Part of my inspiration to write about what we miss from NYC was that Matt has been requesting that I make bagels for weeks. Probably because we haven’t found a decent place to get one in Boston. It was his birthday this week and I had the morning off (#labordayweekend!), so I decided to dig out my tried and true bagel recipe and get boiling.
Bagels sound impressive when you tell people you made them yourself, and they take a good amount of time to prepare from start to finish, but it’s so worth it and actually pretty easy.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ¼ or so cups warm water
3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 egg white
A small amount of olive oil
Assorted toppings (poppy seeds, fleur de sel, sesame seeds, whatever you want!)
- First, add the sugar and yeast to 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then stir until the yeast and sugar are completely dissolved.
- Stir together the flour and salt. Create a well in the middle and pour in the yeast/water/sugar mixture with about half of the remaining water. Mix well, continuing to add more water until you create a firm, wet dough.
- Turn the dough out until a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, trying to incorporate as much flour as you can until you’re left with a smooth, firm, elastic ball of dough. Your arms may get tired. It’s fine. I thought about trying to dig out the food processor and using it to knead, but decided just to do it by hand.
- Place the dough in a large bowl lightly coated with oil and turn it to coat. Cover with a damp dishtowel and put it some place warm to rise for about an hour. I like to turn the oven on to a low heat setting and place the bowl on top of it. It gets warm but not too warm! After it doubles in size, punch it down and let it sit for another 10 minutes. See? It’s just a lot of waiting.
- After the dough has risen, separate it into eighths. Mine don’t always turn out equal, but I don’t mind. You can use a scale if you want a more uniform bagel. I like them a bit rustic. Once you have your dough separated, start shaping them into balls. Then, use your finger to create a hole in the middle of the ball create the classic bagel shape. This sounds a lot easier than it is. I can never really get the dough smooth or even, but like I said, it’s rustic. They don’t have to look great, just taste great!
- Once they’re shaped, let your bagels rest again for about 10 minutes, covered with a damp towel again. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Reshape and stretch your bagels as needed and boil them for 2 minutes on each side (less if you want a less chewy bagel). They should float on top of the water and you can boil as many as you feel comfortable with in the pot at once.
- Once boiled, you can top your bagels if you want! Plain ones are great. Mix the egg white with a bit of water and brush onto bagels before sprinkling with whatever you want/have. We used black sesame seeds and fleur de sel this time, leaving a few just plain.
- Transfer your topped bagels to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown!
Enjoy with cream cheese, scallions, smoked salmon, or plain! These bagels are seriously so good. Chewy on the outside, soft inside, crispy bottoms.
Have you made bagels? It’s a lot easier than it sounds!