We’ve all experienced the wonder of bagels, whether it be plain as butter or completely complexioned – as far as bagel fillings go.
There were my younger days, when I would peruse the vast, white impersonal shopping centres with friends…..clinging onto an onion bagel for comfort. We’d eat them just as they came, no jazz, no frills. There were the days, drunken in London’s Brick Lane – at ‘The Beigel Shop’ – mine would always be salt beef and mustard…..amazing.
I found this recipe at sophisticatedgourmet.com and apart from the 10 minutes of kneading, it was really very simple and definitely worth the little effort that went into making them. I’d advise to cook them on a pizza stone (if you have one), if not use a baking tray as I did and flip them so the bottom cooks properly.
I topped mine with a mix of sesame seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, garlic (had no poppy seeds) and always salt, as is the true New Yorker way.
Ingredients makes 8 bagels
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 ½ tbsp. caster sugar
- 294ml of warm water
- 500g bread flour (strong flour)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- Sesame seeds, salt etc for your choice of toppings
Pour the sugar and yeast into 118ml of warm water, don’t stir and after 5 minutes stir until it dissolves in the water.
Take a large bowl and mix the flour and salt together, make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
Pour 176ml of warm water into the well and use your hand to give it a good mix. Add the rest of the water as needed in order to achieve a moist and firm dough. Add more water if completely necessary but try to add as little as possible.
Flour your work top and knead the dough for a good 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Work in as much flour as possible, as you want the dough very firm.
Lightly oil a large bowl (I use canola spray lots when baking), turn the dough to coat and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about an hour until it’s doubled in size then punch the dough down and rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Divide dough into 8 pieces and shape into balls by rolling on the work top in your palm.
Coat a finger in flour and gently press into the middle of each ball, to create holes then stretch carefully to about 3 or 4cm. Lightly oil a baking sheet and lay the bagels on this, covering with damp kitchen paper and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Use a large pan and bring water to the boil (it needs to be about 12cm deep). Reduce heat and lower each bagel into the water, boiling for 1-2 minutes on each size. My pan allowed me to boil 3 at a time, careful not to overcrowd them. They will float, so just flip them over (the longer you boil them, the chewier the bagel will be).
Remove each bagel once boiled and place on kitchen paper to dry off before topping with your desired flavours. I always like fennel seeds with salmon bagels, sesame with bacon rolls and plain salted for cream cheese.
Once topped, transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet, or place directly onto a heated pizza stone and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. If using a baking tray, carefully turn the bagels in the last 5 minutes of cooking so the bottoms are dry and cooked through.
Cool on a wire rack and ………..