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Great Bagels from Kenny and Zuke's

What makes a GREAT bagel? I’ve been having that debate with friends ever since tasting my first one in the early 1970’s. Some say it’s the flour, some say the technique, and of course New Yorkers claim that it has to be the Manhattan water. Well, we can all agree on one thing. There is nothing like an authentic bagel.

Fortunately, out here in the Pacific Northwest in Portland, Oregon we have some of the best bagels you’ll ever find. East Coast skeptics, hold your fire – Ken Gordon, the owner of Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen, turns out bagels that are just as meticulously crafted as everything else he bakes, brines, pickles, roasts and prepares.

He starts with Northwest-sourced ingredients like Shepherd’s Grain flour. Then, Ken and his bakers roll out each ball of dough and form each bagel by hand – no machines here. The bagels proof for 36 to 48 hours, allowing time for the flavors to develop. Finally, starting around 1 am each morning, they boil the bagels to ready them for baking.

What you get are bagels that are just chewy enough, with the right yielding texture and complex flavor. They have eight varieties – plain, onion, garlic, salt, poppy, sesame, everything and pumpernickel – with whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, pecorino cheddar and jalapeno coming in September. We’re fortunate enough to carry all these bagels along with Kenny & Zuke’s freshly baked rye bread and rugelach at all of the Portland-area Whole Foods Market® stores and also in Vancouver, WA.

What I think is most special about Kenny & Zuke’s is that Ken has gone back to the traditional roots of a neighborhood delicatessen. It’s not just these bagels and the rye bread – everything is made in house; from brining the pickles and pastrami to roasting the turkey and corned beef.  The attention he puts into the ingredients can’t be matched. For example, the rugelah and cheesecake are made with Gina Marie Cream Cheese, which is a small-batch cream cheese that is only found at specialty cheese shops (and some Whole Foods Markets.)  Everything they do at Kenny & Zuke’s they do with great care and you can taste that passion in everything they make.

Ken is carrying on a tradition that started over 100 years ago. You don’t find delis like Kenny & Zuke’s in many places around the country anymore! We have a real treasure here in Portland. I hope you stop by and visit if you’re ever in the area – and swing by one of our Portland-area Whole Foods Markets to pick up a bag of bagels for the road.




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Bernadette says …

Hello - wondering what is meant by the term "proof" in the bagel post. Is the dough left to sit/rise over a 38-42 hour span? is this similar to a fermentation process to assist with unlocking the true nutrition of the grain? Thanks, Bernadette

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BERNADETTE - Sorry for the delayed response. I was able to get in touch with Denise for an explanation of what she meant in her post. She said that in many ways proofing is that extra step in the bagel making process that separates an okay bagel from a great bagel. After the dough is rolled and shaped by hand the bagels are placed on sheet pans and allowed to proof (rest). During this time the flavor and the texture of the bagels fully develop prior to the final steps of boiling and baking. Hope this helps!

jim smith says …

we need whole wheat and sesame seed bagels!!!!

Jafar jefferson says …

Did all of the Whole Foods stores stop carrying Kenny and Zukes bagels, or just the one in Vancouver? They were the main reason I would visit that store instead of New Seasons where I shop more often.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JAFAR - Our buying is done at the store/regional level. Check with the Vancouver store directly to see if this will no longer be sold or is temporarily out of stock.

Jafar says …

Thanks for the reply. After talking with 2 or 3 people in the bakery area at the Vancouver store I was told it was a Regional decision (not the store), and they will no longer be stocking them, not just out of stock. Since I assume the region includes at least the greater Portland area, that left me wondering if Whole Foods essentially ended this relationship. Can you add comment or clarification?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JAFAR - Since our buying is done at the store/regional level, the Pacific Northwest regional office will be the best to help answer about their decision. You can contact the office at 425.957.6700.

Otis DeLoach says …

Have you considered a rye bagel? Just down the street, the "Bagels...and" shop makes a marble rye/pump bagel.

Linda Jeffries says …

How do you place an order for bagels?