Bagels should never be sliced like a loaf of bread. At least, this could be one conclusion derived from a recent online debate that erupted from a single tweet by a man who on March 25 posted an otherwise harmless photo on Twitter, showing a box of vertically sliced bagels that he brought to the office to share with coworkers.

“Today I introduced my coworkers to the St. Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced. It was a hit!” wrote the Twitter user named Alek Krautmann, a Missouri native who works in Washington, D.C. The uproar that followed on Twitter was so strong the incident made national headlines, prompting ABC News to report thousands of people were reacting with wit and vigor (with the majority not in favor of the vertical slicing idea). One Twitter user called it #Bagelgate.

Panera Bread, based in St. Louis, replied in a tweet, “We’ve learned a lot today, but in the end, a bagel is a bagel and no matter how you slice it, it’s still delicious bread.”

Classic New York-style bagels are never meant to be sliced vertically, according to our experts, and are best when made with a crusty shell (dough pieces go into the kettle boiler for 3 minutes prior to baking).

Still, the lesson here is that you may not realize it, but your customers may feel very strongly one way or another about how your bakery slices bagels or buns. So why not have some fun and ask them?

Staging a “how do you love your bagel sliced?” contest could prove a light-hearted and effective way to get the conversation started about your bakery — ultimately leading to higher sales. By engaging customers in the debate, you let their voices be heard and raise awareness about your products. That’s effective marketing.

Horizontal slicers

The Bagel & Bun Classic Slicer from Oliver Packaging & Equipment Company safely and efficiently slices everything from sub buns to bagels. It is the perfect alternative to slicing by hand, and features a compact, sturdy design for ease of operation.

Ryan Technology’s line of horizontal slicers can help you reduce the labor and time it takes to slice your bagels and buns. Ryan’s equipment slices bagels, buns, ciabatta, croissants and anything in between. For smaller retailer/wholesale bakeries slicing less than 10,000 pieces per hour, Ryan offers several rotary table models.

At a minimum, blades should be cleaned at the end of each shift, according to Ryan. Slice quality will diminish as residue builds up on the blades. To avoid cross-contamination, blades should be cleaned when the type of product being sliced is changed, especially with products that contain inclusions like raisins or berries.