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Few foods garner so many complaints as bagels, which are circles of dough that get boiled before being baked. The gripes are justified because a vast majority of bagels are sorry, flaccid rounds of bread as feeble as hot dog buns. That is why finding a good bagel is such a joy. What defines a good one? First, it is fresh, just hours from the oven. It is dense and chewy but not doughy, and it has a shiny crust that is slightly crisp and crackly. A great bagel need not be toasted. Toasting simply is a way to make a mediocre bagel seem like a good one … but barely, by creating a pseudo-crust. Montreal-style bagels, also found in northern New England, are a different species. Somewhat smaller and thinner than typical New York bagels, they are made with a sweeter dough and boiled in honey-tinged water before getting baked in a wood-fired oven. Most connoisseurs of classic bagels find them odd at first bite – too sweet, too dense, and what the heck is that smoky taste? – but many scoffers soon become addicted.