Bruegger’s Baked Fresh Turns 30

Bruegger’s Bagels officially turns 30 on Feb 7th, but they started the celebration early & in Raleigh to boot {don’t you just love a long celebration?}.

Tuesday morning, I had the awesome pleasure of getting both a behind the scenes tour of a local Bruegger’s bakery & also meeting their executive chef, Philip Smith while he was in town.

Everything was perfect-down to the flowers on our table. Executive Chef Philip Smith introduces himself & Bruegger's bagels. Basic cream cheese versus Bruegger's plain cream cheese. "If it doesn't crunch, it's just a roll with a whole" Chef Smith explains what makes their bagels special.

Everything was perfect-down to the flowers on our table. Executive Chef Philip Smith introduces himself & Bruegger’s bagels. Basic cream cheese versus Bruegger’s plain cream cheese. “If it doesn’t crunch, it’s just a roll with a hole”, Chef Smith explains what makes their bagels special.

If you were following along my twitter & IG feeds, you saw some of the deliciousness. I’d guess a lot of my readers have been to one of Bruegger’s 300 local bakeries. But the bagels are even better when you hear the passion from the chef & see & smell & taste exactly how they’re made. With just five core ingredients: flour, water, barley malt, yeast & salt, Bruegger’s makes great uncomplicated bread. They believe in doing better things with simpler ingredients.

Bruegger's Baked Fresh 2

Baker Denise topping freshly boiled bagels with seasoning. Chef Smith showing us the dough in the freezer. My beloved blueberry bagels slowly fermenting {takes two days}. Pulling bagels out of the kettle boiler. Boiled bagels are arranged on aluminum trays topped with burlap to bake upside down at 470 for 3.5 mins then flipped.

After watching the bagels from cold fermenting dough to baked fresh perfection using the art & science of baker’s fingers, we grabbed a pipping hot bagel to enjoy. I had a sea salt bagel that I covered with strawberry cream cheese on one half & veggie cream cheese on the other. So delicious! Their cream cheeses are all made in VT & very creamy due to them processing it at a very low temperature. The low temperature helps hold the look & flavor of the veggies, fruits, &/or nuts added to their cream cheeses.

Executive Chef Smith & I. Bruegger's selection of baked fresh bagels. My super hot baked fresh from the oven salt bagel. My bagel loaded with veggie cream cheese.

Executive Chef Smith & I. Bruegger’s selection of baked fresh bagels. My super hot baked fresh from the oven salt bagel. My bagel loaded with veggie cream cheese.

We ended the Raleigh Baked Fresh media celebration sampling Chef Philip’s take on what to do with leftover bagels. We rarely have any left over at my house, but if you do, you’ll have to try this Smoked Salmon & Dill Strata.

Smoked Salmon & Dill Strata

Smoked Salmon & Dill Strata

Ingredients

5 plain bagels, cut into thumb sized pieces
6 eggs, cracked into a bowl
1 lb Brugger’s smoked salmon
1 6 oz tub Bruegger’s Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
1 c half & half
1 stick of butter
pinch of salt & pepper
1/4 c fresh dill, end of the branches, picked into tiny pieces
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
Pam spray

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a 13″ shallow baking dish with Pam.

Melt the butter in your microwave on high for 20 seconds.

In a stainless bowl, beat the eggs until the yolks & whites are blended. Then add the melted butter, half & half, salt & pepper & fresh dill.

Soak the cut bagel pieces in the egg mixture, & using your fingers, work the eggs into the bread, so it is thoroughly soaked & all the custard has been absorbed.

Layer the baking dish with 1/2″ layer of soaked bagels. Top with a layer of smoked salmon {half lb or half the side of salmon}. Dot the smoked salmon with dollops of half of the cream cheese. Repeat a soaked bagel layer & another salmon layer. Dot again with the remaining half of cream cheese. Layer the remaining soaked bagels {this layer will be thinner}.

Top the soaked bagels with the chopped red onions, scattered over the top.

Bake covered for 20 min then an additional 15-20 mins uncovered until the egg dish souffles up & the center is firm.

Bruegger’s recommends serving this with a small salad dressed with lemony vinaigrette. Also note that it can be made the night before, refrigerated overnight then cooked just 10-15 mins longer covered. If you’re like me & not the biggest salmon fan, Chef Smith said you could trade it out for sausage or bacon or even peppers & onions. Enjoy!

Bruegger’s also shares other bagel recipes online. I might have to try the blueberry breakfast casserole at my next big family gathering!

You can take part in the 30th anniversary celebration on Feb 7th by taking advantage of a free bagel with cream cheese until 11a. Download the coupon on their Facebook page or by joining their email club.

Thanks to Bruegger’s for inviting & including me in their 30th anniversary media tour. I loved meeting Chef Philip Smith & the other Bruegger’s representatives. While I was given a great behind-the-scenes tour & bagels, a drink & cream cheese, I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions & thoughts listed as genuinely my own. 

3 comments

  1. Beth says:

    That’s such a good picture of you!!

  2. Sara says:

    What a fun event! I love Brueggers! And I agree with Beth about the picture. :-)

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