Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to make Bagels

the finished product!

Bagels are fun to make. My kids really love them for breakfast and they are a break from the normal slice of toast. They are a little more labor intensive, so I usually double my recipe and then freeze them in gallon bags. That way we can use them when we feel like it and I don't have to worry about any going to waste. Bagels are ridiculously expensive in the store, especially the ones that are good for you, so this is another way to stretch your grocery dollar.

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup molassas
1 T yeast
2  tsp sea salt
6 cups hard white wheat, freshly ground

corn meal in a shallow dish(optional)

Combine water, honey. molassas, oil, salt, yeast and a cup of the flour. Mix will and allow to sit till mixture starts to bubble. Add half the remaining flour and mix well. Add the remaining flour a little at a time, mixing until you have a smooth, relatively dry, non-sticky doughball. Knead for 6-10 more minutes to develop the gluten completely. This is key to your perfect chewy on the outside, tender on the inside bagels. Cover and allow the dough to rise until double.

Set up for boiling before you begin. The bowl I mixed my
dough in is on the left with a cookie rack on top for draining
the wet bagels. On the right is my kettle for boiling
the bagels and a slotted spoon for removing them.

dough is shaped and ready to boil

Grease 2 large cookie sheets and set aside.
In a large pot combine one gallon of water a 1/3 cup honey and one tablespoon of baking soda and bring to a boil if you are making your bagels now.(see photos)

each little dough ball makes a 3-4" bagel
make the hole nice and big. It will
close up during the boiling process.
push your thumbs right through
the center of the dough ball.

Divide the risen dough into 8 equal portions. Form each dough portion into a ball and the turn the edges of the ball inward while punching a hole through the center with your thumb. Continue to roll this dough through and gradually stretch it out to a 2-3" hole. Each portion should look like a large doughnut. The holes will close during the boiling/baking process. Place these circles on a greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, allowing to rest about 10 minutes to “proof” the dough. At this point you can cover them all well with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for a day. This will allow the yeast to do its magical work on the dough and will give you a much better flavor. However, its not necessary if you want your bagel now. Since your water bath should be starting to boil at this point you can preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Don't put too many bagels in at once or you will
lose your rolling boil. This is important so the
bagel doesn't get soggy. 

Place one or two bagels in the boiling honey water and cover the pot. Boil for about 30 seconds, uncover, flip the bagel over with a slotted spoon and cover again. The bagels usually sink, then rise in a few seconds. If they don’t, they rested too long, but are still fine. Just turn them over so that both sides get wet. After 1 minutes in the water, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a rack to drain. As you prepare to pull more out of the water, move each of the drained bagels to a small shallow dish of cornmeal, dusting the bottoms to give them a nice crunch, and help prevent sticking then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. 
the dough is now boiled, drained
and ready to bake

Once they have all taken a dunk in the water and have drained, bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes(depending on the size you chose). You can turn the over halfway through cooking if they are not browning on both sides.
Optional: You can brush them with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 2 T water then sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.  after they have their water bath and are dried off. The egg wash makes an ungarnished bagel look shiny as well, but is not necessary.

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