All About Bagels

As the owner and founder of Sadelle’s, a bakery-restaurant in the Soho neighborhood of New York City, Melissa Weller is a master baker whose work has received critical acclaim. She received a James Beard Nomination for Outstanding Baker in 2016. Weller was among the prominent instructors who demonstrated tips and techniques during the Bread Bakers Guild of America’s recent WheatStalk conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

In 2013 Weller created a sensation by selling her hand-rolled bagels at the outdoor Smorgasburg market in Brooklyn. Those bagels led to her partnership with the Major Food Group to create and open the bagel-centric restaurant Sadelle’s.  

Sadelle’s features quintessential appetizing selections like sliced-to-order salmon and sturgeon, chopped salads and other New York classics. The restaurant also specializes in traditional Russian caviar and vodka service. The bakery highlights one of New York’s greatest food traditions — the bagel. Hand-rolled bagels, pastries and breads are made fresh on-site throughout the day in a glass-enclosed bakery, located in the center of the dining room. 

Weller, who was born and grew up in central Pennsylvania, loved to bake as a child and was always at her mother’s side in the kitchen. Her passion for food and cooking blossomed while living in and traveling throughout France during and after college.

Prior to her culinary career, she worked as a chemical engineer developing fuel cell engines for alternative fuel vehicles. In 2004 she turned her career toward bread and pastry at the French Culinary Institute and refined her skills at various establishments in New York City, including Babbo Ristorante and Sullivan Street Bakery. 

From 2008 through 2010 she was the head baker at Per Se Restaurant and Bouchon Bakery. Weller went on the create the much-lauded bread program at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, baking all of her bread in an outdoor, wood-fired oven.

While at Per Se, she enjoyed making bagels so much that she began doing so for staff meals, using sourdough starter to lend a little more chew and tang.

At Sadelle’s, she continues to innovate. When making onion bagels, Weller dehydrates onions and leeks and folds them, along with chives, into the dough instead of coating the outside. She also follows a different path than some when making sesame seed bagels. Seeded bagels are often dipped in a pan of seeds before they are baked. Weller thoroughly rolls the dough in the seeds before baking.

Weller’s signature everything bagel 2.0 includes sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated garlic, salt, fennel seeds and caraway seeds.