Authentic bagels with 60 percent fewer sugars and zero wheat starch/glucose? Bake’mmm Bagels® are taking off as a convenient, healthful and artisanal option.
This success story started with a grandmother’s exhausting recipe and a need to get a good night’s sleep. “Making bagels from scratch is a long, arduous process. I was getting up at 2 a.m. to make fresh bagels at my first bakery,” says Janet Dob, founder and president of Agnes’ Very Very LLC, Verona, Va. “I wanted to create another way to make bagels that was more convenient but that would still provide the same high quality, texture and taste.”
A traditional bagel is only boiled for 60 to 90 seconds. But after a lot of R&D, Dob introduced Bake’mmm Bagels®, which have a drastically different approach to boiling–the bagels are completely cooked in water. Dob initially thought she was only changing the nature of the crust, but it turned out she was changing the very nature of the product.
Now, the company services retailers all across the East Coast and Midwest, as well as consumers via the Internet. “Our products are 100 percent certified organic and kosher,” Janet says. “They don’t have to be organic to get their unique health benefits; organic is just a passion of mine.”
“Since I changed the process so greatly, I decided that I should patent it,” Dob says. “That set me on another path of research to find out exactly what happened internally to this new bagel I’d created.”
Research indicates that by changing the boiling process, the wheat starch in the dough was gaining the health benefits of sprouting before the product was baked. It removes all the glucose from the wheat starch, thereby delivering a wheat-based bread product that retains the texture traditionalists are accustomed to without raising blood sugar. If blood sugar is not elevated, the body isn’t flooded with insulin. So, while ensuring she got her sleep, Dob inadvertently created a product that helps diabetics and addresses obesity. And it still has a satisfying flavor, crispy crust and chewy texture, she says.
“Using our patented production method, our dough is mixed, divided, sheeted, rolled, shaped, proofed, boiled, dried, frozen and packaged like any other facility, only we have eliminated the lengthy retarding step,” Dob says. “Our method has a competitive manufacturing advantage in that it produces a ready-to-bake bagel in two hours. The traditional process requires as much as 24 hours of production/floor time, including 18 to 20 hours of dough development. From raw materials to sale, our method cuts production/floor time by 1,000 percent. This saving in shop time creates immediate and significant cost reductions that add to the manufacturer’s bottom line.”
Bake’mmm Bagels are fully cooked when they come out of the boiler–they are actually edible at that stage, but the consumer or baker makes them palatable by crisping them in a conventional oven or toaster oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Because the bagels have the modified starch molecule, they do not stale as quickly as other types of bagels once browned.
A bakery end-user can deliver freshly baked bagels from frozen to sale in eight to 12 minutes. This simplicity gives the bakery, deli or coffee shop the ability to bake throughout the day as needed. While par-baked bagels stale quickly, and raw frozen bagels require upwards of 90 minutes to prepare, “our bagels provide significant labor savings and marketing advantages,” Dob says. “Also, traditional bagels spend 90 percent of their time in dry environments that draw moisture out. Our bagels spend 90 percent of their time in wet environments, preserving moisture and extending shelf life. In a side-by-side comparison of our freshly baked bagels to any other traditionally baked bagels, Bake’mmm stays fresh longer.”
Classic flavors include Original, Heartland whole wheat, cinnamon raisin spice, roasted garlic and onion. And for artisan lovers, there is spinach & roasted garlic, Country Grain & Seeds, cranberry, rosemary Greek olive and Tuscan herb tomato. Also, all Bake’mmm Bagels are packaged and boxed for retail sale in 100 percent recycled paperboard boxes that provide an attractive, easy-to-stack refrigerated or frozen shelf display. The bagels can be stored in a freezer for two years or refrigerated for 2 weeks.
Agnes’ Very Very’s primary retail grocery outlet is Whole Foods Markets in the mid-Atlantic region. It reaches a range of independent markets up and down the East Coast and Midwest. The company also supplies foodservice companies in the Midwest through United Natural Foods (UNFI) and directly supplies many privately owned coffee shops and delis throughout the country, as well as end consumers from the website.
Dob and her crew often market their products in person, doing in-store demonstrations. “We demonstrate a product called a ‘Bagelini,’ which is a fresh grilled bagel sandwich–like a panini only using a bagel. We take our unbaked bagel, assemble the sandwich and then grill it on a grilling press. Which, of course, we re-named the Bagelini press. It makes a great grilled sandwich using a bread that won’t raise your blood sugar,” she says.
Brian Ross, buyer for Whole Foods Markets, notes that aside from the high quality of the bagels, the demonstrations Dob does are a great showcase for the products. “We have been carrying Agnes’ Very Very LLC’s Bagels for a year and a half. I feel they are a wonderful product because they are unique and taste great,” Ross says. “They are always very communicative when it comes to ordering and support. The company is always willing to do wonderful demos that showcase their food.”
David Gessner tried a sample at his local Whole Foods, drawn by the promise of no glucose spikes. “I am a Type 1 diabetic. I love bagels, but because they are so dense, the carbs are extremely high and they cause ridiculous spikes in my blood glucose. The Very Very bagels delivered as promised. The low glycemic composition does not cause my glucose to spike. Now I can have a fresh-baked, hot bagel once or twice a week with no risk.”
Terri Proffer is a consumer who found the products online. “The concept of baking your own bagels is a simple idea with a great outcome. Although I’m in San Diego and they’re on the East Coast, I’m able to get my family’s bagel fix in just two days when I order online. That’s important, because my family has become spoiled and they expect their just-out-of-the-oven bagels every morning now,” she says.