In the low-lit back corner of Muddy Waters sisters Jen and Kate Lloyd reflected on their journey of creating a new brand of handcrafted bagels for the previously bagel-starved Twin Cities. Just one short year ago in this very Uptown bar, the sisters decided on the name of their bagel-making venture – Rise Bagel Co. Through perseverance, dedication, and countless hours of recipe testing, Rise looks like it’s here to stay.
To Jen and Kate, there’s nothing quite like the crunch of teeth into a warm bagel, releasing the dense, chewy interior from its crusty O-shaped shell. Before creating their own recipe, the pair made several trips to places famous for their bagels – cities like San Francisco, Montreal and New York. There they would spend entire weekends eating nothing but bagels, looking for inspiration and seeking out new favorites. “There are bagel shops in Montreal that are open 24/7 and serve up to 10,000 bagels per day,” Jen said. “We would get to shops at three or four in the morning to get bagels straight out of the oven.”
In Oakland, California, Jen and Kate spent a weekend working in the kitchen of Beauty’s Bagel Shop, making Montreal- style bagels and learning more about the bagel business. “It was invaluable to see the different processes of a successful bagel shop like Beauty’s first hand. It’s not just about making quality bagels – there’s so much more that goes into it than that,” Jen said.
On weekends when they weren’t travelling, the duo would spend hours testing recipes in Jen’s apartment kitchen, making small batches and minute adjustments in order to perfect their ideal bagel. Early on, they resolved to use locally-sourced and organic ingredients as much as possible. By mixing the New York-style boil with the all-over garnish of Montreal, they crafted a unique bagel, complete with the crackling crusts and chewy centers that made them first fall in love with the bready baked good.
After conducting a handful of taste tests, Jen and Kate got to work on the competitive and sometimes overwhelming process of applying to farmers markets around Minneapolis. A short time later, they found out that they were confirmed for the popular Fulton Farmers Market, and they knew it was time to find a kitchen with commercial equipment to produce bigger batches of bagels (say that five times fast).
The sisters were referred to City Food Studio, and after meeting with owner Journey Gosselin, Rise Bagel Co. joined over 15 other local artisans working out of the shared kitchen space in South Minneapolis. Many Friday nights and early Saturday mornings have been spent in City Food Studio, hand-rolling the classic flavored bagels that have garnered a cult food following.
At Dogwood Coffee's East Lake Street location on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to noon is the final bagel pop-up event of the season. Follow the Rise Bagel Co.'s calendar to find out when to catch them at the Fulton Farmers Market this summer.
-by Devan Grimsrud