Trader Joe’s has a long history of having above average bread and bagels. It was a hallmark of their stores. You knew you could walk into a Trader Joe’s and get a decent loaf of bread and a good bagel. Maybe it was their Jewish heritage or just the drive to deliver really good food at a lower price point but several years ago things seem to have gone off the rails.
Good Bread was one of the reasons I started shopping at Trader Joe’s many years ago, but something changed about 6 or 7 years ago. The bread was highly variable depending on where you are shopping at Trader Joe’s. I’ve been to Trader Joe’s all up and down the west coast, Arizona and the Washington DC area, and Florida. Most of the bread was different, probably because they used local bakeries to make the bread but when things changed a few years ago, the bread selection got narrowed down and seem to take a nose dive in quality. Bagels in particular went from a real bagel that had really good chew and flavor to match. After the switch, the bagels became more bread-like and were mushy, gummy, and had little flavor.
I stopped buying Trader Joe’s bagels many years ago because of this. On a whim, I decided that I should do a proper review of one of their current bagels just to get the word out there.
Because their selection of regular wheat bagels has gotten so bad, I decided to buy the Everything bagel.
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past few years, Everything bagels have a mixture of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onions, and salt. It was first put on bagels in New York around the early 1980s when some bagel bakers started mixing all the different toppings traditional for bagels into one blend called “Everything spice mixture”.
But this isn’t really about the Everything Spice mixture, it’s about Trader Joe’s bagels.
A perfect bagel should have a nice dark crust and the hole should be only a finger or two wide. It should have a dense, chewy interior and if you are lucky to have a baker that uses sourdough, it can have a nice tang from the sourdough starter. It shouldn’t be too bready or flabby.
Right off the bat, you can see that the bagels look anemic and flabby. The exterior is too white and the whole bagel looks like it fell in on itself.
Picking it up you can feel it’s too soft. The only redeeming value is that it does have the Everything Spice mix on it.
Cutting the bagel you can see it’s way too soft. The whole bagel basically collapses when you try to cut it. A real bagel should be hard to slice open because they are that tough.
For grins, I popped it in the toaster to see what would happen. I got a pleasant smell of Everything wafting from the toaster.
The bagel seemed to toast up nicely and I spread some butter on it.
But this is where the fun ends. From the first bite, you can tell it’s a gummy, sweet mess. I can barely call this a bagel. It’s like Wonder Bread in a bagel form. It’s soft and flabby. No chew to it whatsoever. It was also kind of sweet.
The funny thing about this is that I liked the Gluten Free bagels much better than this. What does that tell you about how far Trader Joe’s bagels have fallen? I used to be able to buy a really good whole wheat bagel from Trader Joe’s. It was a mainstay in our house until they rolled out these crappy bagels.
I could be blowing smoke and people on the East Coast get all the good bagels now, but I am pretty sure they’ve centralized baking these bread products now to the detriment of all of their shoppers.
This is probably the last time I will buy a Trader Joe’s bagel. These are the antithesis of a good bagel. They were soft, gummy and sweet. There were like wonder bread in a bagel shape. Avoid these if at all possible! I am giving these Trader Joe’s Everything Bagels 2 Bells!
UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACD), WATER, CANE SUGAR, SESAME SEEDS, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF WHEAT GLUTEN, SALT, DEHYDRATED GARLIC, DEHYDRATED ONION, YEAST, TOASTED CHOPPED ONION, COARSE SALT, POPPY SEED, DISTILLED VINEGAR, WHEAT FLOUR, MICROBIAL ENZYME, WHEAT STARCH, CULTURED DEXTROSE AND MONOGIYCERIDES FOR FRESHNESS).
CONTAINS: WHEAT, SESAME. MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF EGG AND SOY.