Why The St. Louis-Style Bagel Is So Controversial

Back in 2019, a man named Alek Krautmann posted a tweet that shook bagel enthusiasts to their very core. What was his great sin? He shared that he had introduced his colleagues to the "St. Louis secret" of ordering bagels sliced top to bottom into multiple slices like tiny loafs of bread. The internet lost its collective mind, but a few others came to his defense, per Delish. The truth is that "bread-slicing" a bagel increases the surface area and actually allows for more creativity and also more deliciousness.

While eating a bagel in slices might not work well for traditional New York Bagels with lox and schmear, or a bacon, egg and cheese, there are benefits to ordering a bagel St. Louis style. If you're driving for example, reaching into a bag for slices of bagel is much easier than trying to eat a whole or half bagel while manning the steering wheel of your car. Also, if you're a cream cheese enthusiast, spreading your schmear onto smaller slices of bagel mean you get to consume even more cream cheese with your bagel or can try a different variety. The possibilities don't end there.

Benefits of bread-slicing

According to Serious Eats, there are even more creative ways you can play with a bread-sliced bagel. Bread-sliced bagels make great alternatives for tea sandwiches, they can be "hasselbacked" which means, sliced most of the way through and stuffed with other ingredients like meat and cheese, or garlic butter. The hasselback method could even be used for a croque monsieur. Eating bagels this way are also less messy, notes Delish.

While these innovations might be exciting to some, other bagel purists argue that this isn't how a bagel should be eaten. According to TODAY, George Mahe the dining editor of St. Louis Magazine expressed his dismay at people in his city bread-slicing bagels. He suggested that the tradition might have started when a caring mother asked for a bagel to be sliced this way for her child to eat. He also conceded that smaller slices are easier when people bring bagels into the office to share. So the controversy has yet to be fully settled.

While the world may never all agree on how a bagel should be consumed, it seems everyone can agree that they're delicious.