Pagels, Gluten-Free Paleo Bagels, Are Better Than You Expected
As I write my very first sentence of this article, my Spidey Sense is already stinging me that I’m going to get hate mail from vengeful New Yorkers who for some reason think they need to find my email address. -email and send me a four- paragraph message about the superiority of circular baked goods in their area over all others. First of all, I lived in New York for five years, and you can sleep at night knowing that I ate a ton of bagels during that time. Trust me; I know how good bagels taste.
Okay, let’s move on to the Pagels.
When I worked in the Brooklyn VICE office, back in the pre-COVID era, every Friday was Bagel Friday, and what a treat it was to walk into the office, grab a bread treat (I really like all egg bagels) toast it, top it with a generous layer of schmear, and start my day sinking my teeth into the perfect synthesis of crispy-soft-creamy. Unfortunately, I started to notice over time that like clockwork, within hours of consuming a bagel, I was literally falling asleep at my desk. I can tolerate most glutinous things with no problem, but something about the particularly dense constitution of New York bagels was quite tiring. Tragically, I had to stop eating bagels unless I could fully recover for the rest of the afternoon. Eventually I learned that eating a single New York bagel is equivalent to eating a quarter to a half loafwho is downright psychotic, like this meme on how you might not eat six string cheeses in one sitting, but for some reason when fried and served with marinara sauce as “mozzarella sticks” you wouldn’t think of it more than twice. I’m not sure I want to start my day eating the equivalent of six slices of Wonderbread. I need to save those calories for my real passions in life: dirty martinis and elaborate boba drinks.
Then I moved to Los Angeles, where good bagels are rare (please don’t DM me about Courage Bagels either; I’m aware of that), and anyway, These days, I’m pretty brainwashed into the whole eat-nutritious-thing-regular (@3 am pizza…I miss you bb) whole thing, because it turns out you’re actually do feel better if you expand your personal food pyramid to include more than jalapeño margaritas and bodega sandwiches. If you don’t live within a 15 minute drive of an Erewhon, the truly iconic “heavenly” “chic grocery store where all the celebrities go”, you can buy natural foods and healthy snacks online from stores such as Prosperous market and Bubble goods. I’ve picked up some amazing stuff on Bubble, including Hella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and Chilli Pizza Crunch from The Flavor Society, but one of my recent purchases from the site included a bagel substitute. paleo called PagesNever before have I been so curious about how an extremely non-paleo item (bagels) could be made paleo (gluten-free, grain-free, and caveman-friendly hot). Here is my honest opinion.
The pages are quite popular; they are one of the best selling products on Bubble goodsand picked up a little speed on Amazon as well. A bit of Pagel history: For those who forget the “rules” of paleo, the term refers to a diet free of grains, sugar, most dairy, oils, additives, preservatives and heavy processing, which focuses on meat, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, which are thought to be the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. Pagel is produced by a brand called Bedrock Bakers, which “CrossFit enthusiast” Steven Friedman founded after discovering the versatility of cassava flour while on a wellness retreat in St. Lucia (relatable!) . Also, just as a fun fact, Friedman’s son, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, is a rising wrestling star.
Cassava is a root vegetable, and it is dried and ground to produce the flour which is the basis of Pagels, and has a high content of resistant starch which makes it potentially beneficial for weight loss and gut health. Other ingredients in Pagels (depending on flavor) include almond flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, yeast, salt, and honey.
I opted for the Tout flavor, as any self-respecting bagel lover would. My first impression was that they’re quite dense, and definitely not as bouncy as a traditional bagel – but, the distribution of all the seasoning was good, the size was about right, and I tried to stay optimistic that with the right preparation and toppings, the Pagel might pleasantly surprise me. The packaging strongly recommends toasting your Pagel, but I don’t own a toaster, so I implemented my usual workaround: heat the butter in a hot skillet and lightly press in the carb of my choice face down until browned and caramelized. Once toasted, I found that visually the Pagel actually served as a very reasonable facsimile of a New York baby.
Next, cream cheese. Unfortunately my fridge was devoid of real schmear, but I still Trader Joe’s Everything But Bagel Dip handy, and I highly recommend it as a substitute. It’s made with Greek yogurt and has a fairly thick consistency, so while it’s definitely not the fluffy cream cheese you’d want on an authentic top-tier bagel, it does provide the creamy, tangy freshness that balances it all out. . Is it paleo? I have no idea.
At this point I tried the Pagel before adding lox. Friends, there is a crisis. There is chewing. Again, there is a difference in density in which the Pagel is noticeably more pasty or biscuity than its Jewish brethren. But to be paleo, it’s not so bad.
After layering the lox, I can confidently say that the Pagel does the job. Is it the same as a “real” bagel? Obviously not. But what you need to realize about bagels is that untoasted and without toppings, bagels really aren’t that exciting. It’s the complete package that makes them so irresistible, and most of these can be successfully integrated into a Pagel.
To be clear, Pagels are for those of us who have reasons why we can’t or don’t want to partake in a standard, extremely indulgent and delicious bagel. Who should buy Pagels? Those who are low carb, health conscious or calorie conscious; a standard New York bagel can contain between 320 and 800 calories even before adding spreads, plus 72 grams of carbs. Pages cap out at 260-300 calories, and 70% of the ingredients pass directly into the stomach (and are therefore undigested). Pagels are also a smart choice for our gluten-free friends, because if there’s a better gluten-free bagel, I’ve yet to come across it (and in Los Angeles, you come across plenty of gluten-free baked goods of varying quality ). They are quite comparable to a packaged bagel from a grocery store, Thomas’ or other; they do the job!
If you’re looking for a super classic, more decadent bagel, this might not be for you, but I’d still recommend trying these at least once, with a bunch of schmear and lox, just to find out how much you ‘you’re in for the bagel and how much you’re in for the cheese and smoked fish. Huzah.
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