Archive for the ‘Bagels’ Category

Vote for a Blogger Turned Baker! My Seedy “Shoot The Chef” Photo

Shoot The Chef entry for the SMH of Michael Shafran of Brooklyn Boy Bagels

Soooo, I’ve been holed up in the bakery for the past few months, frantically scurrying around trying to get my Brooklyn Boy Bagels business off the ground. It’s an obvious statement, but starting up your own business is damn hard work. I reckon the sleep deprivation and stress of being a baker is perfect training for having kids. I’m not there yet (sorry, Mom!), but at least I’m pretty confident now that I can survive it.

And amid all of the 1am baking starts, fist-tight money issues, unproductive stressy sleeps and infinite Murphy’s Law moments, I decided to have a little fun –I entered in the Sydney Morning Herald’s prestigious “Shoot The Chef” photo competition. I’d wanted to do it for years, but being a food writer always seemed like a bit of stretch for a “chef” competition. Now that I’m actually producing food for a living, it finally feels right

With that in mind, I paired up with talented professional photographer Connie Chan, and we went through dozens of my ridiculous ideas until this last one popped up at the very last minute. “How about we completely cover me in bagel ingredients?” I asked Connie, fully expecting her to raise another concerned eyebrow at yet another quirky idea from my always-spinning brain. She surprised me by loving the idea. So before she came to her senses, I scampered around for a make-up artist and off we went.

Well, Murphy’s Law arrived as usual, and the make-up artist didn’t. Connie and I wanted to freak out and rail against the bagel gods, but we didn’t have a backup option, so we zipped off to a make-up and special effects shop in Newtown, did a quick consult and then sped off to the Chemist for some black eye shadow to boot. A mere five hours of latex application – and heaps of poppy and sesame seeds in my eyes, up my nose, in my ears and through my mouth – we were nearly there. All it took was a finishing touch of flour in my hair (which just made me look old, so we cropped it) and a moustache schmear of cream cheese, and off we went. Cream cheese, by the way, lasts for about five photos before it flops off in a messy schmear onto your pants.

I hope you agree that the end result is pretty awesome. And now that we’ve submitted the photo for consideration, we need YOUR HELP! The competition has a people’s choice award, and we’re going to do our damnedest to get over the line. So if you can spare five seconds, please grace us with your presence at the following link and simply click the like (thumb’s up) icon to the left. We need hundreds of likes, so your vote is crucial, nay lifesaving! (Probably.) And if you can share this on Twitter, Facebook or your favourite blog, we’d love you that much more. It’ll take about three blinks, we promise!

So hit us up below, and big hunka bagel love for lending a hand:



Bringing Real Brooklyn Bagels to Sydney


You know when I go underground, there’s always a good reason. This time it’s for something that I’ve been very proud of – Brooklyn Boy Bagels.

After 12 years of complaining that every bagel I’d ever seen in Australia was nothing like a real New York bagel – they were always too bready and fluffy, and rarely boiled – I decided to do something about it. I spent the past year learning how to make proper, artisan and handrolled bagels,  including a couple of trips to New York and a surprisingly productive trip to San Francisco, working with a couple of top bagel-makers who were, naturally, transplants from the New York metro area. I spent a day with the No 1-rated Schmendricks, and I particularly have to thank Dan Graf of Oakland’s Baron Baking, who took me under his wing and showed me every single detail of his bagel-making process, which blends traditional techniques with some modern thinking.


I finally opened up my own pop-up in February, taking over one of my favourite small bars, Darlie Laundromatic in Darlinghurst, on Sundays. The opening day was insane and a complete surprise: before we’d even opened our doors, we had a line around the block down Palmer Street, and again down Foley Lane. If I was ever wondering whether Sydneysiders would take to authentic NYC bagels, I needn’t ever wonder again.


So what makes Brooklyn Boy Bagels so special? Well, they’re done the traditional way, using the same techniques that the Polish-Jewish immigrants did when they first brought bagels to New York in the late 19th Century, and then to the rest of America. My great-grandparents and grandmother were part of that immigration wave. They came through Ellis Island, lived in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and then found more space in Brooklyn. That’s where I was conceived – Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay. So you could say I was born with a bagel in my mouth.


So it’s not just a matter of New York pride, but also with a mind towards preserving my heritage that Brooklyn Boy Bagels are made using the following methods:

  • Hand-rolled: We form each and every bagel by hand, which produces sore shoulders, but also a tight dough that tastes like nothing any bagel-shaping machine can achieve
  • Boiled: Boiling is what makes a bagel a bagel, giving it its unmistakable crunch, flavour and texture. Don’t trust anyone who says a bagel tastes just as good steamed
  • Malt: We use top-quality malt for our bagels, which gives them their distinctive taste
  • Organic Stoneground Flour: Back in pre-industrialisation days, the original bagel makers didn’t have to worry about flour made with harsh pesticides. And thanks to our sourcing of top-quality organic stoneground flour from New England’s (New South Wales, that is) Wholegrain Milling, neither do you. Oh yeah, and the flour makes the bagels taste awesome, too!
  • Bagel Boards: We bake our bagels on both sides, flipping them over via handmade wooden bagel boards, which produce a fully rounded bagel from above and below. Next time you have a bagel from anywhere else, check out its flat underside. Ours have nice, rounded bums

Following up the success of our first pop-up, Brooklyn Boy is now back at Darlie Laundromatic for an extended run. So if you’re hungry any Sunday this month and fancy an authentic NY bagel, I’d love you to come by and have a taste of my native city. Here are the deets so you can find us:

Brooklyn Boy Bagels @ Darlie Laundromatic
304 Palmer Street
Darlinghurst, NSW
Sundays, 9am-2pm