On a recent Friday morning, Dave Aldrich was busy in the kitchen at the JCC in Marblehead filling delivery bags with his newest project — handmade bagels from scratch. Aldrich launched his new bagel business, Grab the Bagel, in August and it’s already a big hit. He’s baking and selling about 1,500 bagels a week.
Aldrich, who also runs the nonprofit Grab the Torch, started baking for his neighbors during COVID. After a favorite bagel shop closed, he decided to Google bagel recipes … and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I never baked in my life before this,” Aldrich told the Current at the J’s kitchen recently. “It’s all chemistry. I started about 18 months ago developing recipes. In January 2022, I made 25 bagel baskets and delivered them to my neighbors. I was doing it as a one-time thing, but the response was incredible.”
So Aldrich kept baking and experimenting with different flavors. He now offers eight varieties, everything from plain to maple ginger sunflower seed to multi-sesame and caraway seed.
“More than 500 people taste-tested my bagels, from here to New York to Hawaii. My phone blew up. It wasn’t a fluke, people loved them.”
When Aldrich started at the JCC, he bought and installed two commercial mixers, a braising kettle (where he boils the bagels, New York-style), racks and refrigerators.
Ayssa Elser, of Marblehead, discovered Grab the Bagel when her son was at a JCC camp this summer.
“I walked in and smelled this wonderful smell and it was his bagels in the kitchen. I love their texture and they taste really good. My favorites are the cranberry orange and plain.
“He also accommodates my egg and dairy allergy, which is really nice of him,” Elser added. “He delivers them fresh to my door, still warm.”
Bagels for a good cause
“One-hundred percent of the profits from Grab the Bagel go to scholarships and to fund cloud-based curriculum for Grab the Torch,” Aldrich said. He started that nonprofit in 2009 to teach teens about making a difference in their communities.
“Our goals are to help youth understand themselves first, discover what purposes and passions drive them and explore how they can strategically help improve the world,” according to the Grab the Torch website.
Anyone intereted in interning or apprenticing with Aldrich should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.