The birth of a bagel: A 10-step process


On the other end of the machine, bagels come out and land on a spinning disc before being placed on racks. Tritan said they use 500 pounds of flour a day on average. Matt Rasnic Buy Photos

The IDS got an inside look at how Bloomington Bagel Company creates its from-scratch bagels. Here's the step-by-step process from the shop's off-site commercial kitchen.

Step 1:  Flour is added to the mixer to begin creating the bagel dough.

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Production manager Tritan Ratts slices open a bag of all-purpose flour and pours it into the mixer. Bloomington Bagel Company opened in 1996 and now has four locations throughout Bloomington.

Step 2:  Sugar is weighed and then added to the mixer.

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Dakota Hotchkiss pours sugar into the mixer. Hotchkiss has only been with BBC for a short time but said he really enjoys his job.

Step 3: After all the ingredients are put into the mixer, they are mixed for 15 minutes.

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Blueberry bagel dough is mixed. Each type of dough is mixed for 15 minutes. 

Step 4: After being mixed, the dough is hand pressed and set before it is shaped into bagels.

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Ratts presses plain bagel dough on the table. As the dough is removed from the mixer it is placed on the table where it is hand-pressed into one large slab. 

Step 5: The dough is then sectioned off and put into a machine that portions and shapes the dough into bagels.

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After letting the dough set on the table, it is cut into sections and put through a machine that shapes the bagels. Ratts removes the pieces that were not formed properly. 

Step 6: Raw bagels are then put on trays and stored in a cooler until they are ready to be cooked.

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Raw cinnamon raisin bagels sit in the cooler waiting to be cooked at night. The bagel dough is made during the day and cooked during the nighttime.

Step 7: Next, the bagels are taken from the cooler and boiled in water before being baked.

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Wendy Campbell places raw bagels into boiling water where they sit for 30 seconds to one minute. Campbell has worked with BBC for just over a month and says it is the best job she has ever had. 

Step 8: After the bagels are boiled, they are lined up on trays to be put into the oven.

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As Campbell scoops the bagels out of the boiling water, John Bristow lines them up to be put into the oven. Bristow has worked at BBC for two years and says the most bagels he has ever cooked in one night was over 4,000.

Step 9: The bagels are taken out of the oven after about 13 minutes.

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Bristow removes bagels from the oven after they are finished baking at 495 degrees. In his second year with BBC, Bristow said he likes that he can work at his own pace.

Step 10: The bagels are then stored until they are transported to one of Bloomington Bagel Company's four locations.

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After being baked, the bagels are placed on racks or containers until they are picked up and delivered to one of four Bloomington Bagel Company locations. Pictured above are pretzel bagels and plain flagels, or flat bagels.

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