What makes bread a bagel? Is it the shape? The texture? Where they come from? Yes, yes, and no. Let’s start with the last question: I emphatically believe that you can make or get a damn good bagel anywhere in the world… provided you can source the correct ingredients that is. Now a disclaimer – I’m not from NYC, nor have I spent a crazy amount of time there (but I have eaten NY style bagels). But, I’m excellent at research, both book research and hands on experimenting. And a lack of good locally available bagels has led me to do a lot of bagel baking over the years. And these bagels have been tested on people from NY. Plus, the recipe is adapted from Peter Reinhart, and would he steer us wrong? No. As for the first two questions: the shape and texture of a bagel are related, you wouldn’t be able to get that quintessential bagel texture without the hole in the center. The hole allows for the entire bagel to have a chewy crust, without would lead to a soft and tender center….