Monday, March 9, 2009

Homemade bagels

Yes, Bagels. I woke up several hours after Kyle on Friday morning to find a batch of dough sitting on the radiator in the dining room, and a very anxious husband who wanted to go shopping for bagel toppings.

Once Kyle finally convinced me to leave the house a few hours later, we ventured into architectural antiques looking for a new door for our bathroom. Our old bathroom measures 39 3/4" x 79 7/8", and it fell off this weekend. We could just put it back up, but we (okay, I)have great ambitions to restore our house back to what it once was. I'm sure that in 1890 they didn't have shitty laminate hollow doors for sale at the local hardware store. The closest door we found was within about 1/2 inch of these measurements. We put it on hold (and of course, have not picked it up yet) and went in search of bagel toppings. I wanted an everything bagel, and Kyle was obsessed with poppy and fennel seeds, so in addition to those I made sure we got garlic and onion flakes.

Kyle has been on this crazy baking kick since about October. The only part of me that regrets this is my waist line, but I have trained him pretty well to use whole wheat flour for the most part so he happily made whole wheat dough instead of the starchy bread-flour alternative.


Bagels, if you didn't know, are boiled before baking in what is traditionally a malt syrup and water concoction, but can also be boiled in water with baking soda or honey. I'm pretty sure the reasoning behind this is to create a chewy interior and crisp exterior as the malt syrup would add a very light sugary crust to the dough. It would be interesting to try baking bagels unboiled and compare them to the boiled variety. Maybe next time.


It was nice to have a few bagels I could customize just for me. I only made one everything, but next time I think I would try a pecorino,black pepper, and olive oil bagel (because I'm snobby like that).

Sadly, this image is just a re-creation of the face Kyle made when we took the goods out of the oven. Fortunately, it looks just like the first face he made. He was pretty excited.

Once they were done, I was pretty excited too and didn't take many pictures of our little creations. I will drop many important things for a good warm bagel.

Being indecisive and having grown up appreciating butter, I couldn't decide what condiment to choose for my cherished everything bagel. Butter or cream cheese, butter or cream cheese; I ended up choosing both. Using Brugger's method of the "cut in half and then half again" I tried my everything with cream cheese on the left half and butter on the right.


I love butter and all, but with an everything bagel the cream cheese really makes cut.

I know you're all inspired now, so here's the very easy recipe. If you're having a lazy Sunday brunch I think making these is far more appealing than driving to the local bakery for sub-par bagels.

from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 2/3 cup warm water
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp malt syrup
1 lb 6 oz bread flour (about 4.5 cups) (replaced this with whole wheat flour and vital wheat gluten-1 tbsp per cup of flour used for better rising and texture)
1 1/2 tbsp salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the active dry yeast and warm water. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Then replace whisk with dough hook. With the mixer on low, add sugar, 1 tbsp malt syrup, bread flour and salt. Knead until the dough forms, which takes about one minute. The dough will be a little sticky. Continue to knead on medium for 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray to grease. With lightly oiled hands, roll each piece of dough to be about 8″ inch long and then shape into a circle to make the bagel.

Place bagels on prepared sheets at least 2″ inch apart. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let sit for another 20 minutes or until slightly puffy.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Fill your largest, widest stockpot with about 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining malt syrup.

Gently drop bagels into the water, putting in as many as possible without them touching. After 30 seconds, flip bagels over and simmer for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon remove the bagel and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Top with toppings of your choice.

Immediately place baking sheets in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then rotate sheet and lower oven temp to 350F. Continue to bake until the tops of the bagels begin to turn a golden brown - about 10 minutes. Flip bagels over and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy it while it's warm or keep the remaining in the freezer, for up to 2 weeks. Reheat the frozen bagels in a preheated 350F for 5 minutes, or until warm.

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