Who knew? January 15th is National Bagel Day, a celebration of the breakfast staple.

According to Thomas Bagels, the round bread can be traced back to 1610. While the official origin of the bagel is up for debate, most agree that the 17th century creation of the bagel was created in a Jewish community in Krakow, Poland where the boiled then baked good was given to women after childbirth.

Why do bagels have holes in them? Because it made it easier to run a string through a bunch of them to facilitate handling and transporting.

According the Smithsonian, the bagel first appeared in North America in the late 19th century with the influx of Eastern European immigrants. It was a niche product among Jewish enclaves until the 1970s when a company called Lenders began selling their frozen bagels to the masses, calling them the “Jewish English Muffin.”

By the 1990s, bagels were a multi-billion dollar business. There were changes in the production of the bagels as they moved into the mainstream. The Atlantic says that instead of being made by hand they were shaped by machines, instead of being boiled they were steamed, and stone ovens were eschewed in favor of steel ovens. Another big change is that instead of being served within a few hours of baking, they were frozen, much to the horror of the Jewish bagel makers of Manhattan.

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