The differences between East Coast and West Coast bagels have been a topic of great debate for years. Some people believe it’s due to water used during dough creation, while others claim that there are other factors at play such as yeast variety or time spent proofing the bread before baking them. Certified food scientist, chef, and business owner Brad Kent explains why East Coast and West Coast bagels taste so different.
Is it all in the water? Many people believe that the secret to a perfect tasting bagel is in the water that’s used to create the dough. While all elements in water affect the baking process, Kent explains the proportions of each element and many other determining factors make all the difference in the taste.
Taking pizza to the next level, Kent and co-founders previously launched Blaze Pizza and by 2015 built the concept into become one of the nation’s fastest-growing restaurant chains. Kent continues to work with Blaze Pizza as chief culinary officer and remains a pizza maven with an eye always toward the planet.
During the pandemic, Kent knew that protecting the world was more important than ever and immersed himself in research, careful planning, and advanced work in sourcing local and regenerative ingredients for his newest venture, Bagel+Slice, based in Los Angeles. The concept for Bagel+Slice is simple: reasonably priced extraordinary bagels and pizza all day in a warm neighborhood setting, focused on sustainability, community involvement, health and safety. This restaurant represents community, social awareness and environmentally friendly solutions with a commitment to health consciousness for both their customers' well-being as well as the planet's natural resources.
“Our customer say that they don’t know what we put in our bagels, but it’s addictive,” he said. “I think what your body is craving food that is not highly processed.”
Paying homage to the historic New York City bagel makers, Bagel+Slice rolls their bagels by hand (not a machine), boils the bagels (instead of steaming them), bakes their bagels on a burlap lined board (not parchment paper) and bakes their bagels in a hearth oven (not a convection oven).
Bagel+Slice is gluten-free friendly and their doughs for bagels and pizzas are all vegan. Kent created his own brand of gluten-free flour to use for Bagel+Slice’s gluten-free options. Kent has also developed delicious plant-based recipes, making many of his own vegan recipes using whole food ingredients that minimize food waste and maximize flavor.