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Baby’s Bagels: Completely Handmade, Completely Delicious

Bagels are baked fresh every morning, but the process of making them spans over three days.
Bagels+at+Babys+Bagel+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Sunday%2C+February+4%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Minh+Polaris+Vuong+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicles%29
Minh Vuong
Bagels at Baby’s Bagel in Salt Lake City on Sunday, February 4, 2024. (Photo by Minh “Polaris” Vuong | The Daily Utah Chronicles)

 

Koby Elias said that he and his two business partners, Cyrus Elias and Eric Valchuis, experimented with their bagel recipe for three or four months before ever selling their first bagel. When they were finally ready to share their bagels with the world, they sold them out of a commissary kitchen in South Salt Lake.

Now, Baby’s Bagels operates out of a small shop at 204 East 500 South. They’re open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Our goal right now is to have a great bagel shop,” Elias said, “We’re figuring it out and it feels really good.”

‘You Need Bagels, Baby’

Baby’s bagels are baked fresh every morning, but the process of making them spans over three days.

“I think [that’s] what probably differentiates us,” Elias said.

The bagel-making process starts with a mixture of yeast flour and water that the Baby’s crew lets ferment overnight. This step isn’t typical for every bagel shop but gives the bagels a more complex flavor. The next day the bakers mix dough with the fermented mixture, shape the bagels by hand and let them proof overnight in the fridge. Then, before opening the shop, the bagels are boiled in an alkaline solution, which gives the bagels color and a crispy exterior.

“We roll at this point, I don’t know, probably 4,000 bagels a week,” Elias said.

Baby’s makes five kinds of bagels: plain, poppy, salt, sesame and everything. The process of making them may be long, but it’s worth it for the result. The exterior of each bagel is crisp and golden brown, and the inside dense and chewy.

The bagels are elevated when combined with Baby’s cream cheeses. They offer plain cream cheese and scallion cream cheese year-round. There is also a special that changes throughout the year depending on the season. Right now, they’re offering a giardiniera cream cheese, which is a cream cheese mixed with pickled vegetables.

Baby’s (pretty affordable) menu offers sandwiches alongside the classic bagel and cream cheese. It features an egg and cheese sandwich, a lox sandwich and a vegan muhammara sandwich.

“We don’t have a big sprawling menu with a bunch of different sandwiches,” Elias said. “I think our philosophy was to do the classic things a bagel has to do and do them really well.”

Utah Made

“I think it’s really important to have good sourcing,” Elias explained, which is why Baby’s sources locally as much as they can.

Baby’s uses flour from Central Milling, a mill in Logan, UT, and uses Kessimakis Produce for most of their produce. Baby’s menu and ingredients will also shift throughout the year depending on the season. During corn season, for example, Baby’s made elote cream cheese.

“We also want that stuff to be seasonal and local and good,” Elias said. “We don’t want to use hothouse tomatoes in the middle of winter.”

Inside the Shop

You’ll find yourself in a quirky and eclectic space when you step into Baby’s Bagels. The front counter is covered in subway tile that spells “bagels.” A couple of collages hang on the walls and one spot on the floor where a brick should be is instead filled with little plastic babies encased in resin.

“I think our sort-of spirit mascot is a gay cowboy,” Elias said, and pointed out said cowboy in a collage that hangs above the coffee station.

The Baby’s team moved into the space their current space last spring. Initially, they just used the kitchen to make bagels for pop-ups and farmer’s markets. Eventually the owner of the building Baby’s lives in suggested they open the space as a shop. The Baby’s Bagels team spent about a month renovating the space themselves to do this. They opened their doors in November of last year.

“We did have kind of a vibe but also we had a pretty strict budget,” Elias said. The three co-founders of Baby’s Bagels funded the shop themselves.

Opening the shop was a thrifty process. They found kitchen equipment and furniture on KSL, booths from a Chinese restaurant in Idaho and Elias’ partner made the collages.

“I guess we are the babies. It is Baby’s Bagels, you know, sort of juvenile and immature,” Elias said about the name. “The other story I said is that all my friends were having babies, and I started a bagel shop.”

 

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@JosiHinds

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About the Contributors
Josi Hinds
Josi Hinds, News Editor
Josi Hinds is in her second year at the University of Utah, majoring in communications with a minor in both gender studies and Spanish (for now). She grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and moved to Salt Lake in hopes of venturing out in the world and meeting new people. She joined the Chronicle out of a love for writing and meeting new people, and she hopes to share stories that broaden both her and others' perspective on the world
MInh Vuong
MInh Vuong, Photographer
(he/him) Minh (Polaris) began as a photographer at The Daily Utah Chronicles in Fall 2023. Born and raised in Vietnam, Minh is now pursuing his degree in Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations, with a minor in Photography. When not being held prisoner with deadlines, you can find him wandering around with his camera, or in overpriced café shops editing photos. He is an art, nature, and cat enthusiast.

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