I love bagels. I can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We usually get them by the dozens and finish them between the two of us in the span of a few days. When I visited NYC a few months ago, ST and I checked out Absolute Bagels and Murray's for their bagels. I was hoping to experience the bagel epiphany,in the city that claims to have the best bagels in the US. But guess what? I realized that they don't taste much different from my neighborhood Einstein Bro's. Perhaps I don't have discerning taste bud?
I have always wanted to make bagels, but the lengthy process of mixing, proofing, shaping, boiling and baking deterred me for a long time from sinking my fingers into the dough . It wasn't until a few weeks before our trip to Asia that I got down to making my first batch of bagels.
The bagel recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook , which I find the instructions to be clear and straightforward. Although the instructions seemed lengthy, it wasn't as hard as I imagined.
To my relief, the shaping was a breeze because the dough was not sticky at all. Even the most nerve racking part- boiling the dough was quite manageable. I was mesmerized by the movement of the dough which first sank to the bottom in the boiling water, and then floated onto the top when it's ready to be baked.
For toppings, I was thinking of my favorite "everything" topping, but have to settle with things I have in the pantry. I experimented a few bagels with Furikake, which is a kind of Japanese seasoning. It gave the bagels a japanese twist but I still prefer the "everything" topping. Having said that, I like the texture of the bagels, especially when they were fresh from the oven. It is great to cross out another item on my to-bake-list before the year ends!
adapted 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)
1 1/2 tbsp salt
toppings: sesame seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seed , Furikake seasoning
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.