Review: The Better Bagel

The best bagels I’ve found remain the ones I make based off of Stella Parks’ recipe, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to try something different. I spotted an ad for Better Brand’s bagels. The company portrays these as a healthier alternative to a regular bagel, particular targeting carb-cutters. Each 105 g plain bagel clocks in at 160 calories, 35 g of dietary fiber, and 26 g of protein. The bagels look like the typical large bagel shop variety, but achieve their unusual nutrition profile through heavy use of wheat proteins and indigestible starches.

Eating them plain, they are clearly not normal bagels. They feel light for their size, and have a spongier texture than normal bread. There’s a bit of a yeasty flavor profile as well. Sounds terrible, but if you accept that they are their own category of food, they are actually quite enjoyable and satisfying. I particularly the lack of doughy heft that leaves a weight in your stomach after a typical large bagel indulgence. You might even fool a undiscerning bagel eater if these were doctored up with condiments like cream cheese and smoked salmon.

They are best enjoyed warm, which can be a challenge since they are meant to be stored frozen: I heat them in my toaster oven, but this takes some care to avoid burning the exterior. I like to toast them whole, as they tend to dry out a bit when toasted too much if cut first. I’ve tried all 3 flavors. The everything is my favorite, with toppings that adhere well, but it lacks the typical salt that’s often included with an everything bagel, and I miss it if I don’t supplement. The plain is fine, if a bit boring. The surprise for me was the cinnamon, which offers a perfect hit of sweetness: the cinnamon here is not just a coating, but appears to be incorporated into the dough as well.

These bagels are expensive (currently $16 for a 4-pack, plus shipping), but it’s important to remember they aren’t typical bagels. For those looking for a way to augment their protein intake with something less candy-like than a protein bar, these fit the bill.

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