DoughCo Bagels Are a Must-Try at Westchester Farmers’ Markets

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DoughCo Bagels was founded by a Chappaqua resident and boasts a presence at farmers’ markets throughout Westchester County.

Josh Small, founder of DoughCo Bagels, says a number of factors led him to the bagel business: A lack of good bagels in Chicago (where he went to grad school), his ingrained love of baking, and an idea for a business model which has taken some unexpected turns.

The 25-year-old Small, who grew up in Chappaqua, said while attending the University of Chicago he and his friends would “bemoan the lack of good bagels.” His parents would ship him bagels, and he started making them in his apartment for fun. Small, who also attended undergraduate school in the Midwest, says, “I started thinking about long-term business opportunities in college towns — a hybrid bagel shop/pizza place.”

 

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Upon returning to New York, Small continued to tinker with his product. He connected with a Hudson Valley company to supply him with a malt “that combines the sweetness and texture I was looking for.” He mills the malt himself, which Small says locks in the bagels’ flavor. The bagels are hand-rolled and boiled in that all important NY water. “My family was my first real testers, and in the early summer I felt that my recipe was finalized and I was ready to try to sell them.”

Small says his original business plan, of bringing NY-style bagels to the Midwest, was put on the shelf when he received such a positive reception in NY. He started doing pop-ups at breweries in New York City, and then reached out to area farmers’ markets in the late summer. He received positive feedback, and his bagels appeared at four Westchester markets in his first season, where they quickly sold out. “At the markets I see our customers try the bagels, nod and smile and say, ‘That’s a great bagel.’” DoughCo currently sells four types of bagels on regular rotation: everything, plain, poppy, and sesame; salt and onion bagels make appearances from time to time. Pre-orders are available.

 

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In the winter months, customers can find Small at Hastings and Irvington markets, and he’ll be debuting in Ossining soon. In addition to rolling out the bagels, DoughCo recently rolled out home delivery in select locations. The favorable reaction to Small’s venture is prompting him to move from part-time to full-time bagel baker by early next year. He’s also been experimenting with cream cheese, with plans to work with a local dairy farmer down the road. “I’m looking to make a fairly light and whipped cream cheese.” And his pizza bagels have been hits at his brewery pop-ups in NY, so he hopes to bring those to markets in 2023. “If you can get validation for bagels in NY, you create a buzz that makes consumers repeat buyers.”

 

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