bagels, everyone, bagels!
there are a few things in this world that are just so far better tasting when they are homemade that you will sit and exclaim as you eat that you can't believe it could be so good.
bagels are one of those foods. i was intimidated by the idea for a long time, but there came a point where i wanted to start venturing into the world of bread making. and so, my days of bageling were born.
it all stared back in Seattle. we knew a family who would have bagels for dinner. they called it (oddly enough) bagel night. so, one time when we were invited over, i made the bagels myself. and they rocked. that was many years ago. and while i haven't made bagels that many times, since i do feel i am just now getting the hang of it.
there's a few steps and it can look like a lot of instructions, but it's all very easy stuff. just takes a bit of time. but, like i tried to say at the beginning of this post. . . it's so so very worth it. homemade bagels are just a whole 'nother league from even your local bakery. i swear.
here's the recipe i use:
2 cups water, warm to the touch
1 tbs. active dry yeast
4 tbs. barley malt syrup
2 tsp. salt
5 cups bread flour
3 quarts water
Toppings - poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dehydrated or minced garlic or onion
1. In a large bowl, combine warm water and yeast and stir until dissolved. Add 2 tbs. of barley malt syrup, and salt. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.
2. Add bread flour. Mix until ingredients are blended.
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and begin to knead it. If the dough is sticky, add very small amounts of bread flour as necessary. It’s better to add less than more. To be sure you don’t add too much at a time, dip your hands in the flour, shake off the excess, and knead. Repeat as necessary. Knead the dough vigorously for 12 minutes.
4. When finished, use a sharp knife to cut the dough into twelve equal parts.
5. Take a section of dough and roll it in your palms to make a ball. Poke your thumbs thru the center and work them around to make a hole a bit larger than the size of a quarter. Repeat with remaining eleven sections. Place the formed bagels on a floured surface about 2 inches apart. Be sure there are no drafts directly on them.
6. Cover them with a clean dish towel and let them rise 25 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup to 3 quarts water in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 450. Prepare your cookie sheet or pan by lightly sprinkling it with corn meal.
8. At the end of 25 min., you’re ready to place your bagels in the boiling water, four bagels at a time. This stage is called kettling. The perfect bagel, when kettled, should quickly sink to the bottom of the pot of boiling water and rise immediateiy. Boil for about 4 minutes, turning the bagels over frequently with a slotted spoon. If your bagels don't sink to the bottom when you first put them in the pot, don't worry. However, if they sink to the bottom and lie there, wait till they rise to the top (and they will) before timing the 4 mins.
9. After kettling, remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon, allowing any excess water to drain off. Place them close together with edges touching on your cornmeal prepared cookie sheet or pan. Liberally sprinkle the bagels with your favorite toppings.
10. Place pan on rack in middle of oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check the bagels by looking at their color; if necessary, continue baking until golden. Watch the bagels carefully toward the end of the baking time because every oven is different; and yours may brown quickly. After taking them out of the oven, remove the bagels from the cookie sheet and let them cool on a wire rack for 10 mins.