WASHINGTON — The key to a great bagel is not the water, despite what plenty of proud New Yorkers will tell you.
According to Chad Breckinridge, the secret is letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least a day before boiling and baking the breakfast bread. Also, adding a little more salt than what’s expected helps to enhance the flavor.
Breckinridge is a self-taught bagel expert. Sure, he lived in New York for almost a decade, and thus consumed about 10 years of “some very tasty bagels,” but he doesn’t come from a baking background. A few years ago, however, the Del Ray, Virginia, resident and communications regulation lawyer, started making bagels in his home kitchen “just for fun.”
His products quickly won over family and friends, who gave him the encouragement he needed to take the next step: selling his bagels at the farmers market. Breckinridge arrived to his first market three years ago with 150 homemade bagels in hand (he got up at 3:30 a.m. to boil and bake them all off in batches before the market’s 9 a.m. opening), and over the course of four hours, he sold out.
“The next weekend, I brought 300 (bagels) and they sold out more quickly, and then it just snowballed into this crazy bagel phenomenon and I was making 500, 600 bagels a week to bring to the farmers market out of my house,” Breckinridge said.
That is how Bagel Uprising got its start. Now Breckinridge’s bagel company operates out of the Mt. Vernon Avenue restaurant, Snackbar, where he shares staff, kitchen space and counter space with the local eatery.