Why Some People Prefer Flagels To Bagels

The traditional way to make a bagel is by kneading and shaping bagel dough into that telltale bagel shape, letting it rise, boiling it, and then finishing the cooking in a hot oven. Since the mid-1990s, a flattened bagel variation known as a "flagel" (a portmanteau of "flat" and "bagel" and pronounced as such) has been available at certain bagel stores. According to the Village Voice, the flagel was "invented" at Tasty Bagels, a bagel shop in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. That origin story has been disputed, however, by the New York Daily News, which points out that "flagel" is the subject of a trademark registration with a first use dated back to 1999. Food historian Francine Segan further disputes all modern flagel origin stories, claiming flatbreads date back to ancient times. 

Whatever the origin story, the flagel is now a well-loved staple at authentic bagel shops. According to one such bagel shop, David's Bagels of Manhattan in New York City, a flagel is made by flattening the boiled bagel before it's placed in the oven (via Serious Eats). But most fans of flagels don't much care how they are made so much as the fact that one will be available at their local bagel emporium when they so desire it. Here is why some people prefer flagels to regular bagels. 

What's to love about a flagel? Let us count the ways

The first thing everyone really ought to know about flagels is that they are no less carb-y or caloric than regular bagels. They're just flatter. So to the extent that their profile has risen, so to speak, along with low-carb dieting is either entirely coincidental or "flat-out" based on misinformation.

But apart from those who may or may not enjoy imagining they're eating fewer carbs, many of those who prefer flagels more than regular bagels do so because they simply make a better sandwich. As the New York Daily News points out, flagels have "more crust and less bready innards" than a regular bagel, which affords them a crunchier texture and less "bread" to compete with whatever fillings and toppings you're using to make your sandwich. Also, flagels have more horizontal space on which to build a sandwich.

But perhaps most importantly, there's much more space on the outside of your flagel for whatever it is you like on the outside of your bagel, whether poppy seeds, sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, and so forth.