Rebelle Artisan Bagels
“8 and then 6 and 4 is 10. Chemical engineering and baking have way more in common than people would think. One half of 32, 71. One half of 32 is 16, 30, 1635. The recipes are formulas. That’s 12, and you’re following chemistry so we always think about how much water does the dough need to have? We’re shooting for somewhere between 75 and 80 degrees. How much starch, how much sugar? So, we’re gonna do 11 grams of yeast. How do all the elements interact together? When you’re doing bagels, it’s important that you develop the gluten network very thoroughly. And certainly, having a scientist training has helped us move a lot faster and perfect our recipes.
Hi, I’m Melana. Welcome to Rebelle Artisan Bagels. I grew up in Puerto Rico and I went to MIT to study chemical engineering and I decided not to work as an engineer so, I worked in business for a few years, got sick of it and then decided to actually apply my chemical engineering degree in baking.
Rebelle Artisan Bagels is a scratch bagel bakery. We are located in Providence, Rhode Island. We hand make our bagels following traditional methods and we boil and we bake them in small batches. The name Rebelle is French for rebel woman and I thought it would be very fitting given that I was giving up my corporate, cushy job to enter the unknown. When we’re making bagels, the first step is to mix the dough. First thing we’re gonna do is add the sugar and the yeast. It’s five simple ingredients. We use flour, salt, brown sugar, yeast and water.
And now, we’re gonna put the dough hook on it. Let the dough proof in a well oiled plastic container. We cut it into smaller portions and then we put it into the dough divider and then we put the dough onto the wood table and we roll each bagel by hand. This is the old school way, the traditional way of making bagels that you just roll it into a rope, wrap it around your hand, press it and there you go. When we’re ready to boil our bagels, we get a giant tub of water and then we bring that to a boil.
So, we’re gonna add a little bit of dehydrated baking soda and what that helps to do is to brown the surface of the bagel. Next, we would put in a little bit of our malted barley syrup. And this helps give the crust more sugars for the baking soda to caramelize and also that distinctive New York taste that people are looking for.
So, these are the bagels, they’ve been cold proofing for 24 hours. What we look for is just a little bit of bounce in the crust but not too much. We want to make sure that they’re not flat. That would be a sign of over proofing and then, the most important test really happens when we drop one bagel in the water. If it floats, then we did our job properly. If it doesn’t, we have to start over. Look at it, look at it, look at it. Oh! So we did it right, we’re ready to go. So, here we have all of our bagels, we have six flavors that we do everyday. We have plain, onion, poppy, sesame, our signature everything mix. And then depending on the day, we might do some specials. So, every Thursday we do cinnamon raisin, on the weekends we do pumpernickel, on Wednesdays we do our beet bagels and then whenever we feel like it, we’ll do something crazy like our black sesame and squid ink bagel. You can get our bagels by themselves and they’re delicious or if you want to get some spreads on them, we do a beautiful harissa cream cheese with a smoky pepper sauce.
We do a garden herb with freshly chopped herbs. And then you can also get sandwiches like the classic lox and cream cheese and you can also get a hound dog, which is one of the specialties. It’s cinnamon raisin with peanut butter, caramelized cream cheese and tons of bacon. I don’t think that there’s any shortcuts to good product, honestly. I think it’s important to do everything by hand and from scratch and that tradition is getting totally lost nowadays. I think a lot of people see our bagels and taste them and they are reminded of old memories or reminded of their childhood and it’s very fulfilling to help people reconnect with those memories.
I love my bagels so much. I would say our bagels are delicious. I have eaten so many bagels in the past year and I’m still not sick of eating our bagels. Every time I eat a bagel, it’s like love at first bite all over again.”