"Proper" bagels find an Inner Southeast home
Many true aficionados of bagels, the roll with the hole, were deeply saddened when Kettleman's Bagels – the company credited with reviving boiled bagels in Portland – sold out to national chain store operator Einstein Bagel Company, which does not boil them.
Kettlemans had a really great product, reflected the former General Retail Manager for the company, Leah Orndoff. Its a lot more labor-intensive to make a boiled bagel – it takes more people, more effort, more time. But it was the product helped them grow to five stores. One of those was just north of the Brooklyn neighborhood, and was the subject of a BEE story, back when it was open.
In 2012, as a result of that sale, Orndoff took a job managing a pizza store during the days. But at night, she and two of the laid-off bakers from her former company decided to keep the boiled bagel tradition alive in the City of Roses.
We started renting kitchen space at night, and were making sixty bagels a day for three accounts, Orndoff recalled. We thought, This is the greatest thing weve ever done!
They came up with the name Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels for their product, because It was weird enough that nobody would forget it. And Henry Higgins, in My Fair Lady, teaches Eliza Doolittle how to be a proper woman. In this case, we are making proper bagels.
Creating a proper bagel is all about the process, confided Orndoff. Our dough proofs for 18 to 36 hours, depending on the variety and atmospheric conditions. Then, the bagels spend a little more than just one minute in our giant 45-gallon boiler, before being baked.
Those Portlanders who have learned the difference in taste and texture between a steamed and boiled bagel demand her product, she says. Were now making 2,500 bagels a night, and delivering to eighty shops and delis in the area.
In mid-January, Orndoff invited THE BEE into what will soon be the first company-owned retail store for the new business, and she hopes to open it to the public sometime in mid-February.
Well be offering eleven varieties of our boiled bagels. Well have seven schmears [toppings, such as cream cheese], and well offer both breakfast and lunch bagel sandwiches.
Keep an eye on the stores windows – at 6420 S.E. Foster Road, across from the Bob White Theater. Or, periodically check their website for information about the opening plans for the store: www.HHboiledbagels.com. Meantime, among the local venues serving their bagels now are Moreland Farmers Pantry, and Kenilworth Coffee House. Reed College stocks them too.