So, I’ve made bagels once before, but it’s been awhile. For some reason, I just felt like making a batch. Who knew that today (February 9th) is National Bagel Day?! Was there something subliminal going on there? These won’t be baked until the following day, though…but I made the dough and shaped them on National Bagel Day. That still counts, right? Right.
To give credit, where credit is due, I am using a recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by way of a website: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/. The recipe makes 12 bagels. It begins with a “sponge”, which is similar to a sourdough starter, except all the ingredients are fresh. About half of the flour is used with all of the water and half of the yeast. After a couple of hours, the sponge is combined with the rest of the ingredients to make the dough. After the dough is made, kneaded, and portioned, it is allowed to rise. Once formed, the bagels relax briefly and then are refrigerated overnight. The process is finished in the morning.
1 t. Instant yeast
4 c. Bread flour
2-1/2 c. Water
1 t. Instant yeast (original recipe calls for 1/2 t., but mine has been in the fridge for awhile, so….)
3-3/4 c. Bread flour
2-3/4 t. salt (why not 3? I don’t know, but I followed directions here.)
2 t. malt powder (not malted milk powder) You could substitute a tablespoon of malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar, according to the recipe. (I used a tablespoon of molasses.)
1 T. baking soda (to add to boiling water for cooking)
Corn meal for dusting the baking sheet
Toppings, if desired. Poppy seeds, dehydrated chopped onion or garlic, salt, sesame seeds, etc. (I don’t do sesame, due to an allergy in the family.) I made my own mixture for Everything Bagels.*
Day or Evening Before
Make the sponge. Combine the ingredients and mix to combine. It will be wet and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 2 hours.
Make the dough. After rising, add 3 cups flour, yeast, salt, and malt powder (or substitute) to the dough and mix as well as you can.
Turn out on a clean, floured surface and begin kneading, using the last 3/4 c. flour to keep from sticking, incorporating it as you go. Knead for 10 minutes.
Immediately after kneading, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4-1/2 oz). My scale is broken, so I had to eyeball it. Line a sheet pan with parchment and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Shape the portions into balls and put them on the cooking sheet. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel or damp paper towels and let rest for twenty minutes.
After resting, use your thumb to punch a hole in the center of each dough ball, and rotate the dough around to widen the hole. Try to maintain even thickness all the way around the bagel.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You are done until tomorrow morning!
The Next Morning
Preheat the oven to 500F. Prepare a baking sheet with a sprinkle of corn meal. Bring a large, preferably wide, pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. This helps the dough brown properly, when baked. The original recipes from many, many years ago, called for lye. For some reason, that is frowned upon these days. (Seriously, don’t do it.) While the water is boiling, drop bagels in, one at a time, until the surface is covered. Boil for one minute, flip over carefully, boil for another minute.
Place the boiled bagels on the baking sheet and, if using toppings, apply them at this point, while bagels are still moist. Continue until all bagels have been boiled and topped.
Place the bagels in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 450F, rotate the pan, and cook for another 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool…until you can’t stand it any more! Note: my bagels took about 18 minutes, actually.
* My “Everything Bagel Topping” without sesame seeds: I used about two tablespoons each of Roasted, salted sunflower seeds, minced dehydrated garlic, chopped dehydrated onions, and then about a tablespoon of poppy seeds. I used a mortar and pestle to break up the big stuff a little before adding the poppy seeds.