Bagels are awesome, to the point where I’m mildly obsessed with them. If you’ve ever been in the North of the US, you’ll have seen and hopefully eaten them. A large amount of people in New York and Boston seem to be entirely sustained by the stuff. Sadly, they’re also kinda hard to find where I live.

DIY it is.

One thing I found when looking for a recipe, is that there is no one recipe. All of them are quite a bit of work, but some tell you to boil the dough for one minute, some for eight. Baking times and some ingredients also differ greatly. The one I picked and adapted is this one. It seemed the most plausible, and it does produce something that tastes distinctively bagel like.

Try this on an afternoon where you have quite a bit of time, cause it takes a while.

Recipe

  • 375 ml warm water (45°C for dry yeast, room temperature for fresh yeast)
  • 3,5g active dry yeast, or 17g fresh yeast
  • 25g white sugar
  • 15 ml vegetable oil
  • 960g bread flour
  • 20g salt
  • 10g white sugar
  • Optional: sesame or poppy seeds for topping

Step one: Dunk the yeast into a large bowl with the water, and stir unttil it’s dissolved.

Step two: Add the 25g of sugar, the oil, most of the flour and salt. Start mixing all that together, until the dough becomes stiff enough to leave the sides of the bowl.

Step three is the fun (and slightly tiring) part. Sprinkle some of your leftover flour onto a table and flop the dough on it. You’ll be kneading the hell out of that dough, adding a little of whatever flour you have left. Try to get in as much as you can.

This stuff is extremely sticky, especially at first. So if you think your fingers won’t move anymore, rinse them off under a tap till they’re clean, get some flour on your hands and continue. Knead for about 15 minutes. Your end result should be smooth and fairly elastic.

Step four: Roll the dough into a ball and get yourself a large bowl (quite a bit larger than your ball o’ dough). Coat the bowl in a bit of oil and roll your ball around in it, till everything is covered. Then put a clean cloth over it and let it rise at room temperature for about an hour.

Step five: Your dough is ready when you can prod it with a finger, and the impression remains. Turn it out onto your table (no flour necessary, as everything is covered in oil). Lean on your dough to let out some of the air (yes, it will fart) and cut it into thirds. Roll each part into a rope and cut again, into four equal parts.

Step six: Now comes the part where you attempt bagel shapeness. I tried two methods. Number one is to roll each small part into a ball, and then poke your finger through the middle to make a hole. Then wiggle a bit to create a larger hole. (That sounded dirty. Did that sound dirty?)

You’ll get something like this.

New Google Images entry for 'holes'.

The second method is to roll each small part into another rope, and then make a ring with the dough, overlapping the edges and fixing them in place with a little water or a lot of force. This makes for prettier bagels, but because of all the oil, I found it hard to keep the rings closed.

With the oil and the rings, you'll never look at bagels the same way again.

Once they’re shaped, place the bagels on non-stick baking trays and cover with a cloth again. Let them rise for another twenty minutes, until they’re puffy.

Step seven: In that time, you can fill a pan with about 2,5 liters of water and put it on the stove. Add ten grams of sugar and bring to a boil.

Also, turn on the oven at 210°C

Grab some bagels and drop them in the boiling water. I had a fairly large pan, and found it easiest to do two at a time. Cook each bagel for one minute, turning them halfway.

Step eight: Take the bagels out of the water with a slotted spoon and put them on a wire rack for a short time to drain them.

Then put them back on the baking pans, evenly spaced. If you’re going to sprinkle on seeds or other toppings, now’s the time to do it (I only thought about it when one of my two pans was already in the oven).

Step nine: Bake your bagels in an oven at 210°C until they’re a lovely golden brown. Depending on your oven, this could take about twenty minutes, or, in my case: forty (I work with a very old oven).

Enjoy.

As an aside: these freeze really well. I’m the only one in the house that likes bagels, which is handy, more for me! But it does make for quite a bit of bagel. Mine are quite small, so I froze them in duo’s in little baggies. Just grab a baggy out of the freezer in the morning, bring some salad and you have an awesome lunch.

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