In 2016 Josh Small left New York and arrived at Carleton College in Minnesota to start the next step in his educational journey. Through time (and many changing career plans), Josh noticed a lack of quality bagels in the Midwest and his bagel interest deepened as he moved to pursue a master’s at UChicago. Surely if rural Carleton could support bagels, albeit poor quality, Hyde Park with its large student population, hospital system, and city market would have ample offerings? He was sadly mistaken. The lack of bagels was not only a problem he observed, but came up in frequent student conversations. DoughCo was not originally born to be a business, but rather to serve Josh’s personal desire while living in Chicago to recreate his childhood bagels, externally crunchy, internally soft, and subtle sweetness.
Although his first attempts in his Chicago apartment were a challenge, they taught him the exact bagel qualities he desired. Upon moving back to New York to start a corporate job in venture capital, Josh discovered that by bringing his bagels to his soccer/baseball games, he received honest feedback from self-described “bagel enthusiasts” that accelerated the bagel recipe (and friendships as well). From these early interactions, Josh discovered that by milling his own locally grown malt, a key bagel ingredient, the bagels differentiated themselves through their freshness, crust, and taste.
In the Summer of 2022 while still working full-time, Josh launched DoughCo Bagels with the goal of serving the New York Metropolitan area through farmer’s markets and pop ups. Our bagels are baked only hours before each event to ensure their freshness and crispy exterior. To this day, DoughCo’s bagels continue to be handrolled and boiled. Based on popular demand, we now have a preorder system and have expanded into catering work events and group celebrations.
In January of 2023, after months of community support, Josh went full-time on DoughCo to reach more eager bagel enthusiasts and grow the company to its full potential. What started off as just an apartment project, led to bagels part-time, and now has become a growing business that includes almost 10 employees for over seven farmer’s markets/week.