I’ve expounded on the virtues of Sammy’s New York Bagels before, having ordered them multiple times for home delivery. Sammy’s bagels are also a regular feature at coffee shops, delis, and cafeterias around town. If you’ve eaten a bagel in Columbus, there’s a good chance it was one of Sammy’s. In the most recent issue of Columbus Crave, I had the great opportunity to meet the owner Sam Pullano at his production facility to learn about his process and his background. Take a moment to read the write-up here.
While I was there, I took my own photos of the process, because it was just so fascinating to me. Sammy’s doesn’t have a storefront (they used to have several), so their production is obviously focused on wholesale. Day and night, they’re making bagels in 100-pound batches.
After the dough is mixed, it’s laid in long stretches and fed into the cutter.
The cutter lops them evenly into five-ounce portions.
And then they’re immediately scooted over to the former, which rolls them against the center bar and wraps the two ends together, resulting in the familiar circular shape.
They come out of the former at high speeds, looking like this.
There are stacks and stacks of wooden trays around the facility, all dusted with cornmeal.
As the bagels come out of the former, they’re laid out on the trays and are left to proof.
The bagels are then chilled overnight to stall the yeast.
Sam is from New Jersey and he learned the bagel business in New York City, so he still makes true New York water bagels. These bagels are boiled first before baking, which gives them a firmer outside but a chewier inside.
The boiling is quick – it essentially finishes the proof for them.
Then they’re assembled six at a time, still steaming, onto these long wooden trays.
After a couple minutes in the oven, the bakers flip them by hand off the board. Sam and his bakers were only demonstrating one board for me, so imagine these oven shelves completely lined with bagels.
Then they finish baking for another twelve minutes on the shelf.
Here’s Sam checking our batch in the oven.
They baked a larger batch on a tray, too.
And here’s how they finish! Now, imagine them doing this full-tilt. Sam said they can produce 1500 bagels per hour. From there, bagels are packaged for home deliveries and assembling for wholesale customers all over the city, from huge accounts like Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital to smaller coffee shops, cafes, and bakeries.
I even got to taste some fresh bagels with their cream cheeses with Sam. Despite the large scale baking, Sam still works in relatively small batches, and I think any true bagel aficionado will love his bagels.
If you’ve never tried Sammy’s home delivery, you should do it! Just use their website to order: sammysbagels.net. Orders have to be placed by 3 p.m. the previous day (and by 3 p.m. Friday for Saturday and Sunday deliveries). You get to wake up to fresh bagels on your porch!