Monday, April 18, 2011

Homemade Bagels

There are some things that I would never have even thought to have made at home - bagels are one of them. About a month ago my mother-in-law posted on facebook that she got up and made bagels. I was blown away that they were even something that could be made at home - silly me.

So I made a goal to try them myself - and you know what? They are actually quite easy, I think easier than making bread. They even turned out so well Cam asked for some more when I got back from Vegas on Sunday.

I pretty much just copied this recipe (from here) since there are so many directions. But I have added my own little tips from my experience.

Delicious Bagels

3 1/2 C bread flour (you can substitute all-purpose flour but mine did not turn out as well when I did that)
2 pkg dry yeast
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs salt
1 1/2 C hot water
3 quarts water
1 1/2 Tbs barley malt syrup (or sugar or honey in the same amount)
1 egg white - beaten with 1 tsp water
Toppings of choice
cornmeal for dusting on the baking sheet
Make the dough: In a mixing bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer) measure 3 cups of the flour and stir in all the remaining dry ingredients. Pour in the hot water, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon (or with the flat paddle attachment of the electric mixer at low speed) and beat for about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining half-cup of flour, a little at a time, stirring by hand. When the batter becomes thick and heavy, attach the mixer’s dough hook (if using) or lift the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured work surface for kneading by hand.

Knead the dough: Knead the dough at medium low speed on the mixer – or by hand (using a push, turn and fold motion, energetically) for about 10 minutes – or until the dough is firm and solid when pinched with the fingers. Add flour as needed if the dough is sticky in your hands, or sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl (if using electric mixer).

First Rising: When dough is kneaded enough, place it in an oiled mixing bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature until it has doubled in volume – about 1 hour.

Prepare water bath: Near the end of this rising time, bring the 3 quarts of water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the malt syrup or sugar; then, reduce the heat and leave the water just barely moving – at a slow simmer.

Shape the bagels: When the dough has doubled in volume, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with extended fingers to remove excess gas.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces (each will weigh about 3-4 ounces). Shape each piece into a ball. Allow the balls to stand and relax for a few minutes – then flatten each one with the palm of your hand.

With your thumb, press deep into the center of the bagel and tear the depression open with your fingers. Pull the hole open, pull it down over a finger and smooth the rough edges. It should look like a bagel! Form all of the bagels and place them on your work surface.

Second Rising: Cover the shaped bagels with wax paper or parchment paper. Leave them at room temperature just until the dough has risen slightly – about 10 minutes.

Prepare the baking sheet: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with shortening (or use a non-stick baking sheet, or line a baking sheet with “Silpat” or similar material) and sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal.

Water-bathing the bagels: Into the gently simmering water prepared earlier, slip one bagel at a time. Simmer only 2 or 3 bagels at a time – do not crowd the pan. The bagels will sink and then rise again after a few seconds. Simmer gently for one minute, turning each bagel over once during that time. Lift each bagel out of the water with the skimmer (or gently with tongs or a slotted spatula), drain briefly on a towel, then place each bagel on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels are simmered, drained and on the baking sheet - you can place these very close together and fit all 10 on one pan. They don't grow too much after this point.

Baking the bagels: Brush each bagel lightly with the egg-white-water mixture first, then sprinkle the topping if desired – or leave unadorned, for water bagels. If toppings are desired (my favorite is asiago cheese - but sesame seeds, poppy seeds or anything else you might like), now is the time to add them, by sprinkling the desired topping over the bagels. 

Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. When the bagel tops are a light brown, turn them over to complete baking. This turning-over step will keep the bagels in a rounded shape, instead of their being flat on the bottom (I did flip mine over, I did still get a flat bottom but they do give the top a bit of a more browned/crunchy top - which I really liked). When brown and shiny, remove the finished bagels from the oven.

Place the bagels on a metal rack to cool.

  • I did use my kitchen aid for this and it makes it SO easy, so if you attempt to do this by hand it may be a bit more work...
  • I don't think you can be too liberal with the toppings - so add a lot. The bagels are so dense it needs a lot of topping (especially the cheese one's - the more the better!)
  • The bread flour honestly makes a world of difference - I won't make these again without it.
  • I think I will experiment with more toppings - possibly sunflower seeds, onion (if you like that), garlic something or other, and hopefully cinnamon sugar.
  • I might try to make whole wheat bagels or one's that have toppings/fillings mixed in.
  • They are delish right out of the oven - but they do set up a bit more once they are out of the oven so prime eating time (in my opinion) is about 10 min out of the oven. Yum... my mouth is watering wanting make these again right now!
Hopefully if you try these you enjoy them and are as impressed with yourself as I was. I just might have to start thinking of all the other foods I never thought were possible to make...

1 comment:

  1. uhhh YA! these were DELISH! i cant wait to attempt making these. i just hope they turn out as good as yours did!