times. Hang on a minute.
According to my favorite local history book, The Jews of Oregon 1850-1950, three Jewish bakeries competed for the local trade during first half of the 20th century. There was the Star, Gordon’s and Mosler’s. After World War II, only Mosler’s remained. Harry Mosler was a tough guy and his bagels, it is said, were the best anyone ever tasted. There were many other Jewish-owned food businesses in those days: Mrs. Levine’s Fish Market (Mr. Levine was a shochet, the man who slaughtered cows and chickens in the kosher way); Korsun’s grocery and Mink’s grocery; Calistro and Halperin’s delicatessen, one among many Jewish-Italian alliances; and the competing meat markets run, respectively, by Simon Director, Isaac Friedman and Joseph Nudelman. Mrs. Neushin, smoldering cigarette a fixture between her lips, made pickles in her basement; Louis Albert was the soda pop king.
Harry Mosler was a tiny man which might explain his big personality. In the photograph of him I have tacked up at work, he wore a plain, white t-shirt and a once-white apron. Below his bald dome, there was a smudge of a mustache, half-moon ears and bags under his eyes so prominent they announced, “I am a sleep-deprived bread baker.” Two stories about Harry Mosler begin to illustrate the man. One is that he never had change for a dollar–you could only get an extra bagel. At the same time, if you were a child, there was always a free bagel for you. The other story, bittersweet and true, is that as he aged, his grandson Darrell–who had worked for Mosler and even attended a fancy baking school in Chicago–begged him for his recipe to assure at least another generation of great bagels. Mr. Mosler refused. He told Darrell what his weary face expressed, “The work is too hard. Do something else.”
By the 1960’s, the Portland Development Commission’s urban renewal efforts were in full swing. They gave our town a shiny new freeway, I-405, that bounded the central city south and west. But what was the price? Much of Old South Portland was obliterated and its insular Jewish community dispersed. I do not remember the time well–my age was still in the single digits–but I do not think anyone really gave much of a damn about the cultural displacement. Political correctness had not yet emerged as a moral imperative and neighborhood activism was in its infancy. There was another nasty war going on, the civil rights movement was dawning and the only food revolution in America at the time involved untoward innovations such as TV dinners, Tang and Space Food Sticks. Besides, the prosperous local Jewish community was already assimilating at a rapid pace and heading to the suburbs with everyone else.
The original Mosler’s Bakery on Southwest First near Caruthers was overrun in the late 1950’s. The second location, at Southwest Fourth and College, lasted only a few years more. Mr. Mosler’s last days as a professional baker were spent–emblematically–in suburban Hillsdale. Harry Mosler died in 1969 right around the High Holidays. He took his bagel recipe to the grave. No one should have to work so hard.
Since Mosler died, what have passed for bagels in Portland are almost uniformly flavorless, oversized, bread rings. Circular Wonder Bread. Several manufacturers appear to have latched on to the theory that if the quantity is greater, no one will notice that the quality is lacking. The dominant alternate theory–I call it the “abomination postulate” (which, I might add, would be a great name for a John Grisham novel)–is that if you add enough weird ingredients to a characterless dough, you can distract the populace and sell fancy new kinds of so-called bagels. Thus dawned the scourge of blueberry, cinnamon-raisin, pizza and other horrifying rounds. Mosler turned in his grave.
I am not here solely to recount local history nor even to vilify that most unsavory subspecies of bagel producer, Noahbakus crapalotamus. My central task is to pass along a little magic; perhaps not Mosler’s recipe, but some secrets to making a great bagel nonetheless. Yes, you can make a wonderful bagel. Mosler was right; it is hard. But it’s not that hard. Come a little closer and let me tell you what to do:
- 1. Start with high gluten flour. You can get five-pound bags of it right at the Portland Farmers Market. The brand is Shepard’s Grain and it is from some friendly farmers who grow the wheat right nearby in eastern Washington. If you can find some King Arthur flour around town, they offer a high gluten product too. And if all else fails, find some Bob’s Red Mill “Vital Wheat Gluten” and spike your Gold Medal all-purpose stuff with it. A half ounce to every five ounces of flour will do nicely.
- 2. Ferment some of that flour. In other words, make a sourdough starter. Starter (or poolish or culture) recipes abound in baking texts. Better yet, mooch a cup of starter from someone who has kept one for a few years. It need not have come over on the Mayflower. The only requirement is that it should be healthy and vigorous and hungry for some of your new flour and an equal amount of water. Fermentation means flavor. In your bagel recipe, for every 2½ ounces of flour, you want to use about one ounce of starter. (And for every ounce of starter, subtract a half-ounce of flour and a half-ounce of water from the quantities shown in the recipe you use.)
- 3. Have barley malt syrup at the ready. There is no substitute for the flavor this thick and sticky sweetener brings to your bagel dough. Use to taste, but a little goes a long way. You will also need to use some in your boiling water. But that is jumping ahead. If someone tells you that powdered barley malt can be used instead of syrup, thank them enthusiastically for the advice and ignore it.
- 4. Use plenty of water in your dough. In baker’s percentage terms (where the weight of each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the total weight of the flour in your recipe), a 60% dough (6 ounces of water for every 10 ounces of flour) is fine. I know a lot of recipes mandate a “stiff” dough which usually weighs out to about 50% hydration. Do not fall for it. High gluten flour absorbs water like crazy. At 50%, rolling out the dough, if you can do it at all, is like trying to re-shape rubber bands. Give yourself a break. It won’t make any difference in end. I promise.
- 5. After you have made the dough, do not let it rise, not even for a minute. You are going for dense, and rising works against density. Fresh from the mixer, cut and weigh out pieces of dough; 3½ ounces are best, up to four ounces tops. After you have weighed out all the dough, roll out each piece into a rope long enough to circle around the back of your hand with the two ends overlapping by about an inch-and-a-half in the middle of your palm. To form the bagel shape, you must firmly roll the overlapping ends back and forth under your palm on your work surface. This isn’t that hard, especially with practice, and some baking books actually have pictures of the process (Pssst. . .page 140, Maggie Glezer’s, A Blessing of Bread). If you don’t do such a great job, no sweat; the next step will help bail you out.
- 6. All your nice (and not so nice) dough rings should be placed on baking sheets well-dusted with semolina. Cover each batch with a towel that won’t shed, and then refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. During that time, your pre-bagels will puff out a bit and minor blemishes will disappear. The longer the rest, the better. You could even go 48 hours if you get busy. This stage (called “retarding”) is critical. It does two main things. First, the long cold rest allows for leisurely fermentation. This means–I’ll say it again–flavor. Second, the ‘fridge time allows for a thick skin to form on the surface of the bagel. This will assure a crunchy exterior on the finished product.
- 7. After the big chill, you must boil your bagels in a large stock pot of barley malt syrup-infused water. If you skip this step, you will end up with something, but it won’t be bagels. And Mosler’s ghost might come down to smite you, with ample justification. Most commercial bakers skip this step, among others, which is why their bagels lack texture and they must regularly pray for forgiveness. Don’t you skip the boil. Along with retarding, a quick boil (no more than 10 seconds per side is necessary or desirable) ensures a crispy crust.
After a quick, high heat bake (425NF for about 15 minutes), you are done. Your bagels will be great–deep golden outside, with a dense and chewy interior. Relatives, friends and neighbors will kiss up to you and tell you to open a bakery. At least that is what has happened with me. Just ask my dad:
OJP: Have I told you that when I was kid . . .
OJP: Just kidding, Mike. Mosler would be proud of you. Your mother and I are, too. You should open a bakery.
Me: Thanks, dad. Maybe I will.
A charming and mouthwatering recollection, thank you!
No personal memories of great Portland bagels, but I did have a semi-regular fix in L.A.
Sunday mornings I would arrive at “I & Joy” bakery on Pico Blvd. very early and take in the aroma of fresh-from-the-oven bagels and bialis. A short trip down the road to Nate and Al’s Deli provided the balance of my sunday ritual; some whipped cream cheese, a little smoked sturgeon, a little more kippered salmon, and a Sunday Times. Occasionally I would throw in a couple ruggulah for good measure.
Needless to say, my current Sunday ritual has morphed into a (sadly) “northwesternized” variation; almond croissant from Ken’s, a double latte, and a (starting to tear up now) Sunday Oregonian. Oy!
In Brooklyn, where I grew up, toss up a nickel and nine times out of ten you hit a bagel shop. And they were pretty much all great: glossy, chewy, dense but not too. And as for flavorings, the only thing the deli guy had to ask was, “Plain or onion?”
Still, always keen to bake, I once decided to make my own; as anyone who read the above instructions now knows, it’s a bit of work; mine turned about about 30% as good as what I could find at a dozen places within spitting distance–for 25-cents. After that, I left it to the experts.
But in Portland, we’re in a real pickle. And so I raise add my voice to OJP/your dad’s: you should (please oh please) open a bagel bakery.
If the best thing you can find around JCC is Noah’s, well, then you know there’s probably room for some improvement! I can honestly say I never fathomed there would be so much work in making a bagel – thanks for the insights.
If you’ve ever had one of Mike’s bagels, you’ll know he does the memory of Mr. Mosler proud.
I grew up in Beverly Hills, and still go to Nate ‘n’ Al’s when I visit my folks, but the quality of the food has plummeted in the last couple of years. (Star-spotting is good, however, with Larry King there most mornings.) We do bring back their bagels to Portland, because they beat anything commercially available here.
Okay, now how about a place a transplanted New Yorker can get a Bialie?
Marshall Manning says
Michael, do you know if Mosler’s Hillsdale bakery was the precursor to the Hillsdale Pastry shop that closed down awhile ago?
I’d guess that a top bagel shop would stand a pretty good chance of survival in Hillsdale now as there’s a large Jewish population that lives near Mittleman. We could definitely use more foodie destination places in the area, and you might even be able to put a Noah’s out of business, too ;-).
Food Dude says
The first time Michael Charles agreed to write for us, he mentioned he had just made bialys and I was welcome to stop by for some. Unfortunately I couldn’t that day, but have thought about them ever since.
Isaac Laquedem says
Mr. Mosler also made a tasty loaf of challah, which we would tear into and eat in crustless chunks, pulled from the center, right after it came out of the oven. But his bagels were something special.
Being a suburban kid with a grandmother who produced Wonderbread slathered with Nucoa and sprinkled lavishly with granulated sugar as an after school snack, Mr Mosler’s breads were a revelation (ah, the dark rye). Unfortunately, I discovered his shop shortly before the bulldozers ushered him out. I remember him as an elfin fellow with dough encrusted fingernails. He would always offer a cookie (he made atrocious cookies, better suited as clay pigeons). What fun to hear others’ memories of him. He was an original, and it has been a long wait for Portland’s bread scene to rebound from his loss.
So, I always knew I was sortof related to Mr. Mosler. He’s my dad’s first cousin’s grandpa – my dad’s first cousin being the Darrell you mention. Mr. Mosler was Darrell’s OTHER grandpa on his mom’s side (okay, I’m confusing even myself – but the point is I am only related by marriage). My dad and Darrell were and still are quite close – and my WHOLE life I never knew ol’ Darrell had a secret past as a fancy baking school student. I am floored. He’s been holding out on me all these years! I think he’ll be hearing from me soon.
I was expressing my incredulity to my folks about this fact today after having read your post and my mom told me that the monster-sized challahs at their wedding (I’ve seen the photos – they really are huge) were made by Mr. Mosler. My mom also said that the challah was so long, he apparantly had to bake it on one end and then turn the loaf around to bake the other end ). Sadly, Mr. Mosler was not able to attend the wedding (in Seattle) because he had to rise at 3am in order to open his bakery. He wasn’t kiddin’ around about the hard work!
Unfortunately, he passed away before I got in on any of the bagel action. My own grandpa (my dad’s dad) was a pharmacist with an old timey soda fountain in downtown Vancouver (WA). He, too, retired before my time. Damn – I was born too late. What I wouldn’t give for a good bagel with some smoked whitefish and a chocolate ice cream soda, both served up by genuine OJPs. I’m mourning the loss of things I never even had.
BTW Cadmaven: the bialy at Barry’s Bakery in Eugene are quite nice, according to my mom.
Michael Charles says
First, thanks to all for your comments and memories. My parents, who have never before read any of my writing, seemed to enjoy it (once they finally figured out how to type in the URL for this site on AOL. Oy vey!). I’m not sure all of my stories will be so personal, but that is a goal.
Second, to Marshall Manning, the pastry shop used to be called Jenkinson’s. It was next to Lynch’s Market. The last Mosler’s spot was across the highway, in the one building set back from and at right angles to the Mexican restaurant and the site of the former Garbanzo’s.
To jo: everything in the story was verified with actual sources. My dad really did sell papers at 5th & Morrison. I had a nice chat or two with Darrell and he seemed to like the bagels I sent him. I sent him an early copy of the story, but haven’t heard whether he read or liked it. But he did tell me about the baking school and verified what had long been a legend in the Jewish community about Mosler taking the recipe to the grave despite entreaties to pass it along.
Finally, I need to do a lot of things to make it happen, but I would like to sell my stuff at Portland Farmers Market on their final day of the season. In addition to bagels, I’d like to offer my onion bialys, rye variations and challah. I honestly don’t know if I can pull it off, but if I can, it would be fun.
Short of that, for those who are truly desperate, send your requests, with complete contact information and the basis of your desperation, to the FoodDude and, if it’s not too much of a burden on him, he can pass the info on to me. I will see what I can do.
Anne Weinstein says
Lawanda Haynes says
Where can we purchase/order Mrs. Neushin’s Brine Pickles?
When we were in Vancouver we got them at Fred Meyer’s, but no longer have a contact up there. I tried calling FM, but whoever answered the phone didn’t know what I was talking about. Can you please help???
Our E-Mail: Vanlawanda@aol.com
Fred Meyer in most of Portland carries the pickles. I grew up on them.
anna o says
they have neushin’s at Albertson’s still. my grandfather used to work for neushin’s and eventually went out on his own and made “felix pickles” or “kosher dills by felix” which they don’t make anymore so I have reverted back to Neushins.. so good!
Is there a suggestion on where I might obtain the recipe that was used to make Felix Pickles?
The ones made in Aurora, Oregon?
Maybe it is an old recipe?
The closest I am able to find are Bubbies pickles.
Thank you for any comments.
Theresa Hoss says
I too am looking for a place to purchase Mrs. Neushin’s pickles. I now live in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and cannot find them here. Is there anyplace where you can buy them by the case? I haven’t found a good pickle since I moved from Portland 12 years ago. Please help!
tom c says
This is for anna o. I wonder if your grandfather had the recipe for the pickles ? I had heard that the pickler had left Mrs. Neushins and started his own company, Felix. Was it located in Portland ? I was never able to confirm this but would love to know the answer. At some point the taste of Mrs Neushins pickles changed – they didn’t have that sharp (probably the wrong word) taste that they had always had and what made them so good. I had also understood that Mrs. Neushins were made somewhere near Portland State University. Anything you can shed on this would be welcome. Thanks. If a phone call is ok you could call me at (503)239-5809 Portland, OR. Thanks again.
Hi there Tom!
I Live North of Seattle now in Lynnwood, but I used to live in Portland a few years back. As I can see it has been some time since the “Great Pickle Debate” here on the pages. I happened to be doing some searching on the net to see where in the world we could buy some Neushins pickles also, and was Googled in this direction. Still I see, none of you had anymore answers than I did, and that was a year prior to now. I used to see them on the shelves at both Albertsons and Safeway, but they seem to have been discontinued.
Our fears of them going into the void of time may become a reality though. Steinfelds Inc, did continue to make and distribute them for several years after Mrs.Neushins’ son “Irving” sold the company to Steinfelds. Now, I am reading in more than one business journal that “Dean Foods Inc.” is buying out Steinfelds, and the North Portland plant, will be closing down in June of 2008. Possibly the Neushin we all know and are passionate for may be discontinued. OH CRAP!
I am a long-time “dedicated Neushin Pickle Groupie” since the age of 17, and I am now going on 54. Those wonderful pickled delights had been around for a long time before my “First Job” where I lovingly hand packed those beauties into jars, filled them with brine, and then hand labeled them and put them into boxes for shipping. I worked in the Neushins’ Family basement with a small crew of 5 or 6 of us, where the “below house” garage & basement doors opened up & out onto “S.W.College St.”, between 4th and 5th Aves, in the PSU neighborhood of Portland. It was 1972. Memories of going across the street to cash my first paycheck, and with no experienc at it, and NO ID, I was quite embarrassed at the tellers window. She asked me to wait just a moment, she’d be right back. Soon she reappeared at the window, and smiled as she counted out my first “real” money I had earned at Neushins. I asked her what made them change her mind about cashing it with me having no ID. She replied, “I could smell your ID”. Lord knows we splashed enough of the brine on us on a regular basis. You know how you open a fresh can of coffee, and that wonderful aroma lifts to your nostrils, and just makes you go “Aaaahhhh….”….? well I get the same lift from cracking open a fresh jar of Neushins Pickles. I have a lot of stories about my days with Neushins, if anyone is interested in hearing more, let me know. I am going to keep looking for them. I will keep you all posted on my quest for them. Till then ….keep the faith!
Any luck finding them?
Hi there……………….I read your old post on “portlandfoodanddrink.com recently.
Are you still looking for Mrs. Neusihin’s Kosher Dill Pickles.?
There were several other folks also looking for them on that
site………….the latest post I viewed recently was a Jan 09 post.
If you are still looking, they are available again in the Portland area.
They are now being distributed by Bay Valley Foods, LLC., Green Bay,
WI. . Their web site is: http://www.bayvalleyfoods.com, and phone 800 236 1119
I know for a fact that they are available at Sheridan Fruit Co. in Portland.
Phone 503 236 2113. They are $6.25 for a 42 oz jar, nothing smaller or
larger there. Bay Foods recently says that they are available again at
Fred Meyers, Safeway, Albertsons, etc. .
Maybe you could post this info on the above site…….enjoy. rick
Thank you so much, I have been looking for years to find some more of these tasty delights.
I was even looking for the recipe to try and imitate them myself
neushins pickles can be purchased at Albertsons or Fred Meyers by the case
I used to work around the corner from the house where Mrs. Neushin made her pickles. As I understand it, after she died, Steinfield Pickles bought out her label, but not the recipe – that went to Felix. A couple of years ago, I found they had stopped production – couldn’t contact anyone having to do with Felix Pickles. I would love to have the recipe if anyone can get it. I am in definite Felix Kosher Pickle withdrawal since no one makes one even close. I still have one in a jar in my frig as I can’t bear to use the last one.
Felix Gourmet Pickles Inc
6822 S Anderson Rd, Aurora, OR 97002-9333, phone: (503) 266-5256
PS.. go read the reply to Tom’s post…#18
Steinfeld did get the pickles, lock, stock, and barrel
including the recipe. Irving wanted to retire after his mother passed away, and it was going to make a nice retirement for him. We were all pretty close. I thought I was going into shock when Steinfelds bought the biz though. I went out and started buying the pickles, and kept worrying about how long of a shelf life they had. LOL>….
I sure do miss them. They were the Best. PSs…do you know who Felix was? (you’re going to laugh!)
Jay Johnson says
As a young undergraduate student at PSU in the late 60’s I would walk by Mrs. Neushin’s front porch. She along with other workers would sit on the front porch and peel tons and tons of garlic—-that was her secret and is what caused the brine to be so cloudy. Every so often a gaggle of men would come from nearby places of work and help her haul those pickle barrels around. A different time, that’s for sure. As for Mosler’s Bakery, I was taken there with my Grandfather and always got a cookie and never a bagel.
What an enjoyable read. I found this page by accident while searching for a place to buy a whole kosher chicken (still haven’t).
I wish I’d stumbled onto this site a couple of years ago in hopes of catching some of those bagels at the Farmer’s Market.
So far the best answer I’d found on where to get a good bagel in Portland is a friend of mine who gets them overnighted to her from New York. Unfortunately that doesn’t do me any good :(
I’m not much of a baker, but I was toying with the idea of giving that recipe a go. I think the sticking point for me is the starter.
Food Dude says
What do we know about the missing Felix Pickles? Have moved down from Ida/Wash…lived in Kellog and drove to Spokane Fred Meyers at least 2x a year for a half dozen jars…Neushins is good, but Fexix has just the right bite….any recipes floating around? I have one similar, but the best is always, well-the best…thanks FW
Don Skiles says
I had been living up on Mt. Hood back in the 1990s and would regularly “come down the mountain” to do my shopping at the Safeway in Sandy. There they sold Felix Pickles but they only sold them separately (one huge pickle) in plastic wrapping with brine. For years I ate them that way and never realized that Felix Pickles also sold jars of more normal-sized pickles so I was content to eat the monster-sized ones I was getting. They were the best tasting dill pickles I have ever had in my entire life with maybe the exception of pulling a dill pickle out of a pickle barrel back when I was a child.
I then moved to Alaska and soon realized that Felix Pickles were nowhere to be found in that state so I contacted Felix Pickles by telephone and explained my situation to them and nearly begged them to ship me a case at any price.
The woman I spoke to told me they normally did not sell their pickles to private individuals, but to stores only. However, she would make an exception and sell me a case and they would ship it to Alaska for me!😁
A coupe of weeks later I received a case of jarred pickles from them which really surprised me since up until then I had only seen the individual monster-sized pickles for sale. And not a single glass jar was broken during the shipping either!
It took me nearly a year to consume that entire case of pickles by myself, and I certainly felt spoiled that entire year eating those mouth-watering gems from Canby, Oregon way up there in Alaska.
When they ran out, I was never able to get ahold of Felix Pickles again and was told they “went out of business”. I never could understand how a company that made the best pickles I have ever tasted could simply go out of business.😞
If anyone knows a way to get these same pickles again, no matter what they are called nowadays, please send me an email at email@example.com.
Katy Smith says
Thanks for the excellent memory of Mr Mosler’s bakery as well as the recipe. His bagels and ryes were indeed sublime and I learned the meaning of “baker’s dozen” in his shop. Not to mention Mrs. Neusihin whose pickle factory was visible out my apartment window in the mid-70’s …
What do folks think of Kettleman that recently opened? I haven’t tried it yet but I’m looking forward to it.
An article in Willamette week says that a properly proofed bagel should float when boiled. Is that true?
I’m rather fond of Kettleman’s. My only complaint was that occasionally there were a few overly large air pockets, but my most recent half dozen were perfect.
Having dabbled in bagel-making (with delicious but unattractive results), I would say that the Willy Week is technically correct, but in much the same way as they would be had they said “a properly proofed stone should sink when boiled.” That is to say, I experimented with several different rising times and methods, some of which were disastrously bad, but the bagels never failed to float.
Kettleman’s are ok but not great. They lack the weight & density required for a great bagel.
As a small child I have fond memories of Mosler’s.
Best bagels (cold from the retarder) will sink at first, then rise majestically to the surface after roughly 20 seconds once the yeasties start going nuts from the heat and begin to spew CO2 into the compressed gluten structure of the interior.
The first time you see this, it’s kind of like witnessing the miracle of the Maccabees’ oil lamp.
Floaters can be OK, though. No comment on K’s bagels.
Oh, thank you. Your perspective is greatly appreciated since I was trying to follow your hints having never made bagels before.
I’ve tried making them 3 times and each time I’ve had either sinkers, or the behavior you describe.
I recall reading no more than 10 seconds per side is needed for the boil. Well, since mine mostly sank I found the “per side” part more or less irrelevant.
I think my weakest points in the process are: A) what the starter/sponge should look like before I incorporate it. B) how much water to use (Is it OK for it to be wet and sticky for the first minute or tow of kneading?) C) When the kneading is done.
I use the dough hook in my Kitchenaid mixer and sometimes the lump of dough will be held by the hook and rotate along with it. I’m assuming that’s not very useful in working the dough.
One time I tried Seran wrap over the retarding bagels in the fridge instead of a towel, because I was afraid they’d dry out too much. I won’t do that again.
I can’t wait to try the bagels from Kenny and Zukes new deli.
I got some Kettleman bagels Thursday night. I take from your response that I should be able to do much better at home when I know what I’m doing. I was surprised at how big they were, and maybe it was because it was after hours but the crust wasn’t what I expected after reading some reviews of the place.
The owner is very very friendly though. I was impressed by that.
Jay Johnson says
Your dough is sticking to the dough hook because it is a trifle too wet. Add in one teaspoon of the flour you are using, if that doesn’t work then turn off the machine and scrap the sides of the bowl down. Remember, the more flour you add the drier your bagels will be and that’s not a good thing, is it?
Thanks so much for a wonderful story. I had no idea a native Oregonian could have exactly the same sentiments about bagels that Brooklynites carry around with us every place we move to… in this sort of Bagel Diaspora. The very existence of Noah’s is an insult. I haven’t tried Kettlemans because I’ve given up hope long ago.
But now I know that there is a legacy of real bagels somewhere out here, I will continue the search with renewed hope.
One of my favorite spots (in Manhattan, actually) is Ess-a-Bagel, and they will overnight deliver bagels anywhere in the lower 48 states. It’s not the same as fresh hot bagels, but it beats paying for airfare when you need a real New York bagel.
I do remember that Mrs. Neushin’s Pickles had “pickling” spices at the bottom of the jar. Like the McCormack pickling spices you will find in a tin box. I now live in Virginia and have 7 children. Each time I was pregnant I would have my mom bring me some Mrs. Neushin’s pickles from Salem Oregon. We would buy them at Fred Meyer. I forgot to check for them last summer while I was visiting the Portland area. If Felix is in Aurora, that is not far from Portland.
As for bagels, I have made my own, and I have to say home made bagels are amazing. I got my recipe and directions from The Bagel Book. I have forgotten who wrote it. Don’t know if it is still in print. The internet is great for finding recipes and directions for most anything though.
Gotta go call Mom to ask her to look for “My” pickles. I may need to do some investigating.
mom x 7
Are there any good bagels on the east side??!!! I just got back from NYC this morning with a dozen each from H&H, Murray’s and Bergens in Brooklyn. I freeze them and thaw them and they are still leagues above anything I’ve had in Portland. What’s up? Also we are lacking in Italian deli’s and arepas.
I think that Kettlemen Bagels on SE 11th in Ladd’s Addition would be your best east side bet.
Thanks, I’ll try Kettlemen Bagels when my stash runs out!
Are we REALLY still talking about bagels? Really? I think it is a foregone conclusion – and a topic that warrants no further discussion – that New York, quite simply, has bagels cornered.
Note: I am not a down-on-Portland New York transplant. I am a proud Oregon native and tend toward the “love it or leave it” stance when the haters start hatin’. But facts are facts: New York makes great bagels, and
even the “best” bagels in Portland are far from comprable.
End. Of. Story. Seriously. Please do not talk about bagels anymore. It is so tired.
We could talk about why NY has the best bagels and they apparently can’t be replicated here. Or why six months on it’s not unreasonable to reactivate any thread about any type of food in Portland.
I remember in the late 80’s a French baker installed a French oven in the South of England – 20 crow flying miles from his bakery in France. Ferried the flour over, baked the bread himself, and declared it not a patch on what he was producing in France. He even went so far as to bring water over at one point to see if that was the reason. It finally killed all argument at the time over why great French bread simply couldn’t be produced in England. San Francisco sourdough is perhaps another fair example of area-specific excellence.
I think the owner of Kettlemans told me he made bagels in NY for 8 years or something like that when we talked prior to his opening. It’s unlikely he suddenly forgot how to do it.
God I love bagels. We need a place that has thirty different cream cheese and tofu spreads. I could talk about all day. Wish I could eat good ones all day too. It would pop off in NE Portland.
I am late to the comments thread on this article, but bagels are something I have long yearned for in Portland (at least a good source). I really don’t like Kettleman’s much. And, whether it is the water or not, New York still has amazing bagels, that said I don’t think they have the market cornered. Montreal-style bagels are fantastic! And they are made in a wood-fire! Something, I imagine, someone in Portland could replicate that. Now, let’s talk about the schmear…I am all about the a schmear of lox cream cheese; that salty-smokey-salmon flavor encased in a creamy setting. Bliss. So, PDX let’s work on this wood-fired bagels and NW salmon spread. We can do it.
Kristie: New in town, eh? Been to Kenny & Zuke’s yet? Pretty good bagels–made from the recipe created by the “Bagel Daze” article author. I know the guy. He’s a freak for tasty bagels. And K&Z makes its own lox shmear, too.
Now the K&Z bagels aren’t the wood-fired oven kind, but you can get those too. Just head to Portland Farmers Market on Saturday and find the Tastebud booth. Look for the big wood-fired oven and the big guy named Mark who runs the joint. Lotsa folks like those bagels.
As for Kettlemans, agree with you there. But you gotta give the little fella plenty of credit. . .he’s got a serious money line down to L.A. and isn’t shy about opening lotsa stores and selling blueberry, pizza or any other crap nouveau “bagel” variety. K&Z and Tastebud don’t do that.
. . .and five years after the fact isn’t too late to comment. Internet postings, like cockroaches, will probably stick around forever.
May The Google be with you.
mczlaw forgot to mention that he is a founding investor and co-owner of kenny & zukes. he is also showering praise on his own bagel recipe.
. . .oh man. busted. And I thought it was such a well-kept secret. Can’t get anything past s_i_n_h. ;-)
LOL, you know the guy!
kids these days.
Steve Kern says
My Grandpa moved to Portland from Chicago in 1946,the apartment they rented was going to the owners brother, back from the war. Grandpa and Grandma Gutschmidt came out with my mom, Arlene and bought a house in the Hollywood district. Grandpa was Mr Mosley’s insurance man, I remember Grandpa would go early to the bakery and get a dozen bagels, French rolls, and rye bread! Mr Mosley would give us three boys a bagel, I remember they were 5 cents!
Mr Mosler was from Vienna, and Grandpa from Berlin. They would talk in German, Mr Mosler was always in a white t shirt, grey haired and bald, very slight, he seemed so old to me!
I have to say, I’ve never tasted a bagel that can duplicate his!
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for sharing the memories!
Marleen Wallingford says
Stumbled upon this while looking for any information about Jenibson’s Pastry Shop. My dad, Sab Ikeda opened the business with Bill Jenkinson in 1956. They bought equipment from a closed bakery. After Mr. Mosler closed his shop, he worked for my dad. By that time the place was named Ikeda Pastry Shop, later changed to Hillsdale. But Mr. Mosler made vela for the shop to sell. My dad said, Mr. Mosler gave him the recipe. One step I. The process was immersing the bagel in water before baking. I remember my dad telling us that the recipe was a secret and Mr. Mosler wouldn’t tell his family.