Bagels - a popular bread that has gone through many transcultural changes over the centuries. From a Polish invention to Jew-Polish invention to a Jew bread to a popular American bread. So many interesting angles and yet the bread with a hole has retained its special charm on dining tables, atleast for me!
For quite sometime I was pondering over the thought of making bagel at home. Although I can buy them across the counter easily, but since I am all for homemade, thought why not bagel? :)
I reached out to a baker friend and I got a no fail recipe that failed miserably. Not the fault of recipe but overconfidence! Happens right? I don’t like to fail, and if I do, I have to correct myself. So I was not going to give up on bagels. And the second attempt... NAILED!
If you are going to try out making bagels for the first time then you have to keep the hydration level around 50-55% max. Also note the hydration level depends on the flour quality. Your dough should be hydrated but firm. This firmness helps to handle the dough when you have to boil the dough. YES! Boil!!
The technique of kneading, proofing, shaping (no second proof), boiling and baking, gives a crust and shape to bagels. The outer skin is crispy while inside it is a bit chewy. I used a typical New York style seasoning for my bagels and you may even make it plain.
I am pretty excited to share my attempt making these bagels and I hope it helps you
280gm All Purpose Flour (11% protein) or strong white bread flour
5gm Active dry yeast (instant alternative)
15gm castor sugar
155ml lukewarm water (41C)
One beaten egg for egg wash
baking tray with oiled parchment paper
Seasoning: (mix all the below)
1TB dry garlic flakes
1TB dry onion flakes
1TB white sesame seeds
1TB black sesame seeds
Salt as per taste
1 - Add sugar and yeast to lukewarm water and let it froth or activate.
2 - Sift in flour, add salt and mix to form a rough dough. Make sure no dry bits are left. Let it sit for 5mins to adapt.
3 - Now start kneading to get a smooth (almost) but firm dough (10mins if by stand or electric mixer with breaks. 15mins if by hands)
4 - Dust bowl with some dry flour and place the kneaded dough for proofing. 50-60mins or until doubled in size.
You may dust the top and cover it to avoid sticking. You may even use some oil instead of flour.
5 - Once the dough is well proofed, lightly punch the dough and place it on floured surface.
6 - Divide the dough in 9 equal parts. Roll the dough by hands on a non floured surface to a get smooth even balls. Keep it covered for 10-15mins.
*place water in large container and bring it to a boil*
*Preheat oven at 220C gas*
7 - Take one dough ball with well floured hands. Using thumb and index finger pinch a hole in the center. Then on index finger rotate it until the hole starts to increase in diameter and you are able to accommodate your other index finger and rotate the dough ball and gently stretch to make the hole bigger. At least one inch bigger.
8 - Finish all dough balls, and keep it covered. Do not let it sit too long because we are looking at the rising of dough while placed in hot water.
9 - Gently pick each dough ring and place in hot boiling water. Do not over crowd as you need space for the dough to rise. Boil the dough exactly one minute per side (be very precise)
10 - Place each boiled ring on a baking tray lined with parchment paper that is oiled.
11 - Give egg wash and sprinkle generous amount of seasoning on top of the boiled bagels.
12 - Bake in the preheated oven for 25mins or until the top is well browned. If using electric oven consider reducing the temperature to 210c and lesser time.
13 - Once done, remove from the oven and place the bagels in a cooling rack for 30-40mins before serving.
Your bagels are ready to enjoy with choice of fillings!