Homemade Bagels

Whenever I go back home to the midwest, bagels are at the top of the list of delicacies to bring home to the parents. Along with a list of good smelly food from Zabars, bagels rank pretty high. Maybe higher than lox even. You see, where I grew up, bagels can come in the form of the Lenders bagel, or the flavored bagels at Bruegers and Byerlys. If the bagels were only as simple as an onion and garlic bagel or a salted bagel, we would be ok. In Minnesota, bagels come in flavors like Cinnamon Streusel, Blueberry Pie, and other unmentionables. We were taught that you hoarde the precious bounty of East Coast bagels in your basement freezers and they only come out when the VIPs come for brunch.

Back when my office was in Chelsea, I had some decent bagel buying options, albeit a bit overpriced. Way downtown in the financial district, our options are slim. My options are even slimmer near my house. The one bagel place in the neighborhood, serves overpriced, raw, lead-filled bagels. They even add a toasting fee when you visit the store. Crazy stuff, right?

So I have been researching various bagel recipes. The whole boiling step always scared me away. I learned that it really is easy to make bagels. It is not much more difficult than any other bread recipe. The recipe that I am posting below, was perfect for us. It was light, but crusty and chewy and came out perfectly when toasted. It reminded me of a Toronto bagel, which is perfectly fine with me.

Bagels
Ingredients:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cup warm water
4 cups bread flour (very important since you need to gluten to aid in the chewy factor)
1 tablespoon salt
extra sugar or honey and a pinch of baking soda for the bagel bath

1 egg for the egg wash
assorted toppings (minced onion, minced garlic, kosher salt)
In the bowl of your mixer, combine yeast, sugar and water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in flour and salt. Mix dough until it comes together in a large ball and pulls away from the mixing bowl. I ended up needing to add some additional water, around a tablespoon. Turn dough onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10 minutes. The dough should be very elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.


Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and preheat the oven to 400F. Add some sugar and/or honey and a pinch of baking soda to the water. Make sure to keep the water at a low boil.
When dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball . Let though dough balls rest for around 15 minutes. Do not let them sit too long or they will be over-proofed and end up very flat after baking.

Now it is time to turn that dough ball into a bagel. Poke a hole through the center of the dough ball with your finger. Twirl the ring round and round a bit to stretch the hole. Let bagels rest for about 7 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, lower the bagels into the bagel bath. You can “bathe” about 3-4 bagels at a time. Boil for 2 minutes and then then flip and boil for an additional minute. Transfer the bagels to a wire rack to drain and then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do this for all 12 bagels. Brush boiled bagels with lightly beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Slice and toast to serve.

These bagels freeze well.


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