Homemade Bagels!

>> Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I am about to share with you all is HANDS-DOWN my favorite recipe from the METHOD archives. To me, there's nothing more satisfying than making something I previously thought could be "great" ONLY if purchased in a bakery. Bagels, at least I thought, would never, EVER turn out well at home. They'd be too soft or chewy . . . but after much investigation, that's absolutely not the case.

So let's get to it . . .


(Modified from a recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

What you'll need (to make 10 healthy bagels) . . .

  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1-2/3 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1-1/2 cups wheat pastry flour
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons table salt
  • Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt, rye seeds, etc., etc. (whatever you'd like to top 'em with!)
  • Vegetable oil (for bowl)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Parchment paper (I don't think this is absolutely necessary, but it definitely helps)

Method . . .

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the yeast and water. Let stand fo 5 minutes (until foamy).
  2. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook and -- with the mixer on low speed -- add the sugar, molasses, flours, and salt. I actually forgot to add the salt, and they still turned out beautifully. Knead for about 1 minute (until a slightly tacky -- but not sticky -- dough forms). You may need to add more flour or water depending on what you find. If so -- just add in 1 tablespoon amounts.
  3. Continue to knead dough for about 5 more minutes -- then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
  4. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours (until doubled in bulk).
  5. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces. Cover with a damp kitchen towel (the book reminds us to make sure the towel is CLEAN, which I find hilarious). Let rest for about 20 minutes.
  6. Line two unrimmed baking sheets (no worries -- mine were rimmed, so I don't know the benefit of using the unrimmed sheets) with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil; set aside.
  7. With lightly oiled hands, roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch rope. Form a circle around your hand and then press the two ends (rather, roll them) together to seal. There really isn't a great way to explain how to fasten them together -- so go with your gut!
  8. Place the bagels 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap (I used the same one from earlier in the process), and let rest until puffed (about 20 minutes).

And now the fun part . . .
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 C) -- with racks in the upper and lower thirds.
  2. Fill a large stockpot (the wider the better, Martha notes) with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Gently drop bagels into the water (as many as will comfortably fit without touching each other). After 30 seconds, use a slotted spoon to gently flip the bagels over -- simmer for yet another 30 seconds. (NOTE: I only boiled 2 at a time.)
  4. Then, using the slotted spoon again, return the bagels to the parchment-lined sheets. Top them with the seeds or salt -- you must do this when the bagels are still wet so everything sticks to them. Also, I was somewhat anal and used a paper towel to wipe up the extra water that dropped onto my baking sheet.
  5. When you've finished this process with all to-be bagels, immediately place sheets in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then rotate the sheets and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (176-ish degrees C). Bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes -- but mine only took 8).
  6. THEN use a spatula (I just made my husband do this part, as he seems to be impervious to heat) and flip bagels over. Continue baking for another 5 minutes -- or until the back-sides are golden brown as well.
  7. Transfer bagels to wire rack to cool! Then toast and enjoy with some eggs (or just a generous topping of butter, Nutella, peanut butter, etc.)!

Yes. The process is rather involved -- but it's also easy and well worth the effort.

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