Recipes

Bagels Recipe

April 13, 2015
bagels

My bread-loving friend also asked me to make bagels and sent me this link to Smitten Kitchen’s adaptation of Peter Reinhart‘s bagel recipe.  I’ve made bagels many times, with many different recipes, and this is just the best: chewy, soft, dense and delicious.  The following is my version of the recipe.  I made these on a particularly depressing, gloomy and cold “spring” day, because nothing says “comfort food” like fresh bread.  They lasted about 10 seconds and I didn’t have to make dinner that night…

This recipe makes 12 large, 16 normal-sized or 24 mini bagels.  Just like Goldilocks would, I prefer the medium-sized bagels; not too big, not too small…

While the bagels are proofing, read my rant about sleepworking and listen to this playlist from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Bagels Recipe

Bagels Recipe
 
You Have Been Served:
Ingredients
  • Sponge
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (make sure you use INSTANT yeast, not fast-acting yeast)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2½ cups water, room temperature
  • Dough
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3¾ cups bread flour
  • 2¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Boiling and Baking
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cornmeal or semolina flour
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds, sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. to make the sponge, combine the yeast and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer
  2. add the water, stirring until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (I like to use my Danish dough whisk) (photo 1 and 2)
  3. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature until the mixture becomes bubbly and has risen about double in size (about 2 hours) (photo 3)
  4. to make the dough, add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir
  5. add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and honey
  6. mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment until the ingredients form a ball, working in the remaining ¾ cup flour slowly
  7. continue kneading the dough on low speed about 5 minutes (or knead on the counter by hand for about 10 minutes) until the dough is firm and stiff but pliable (add more flour if the dough is sticky or a bit of water if the dough is dry or rips) (photo 4)
  8. the dough should be between 71 - 77F (I used a digital thermometer)
  9. divide the dough into however many bagels you want to make (I used a sharp knife to cut the dough into 16 pieces weighing about 2.5 oz each)
  10. form the pieces into rolls (photo 5)
  11. cover the rolls with a damp tea towel and let rest approximately 20 minutes
  12. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and mist with cooking spray
  13. poke a hole in the middle of each roll and rotate with your thumbs to stretch the hole with your thumbs (mine don't look great, but when they are boiled and baked most of the weirdness cooks out) (photo 6)
  14. you can also roll the dough balls into 8" long ropes and then join the ends, but I like the hole-poking method better
  15. place the bagels on the parchment-lined pans about 2" apart, mist gently with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes
  16. fill a bowl or pot with room-temperature water and drop in one of the bagels - if it doesn't float within ten seconds of being dropped into the water, pat it dry and return it to the covered baking sheet, leave the bagels covered at room temperature for about 20 minutes and test again. Keep testing with water every ten minutes or so until the bagel floats
  17. when the bagel floats immediately or within 10 seconds, pat it dry and place back on the baking sheet
  18. cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to two days to retard the dough as retarding helps to develop flavour (I've never managed more than overnight and have even baked the bagels with just a few hours of retarding the dough. One day I'll leave it for two days and see what happens, but who can wait two days for fresh hot bagels?)
  19. when you are ready to bake the bagels, preheat the oven to 500F with two racks set in the middle of the oven
  20. fill a large, wide pot with water and bring to a boil then add the baking soda
  21. remove the bagels from the refrigerator and drop a few gently into the water (any more than 6 is unmanageable for me)
  22. boil at least one minute (2 minutes for chewy bagels) on one side then flip them over and boil an additional minute or two
  23. while the bagels are boiling, sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina on the baking sheet
  24. when they are finished boiling, remove the bagels from the water with slotted spoon and place on the baking sheet
  25. brush the bagels with the egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and/or kosher salt (I find that the bagels are improved by the taste and texture of a gentle sprinkling of kosher salt) (photo 7)
  26. continue until all the bagels have been boiled and topped with seeds and salt
  27. place the pans on the middle shelves in the preheated oven and bake approximately 5 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 450F, rotate the pans front to back and switch shelves
  28. continue baking for about 5 minutes longer, or until the bagels are golden brown (or longer if you like dark bagels)
  29. cool the bagels on a wire rack for 15 minutes or so before serving (impossible by the way; you will be stuffing these puppies into your mouth immediately) (photo 8 and 9)
bagels

photo 1

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photo 2

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hoto 3

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photo 4

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photo 5

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photo 6

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photo 7

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photo 8

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photo 9

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