Courtesy of Panera.

“This is bread.”

Bridget Hallinan
Updated March 29, 2019

In case you missed it, the Internet near-exploded this week over a single tweet—showing Panera bagels sliced like bread. A user snapped a picture from his office, saying that he introduced his coworkers to “the St. Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced. It was a hit!” Regardless of whether or not it was a hit in the office, the Twitterverse had a lot of feelings, even going so far as to poke fun at the idea of “St. Louis style” food by posting weird combinations like Oreos and salsa, and hot dogs topped with Hershey’s syrup. But it made us wonder—was Alek Krautmann on to something?

We investigated our own set of Panera sliced bagels (Full disclosure: Offered to us by Panera), which arrived in a few different flavors—including Asiago Cheese, Cinnamon Raisin, Multigrain, and Poppyseed—with the option of cream cheese or butter. They looked like slices of baguettes, and, spoiler alert, they pretty much ended up tasting like them too—one editor simply said “this is bread.” When it came down to pledging team sliced versus team whole bagel, we ended up divided. Some said this format makes a lot of sense for larger groups, and that “you can more evenly get bites of cream cheese with the bagel;” another defended all forms of bagel, saying “however you bagel is how you bagel and that's fine. The bagel does not care.” 

Photo by Bridget Hallinan.

There were some mixed bag reactions too—I, personally, was middle ground, neither disliking the bagel-baguette hybrid nor feeling like it was a life-changing revelation. (After all, it was basically a slice of bread. There’s nothing wrong with bread!). A fellow editor did point out, however, that while they didn’t have a problem with the slicing technique itself, the results would have been much better if they were toasted.

“The joy of a bagel, to me, is the whole bagel—that crust on the outside and the doughy interior,” another editor said. “Slicing it like bread breaches the integrity of the perfect continuous torus of carbs in a way that slicing it once horizontally doesn't. A beautiful crust is a terrible thing to waste.”

If you have burning bagel thoughts of your own, you can head to Panera’s Twitter account, where there's a thread asking customers how they prefer to slice their bagels. A few St. Louis residents got in the mix, with some saying it was common, and others arguing that they’d never heard of this “secret”—check out the rest of the thread here.

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