Bantam Bagels: Does A Bagel Need A Hole?

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Bagels are defined not just by their boiled dough, which imparts a dense, fluffy inside and crispy exterior, but by their shape.

Bagels are, by definition, round with a hole in the middle. But one couple is redefining bagels with a new form that could be described as “bagel holes” or “bagel munchkins.”

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Nick and Elyse Oleksak opened Bantam Bagels in NYC’s West Village in September. The former finance workers, with no formal experience in cooking or baking, left their jobs after months of experimenting on Nick’s idea: bagel balls stuffed with cream cheese. The bagel balls are rolled, boiled, and baked much like traditional bagels, then filled with cream cheese using a pastry gun, like a jelly donut.

The “mini bagel balls”–which the shop dubs “bantams”–come in a variety of flavors and styles, including classics like plain, sesame, and everything with cream cheese, and the “Weekend Brunch,” an everything bantam with cream cheese flavored with lox, tomato, and red onion.

But the bagels’ shape isn’t the only untraditional thing in the store. Bantam’s offerings also include French Toast (cinnamon nutmeg egg bagel with buttery, maple syrup cream cheese), Hot Pretzel (pretzel bagel with sea salt, with mustard and cheddar cream cheese), and the Grandma JoJo (Italian-spice bagel topped with marinated tomato, with basil pesto cream cheese).

Bantams start at $1.50 each ($13 for a dozen). The shop is located at 283 Bleecker Street. Bantams are available at Union Markets throughout the city, and can now be ordered online for overnight shipping throughout the Northeast.

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